Dr. Barbara Hale, professor emerita of physics, died Jan. 17, 2024, after a long illness. A memorial service will be held at noon Monday, Jan. 29, at the Hasselmann Alumni House, located at 1100 N. Pine St. in Rolla.
“Dr. Hale was and continues to be a role model for students and faculty,” says Dr. Thomas Vojta, chair and Curators’ Distinguished Professor of physics. “She left her mark not only on the physics department but on the entire university.”
Hale earned a Ph.D. in physics from Purdue University and a bachelor’s degree in physics from Syracuse University.
In 1969, she joined Missouri S&T as a visiting assistant professor of mathematics. She joined the university with her husband, Dr. Edward B. Hale, professor emeritus and former chair of physics.
In 1973, she became an 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 ultimately promoted to senior investigator. Hale became an expert in nucleation theory with an emphasis on theories of water and ice cluster formation. Her work led to over 40 publications and her research generated nearly $1 million in external support.
Hale was one of the first women faculty at Missouri S&T, formerly known as the University of Missouri-Rolla. She was named associate professor of physics in 1977 and professor of physics in 1982.
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. In addition to the Faculty Excellence and Outstanding Teaching awards, Hale received the Chi Omega National Advisor Award in 2000 and the Miner Alumni Association Faculty Advisor Award in 2002. She received the National Chi Omega’s Lifetime Service Award in 2014. Hale served as secretary of S&T’s Faculty Senate and chair of the Faculty Budgetary Affairs Committee.
The physics department honored Hale with a retirement celebration in March 2018.
Hale was a member of the American Physical Society, the American Association of Physics Teachers, the American Meteorological Society, Phi Beta Kappa, Sigma Xi, Sigma Pi Sigma and Phi Kappa Phi.