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SCSE Academy of Science and Engineering: 2004 Inductees
2004 Academy of Science & Engineering

Left to Right: Paul Helquist, Rolf Peterson,
Odin Christensen, Chancellor Kathryn
Martin, Sylvan Bergstahler, Eric Swildens,
Dean James Riehl

Dr. Rolf Peterson: Bachelor of Arts – Biology 1970
Dr. Rolf Peterson, a native of Minneapolis, came to UMD in 1966 and graduated with an undergraduate degree in Zoology in 1970. After a Ph.D. at Purdue University in 1974, he joined the faculty at Michigan Technological University, where he is now a professor of wildlife ecology in the School of Forest Resources and Environmental Sciences. Throughout his career a major research focus has been on the gray wolf, a species that never fails to ignite public interest. He has continued a long-term study of wolf and moose populations in Isle Royale National Park, a project begun by his major professor at Purdue, Dr. Durward Allen. He has also studied wolf populations in Alaska, Minnesota, and mainland Michigan, and has advised research programs involving recovering wolf populations in Yellowstone National Park and in Norway.

Dr. Peterson is the author of two books, Wolf ecology and prey relationships on Isle Royale, U.S. National Park Service Scientific Monograph Series No. 11, 1977 and The Wolves of Isle Royale – A Broken Balance, Willow Creek Press, 1995; as well as the author of 94 technical articles published in Science (2), Nature (1), and 19 other scientific journals, plus chapters in 11 books and conference proceedings. During the past decade he has been awarded the Distinguished Moose Biologist Award, from the 26th North American Moose Conference for major contribution toward management of moose in North America; Annual Research Award, Michigan Technological University; and Best Reporting Award from Minnesota Magazine and publications Association for article published in Lake Superior magazine entitled “Of Moose and Wolves”.

Dr. Paul Helquist: Bachelor of Arts – Chemistry 1969
Dr. Paul Helquist received his B.A. in chemistry in 1969 from the University of Minnesota Duluth. He completed his Ph.D. in organic chemistry in 1972 at Cornell University. Following a postdoctoral fellow at Harvard University, he joined the faculty at the State University of New York at Stony Brook rising to the rank of professor of chemistry. In 1984, he moved to Notre Dame as professor and department chair.

Professor Helquist’s research is concerned with the development of new methods in synthetic organic chemistry, including the preparation, structural study, and applications of new transition metal organometallic complexes as catalysts and reagents for asymmetric synthesis, and the structure, synthesis, mechanism of action, and pharmaceutical development of biologically active compounds including antibiotics and antitumor agents, many of which have their origins as natural products.

In addition to his regular faculty and research responsibilities, he consults for the pharmaceutical industry, and frequently offers courses and special lectures elsewhere in the United States and abroad through the American Chemical Society (ACS) Short Courses and the ACS Speakers Service Programs. He maintains close collaborative research ties with laboratories in Sweden, Belgium, Denmark and Japan.

Mr. Eric Swildens: Bachelor of Science – Computer Science 1990
Eric Swildens has been a computer science innovator since his high school days when he wrote software for the Minnesota Educational Computing Corporation. He graduated from the University of Minnesota Duluth with a B.S. in Computer Science in 1990. Mr. Swildens then held a succession of increasingly challenging positions in software development. In 1996 he founded Microline Software in Sunnyvale, California, which developed user interface software. One year later he oversaw the purchase of Microline Software by Blaze Software and continued to design software for them until 1998 when he joined Resonate, where he oversaw the development of Linux software. In 1999 Mr. Swildens, with two co-founders, created Speedera Networks, a web-based content delivery company, where he continues to serve as Chief Technical Officer. While at Speedera he has been granted five patents for his software. Mr. Swildens is well known in Silicon Valley as a high-tech entrepreneur and software developer.

Dr. Odin Christensen: Bachelor of Science – Geology 1970
Dr. Odin Christensen received a B.A. in geology from UMD in 1970 and then went on to obtain his Ph.D. from Stanford. He spent three years in academia as an Assistant Professor of Geology at the University of North Dakota where he taught mineralogy, petrology, geochemistry, and economic geology. He moved on to a position as Research Geochemist with the Earth Science Laboratory/University of Utah Research Institute as a member of a team developing geothermal exploration technology.

In 1981 he joined Newmont and has had a variety of positions, both in minerals exploration and at company mines. He rose through the ranks to become Chief Geologist for Newmont Mining Corporation. He left that position in 2001, to become the Exploration Manager for Empress Minera Inti Raymi for a year, a mine operated by Newmont. He retired in 2002 to become an independent consultant. In the past year, he has been working in Mongolia and Brazil.

He is an avid long-distance mountain runner, having completed the Hardrock Hundred six times. He and his wife ran the Superior Trail 100 in 2000.

Dr. Sylvan Burgstahler: Mathematics and Statistics Faculty 1961-1997; Department Head 1964-1972
Dr. Sylvan Burgstahler received his undergraduate degrees in Engineering Mathematics (B.S. ’51), Master of Science (’53) and Ph.D. (’63) in Mathematics from the University of Minnesota Twin Cities. He was a Fulbright Fellow in 1953-54. He joined the faculty of the UMD Department of Mathematics in 1961, and he was appointed department head the following year. During his nine years as head and until his retirement in 1997 Professor Burgstahler played a crucial leadership role in the growth of the department to its current size. He was instrumental in establishing the department’s balanced mission emphasizing both excellence in teaching and scholarly activity. His numerous campus and university service contributions have had a profound and lasting influence in the development of our campus to what it is today.

Throughout his career, Dr. Burgstahler has devoted extraordinary time and energy to the service of the national mathematical community, including terms as President and Governor of the North Central Section of the Mathematical Association of America, numerous leadership posts, as well as charter member and President of the Head-of-the-Lakes Council of Teachers of Mathematics. His achievements have long been acknowledged by the mathematics community, and in 1996 Sylvan Burgstahler received the Meritorious Service Award from the Mathematical Association of America.

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