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Schneider Receives C.I. Noll Award in Excellence in Teaching

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Donald Schneider, professor of astronomy and astrophysics, recently received a C.I. Noll Award for Excellence in Teaching. Sponsored by the Eberly College of Science Student Council and Alumni Society, the C.I. Noll Award is presented annually to faculty members and instructors in the Eberly College of Science who demonstrate a record of excellence both in teaching and in their interactions with students. Instituted in 1972 and named in honor of Clarence I. Noll, dean of the college from 1965 to 1971, the award is the college’s highest recognition for teaching.

For the past several years Schneider has taught the year-long introductory course for astronomy majors, and has been active in placing students in research programs throughout the department. Schneider's primary area of interest is observational cosmology. He is best known for the development of a new technique to measure distances to galaxies, the recovery of Comet Halley in 1982, and breaking his own and others’ records numerous times in the discovery of the most-distant known object in the universe. Schneider is the chairman of the Sloan Digital Sky Survey (SDSS) Quasar Science Group and is the SDSS Scientific Publications Coordinator. SDSS is the most ambitious survey of the sky ever undertaken. The project involves mapping one quarter of the entire sky and determining the position and brightness of hundreds of millions of celestial objects using a telescope located at the Apache Point Observatory in New Mexico.

Schneider received a bachelor’s degree in physics and mathematics, with highest distinction, from the University of Nebraska in 1976. He received a doctoral degree in astronomy from the California Institute of Technology in 1982 and was a research fellow there from 1982 to 1985. He was a member of the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, New Jersey, from 1985 to 1994. He joined the faculty at Penn State in 1994 as associate professor of astronomy and astrophysics, and was promoted to professor in 1999.

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