FIRST COUPLE OF PHYSICS: Hamms Establish Two Physics Scholarships
COLLEGE STATION —
Robert W. and Marianne E. Hamm, the first married couple to earn doctorates in physics at Texas A&M University, have given the university $50,000 to endow two physics scholarships.
The Marianne ’76 & Robert ’77 Hamm Scholarships in Physics will assist undergraduates who finished in the top 25 percent of their high school class and have at least a 3.2 grade-point average.
Edward Fry, head of the Department of Physics, recalled the Hamms as colorful students who were always working to improve the situation of the other students on campus. “It is especially gratifying to see them continuing to carry that torch,” Fry said.
After earning doctoral degrees at Texas A&M, the Hamms took jobs at Los Alamos National Laboratory, where they worked on particle accelerators — devices that accelerate sub-atomic particles to near the speed of light. After leaving for California, the Hamms co-founded a company to develop commercial accelerators based on technology from Los Alamos.
AccSys Technology Inc., based in Pleasanton, Calif., has built and sold compact accelerators since 1985 for a variety of uses, from locating diamonds in mined rocks to searching for and treating cancer in medical patients. The company’s primary market is the medical field. In May, Hitachi Ltd acquired a majority of the shares, but Robert Hamm continues as the president and chief executive of AccSys, and Marianne continues as the chief operating officer and executive vice president.
The Hamms endowed the new physics scholarships “because Texas A&M gave a lot to my wife and me,” Robert Hamm said. “They allowed us to pursue our degrees as a couple and treated us very well.”
The Hamms were honored with a luncheon Monday on campus. They were to present a lecture in the Department of Physics afterward.
Their gift will be counted in Texas A&M’s “One Spirit One Vision” fund-raising campaign to attain top 10 status among public universities.
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Contact: Mark Minton, Communications Specialist, Texas A&M University College of Science (979) 862-1237; Robert and Marianne Hamm (925) 462-6949.
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