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Gary Varner
Gary Varner

Gary Varner, professor of physics and astronomy at the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa, died on July 14.

“His expertise in physics, instrumentation and electronics was widely recognized, and his unwavering dedication to his work and his students was truly admirable,” said Veronica Bindi, chair and professor of the Department of Physics and Astronomy.

Varner joined the UH Mānoa faculty in 2005, however, his work with UH and the physics and astronomy department dates back to the early 1980s. Throughout his career, he made significant and critical contributions to numerous physics experiments worldwide. These include projects such as the DUMAND Neutrino Studies from the 1980’s where he worked with UH faculty as an undergraduate student at Boston University, and more recently, Belle and Belle II at the High Energy Accelerator Research Organization or KEK in Tsukuba, Japan, and the Antarctic Impulsive Transient Antenna known as ANITA at the South Pole.

In addition to his scientific accomplishments, Varner mentored and trained many undergraduate and graduate students, postdocs and engineers from Hawaiʻi and around the world. His innovative ideas for readout and data acquisition in high energy physics live on in a generation of scientists that he trained, inspired and mentored.

He received the Department of Energy Advanced Detector Research award three times and was awarded the 2016 Instrumentation Award for Experimental Particle Physics from the Division of Particle and Fields of the American Physical Society.

Varner earned his BS in electrical engineering and his MS in experimental physics from Boston University. In 1999, he earned his PhD in experimental particle physics from UH Mānoa.

Colleagues note that the success of the department and the UH High Energy Physics group owes a great deal to Varner’s invaluable contributions, which have left an indelible mark on the field.

“Gary was not only a brilliant scientist but also a caring individual, always extending support and kindness,” said friends and colleagues from the Physics and Astronomy Department. “We will forever cherish his important role in our endeavors.”

Gary Varner and lab team
Gary Varner (center) with the Instrument Development Lab team.
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