Orange Alert

Advancing a New Era of Undergraduate Physics Research

Jay Zemel portrait.

Posted on: March 11, 2024

The late Jay N. Zemel ’49, G’53, G’56 was a renowned researcher and educator. He took what he learned at Syracuse University and launched a career that produced numerous patents, journal articles and book chapters, along with the endless praise of his student and research mentees who remember his encouragement, empathy and warmth.

Now, with a $1.5 million estate gift as part of the Forever Orange campaign, the new Zemel Undergraduate Research Experience Endowed Fund will support undergraduate physics students who are interested in pursuing research as a career, especially multidisciplinary research, through experiential learning and hands-on research opportunities. Recalling that Syracuse physics opened the doors of discovery for him, Zemel—who earned his bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees in physics—wrote in a letter to the physics department: “You and your colleagues are part of a great tradition that I sincerely hope continues now and into the future.” His estate gift ensures that the tradition continues.

“As a distinguished researcher and committed educator, Dr. Zemel saw the immense value of undergraduate participation in faculty-guided scholarly research,” says Behzad Mortazavi, dean of the College of Arts and Sciences. “The benefits of undergraduate research are numerous, including helping students to apply their classroom knowledge and giving them valuable experience in working as part of a team.”

Learn more about the gift in an article published by SU News.