Dr. Barbara Hale, Missouri S&T physics professor, retires after 46 years of service

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On March 15, 2018

After 46 years of teaching and research in the physics department at Missouri S&T, Dr. Barbara N. Hale has retired.

“Dr. Hale inspired generations of students,” says Dr. Thomas Vojta, chair and Curators’ Distinguished Professor of physics. “She still is a vital part of our physics family, and we hope to see her often in the department.”

Dr. Barbara Hale receiving Missouri S&T’s Woman of the Year Award in 2013

In 1973, Hale was one of the first two women to join the Missouri S&T physics faculty. She began as assistant professor, making a major change in her field of study, which had been high-energy particle physics, to join the Graduate Center for Cloud Physics. That center eventually became the Cloud and Aerosol Science Laboratory where she was promoted from associate professor and senior research investigator to professor and senior investigator. She became an expert in nucleation theory with an emphasis on theories of water and ice cluster formation.

“Dr. Hale’s work has led to over 40 publications, and her articles made truly important contributions to the field,” says Dr. Dan Waddill, physics professor and former chair. “For example, the success of her scaled model of nucleation is one of the most significant contributions to the understanding of this phenomenon in the last 30 years. At S&T, her research generated almost $1 million in external support.”

Hale excelled as an educator, teaching a full range of physics courses, from introductory undergraduate classes to supervising doctoral students. She received numerous faculty excellence awards. In 2013, Hale was named Missouri S&T Woman of the Year in recognition of her efforts to improve the campus environment for women and minorities. “Dr. Hale is an outstanding educator,” wrote one of her nominators for the award. “She has been an outspoken advocate for the faculty and for her students.”

Hale currently serves as faculty advisor for the Eta Kappa chapter of Chi Omega, a service she has performed since 1979. In 2014, she received the fraternity’s lifetime service award.

Hale holds a Ph.D. in physics from Purdue University and a bachelor’s degree in physics from Syracuse University.

The physics department honored Hale with a retirement celebration in early March.

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2 thoughts on “Dr. Barbara Hale, Missouri S&T physics professor, retires after 46 years of service”

  • Joel Brand says:

    Congratulations to Dr. Hale for a long and distinguished career. She was an excellent educator and conveyed a love of learning and knowledge. Perhaps most impressive was the way she balanced her encouragement for academic rigor with an always kind and tactful demeanor; when I think of academic integrity I think of Dr. Hale. May you enjoy your retirement!

  • Emmett Redd says:

    Congratulations Dr. Mrs. Hale. (That is what we students called her since there was also a Dr. Mr. Hale in the department and we had to differentiate somehow.)

    I did not realize we both came to UMR at the same time (me as a freshman). I remember your Mathematical Physics classes and your offer to order pizza when you gave us extended time to finish an exam. I did not take you up on it; I had already emptied my head of everything I had pertaining to the exam.

    I hope you enjoy your retirement; you deserve it.

    Emmett Redd BS Phys 1977, MS Phys 1979, PhD Phys 1986