Richard Pogge, Chrispher Fryer BHS grads to PhDs

Richard Pogge, Chrispher Fryer BHS grads to PhDsBruce Auld, a former Sierra Sands Unified School District Superintendent, is writing the history of Burroughs High School. The articles that are being published are excerpts from his upcoming book, exclusive to The News Review.

Professor Dr. Carl Brune responded to my request for more profiles on Burroughs alums that pursued scientific or mathematics careers with four additional subjects. While putting the following two profiles together, I did a quick survey of previous profiles. Sixteen Burroughs graduates, all having earned PhDs mostly in science and math, have gone on to be university professors. Surely, there are more. However, likely the first Burroughs graduate to earn a PhD and become a professor was Dr. Jerry Hough.

Jerry left Burroughs in 1951 at the age of 16 with a scholarship to Harvard University where he earned three degrees, including his PhD in political science. Jerry taught at Duke University from 1973 until 2016 and at the time of his passing was “professor emeritus.” For decades, Jerry was considered “the” expert on US and Soviet Union relations.

Dr. Richard Pogge, Distinguished Professor of Astronomy: “Professor Pogge came to Ohio State University (OSU) as a postdoc in 1989 and joined the faculty in 1992. His research combines an interest in the astrophysics of gaseous nebulae (AGN) from interstellar gas to active galactic nuclei with the development of advanced astronomical instrumentation for ground-based optical/infrared observatories. He is a co-discoverer of the Narrow Line Seyfert 1 subclass of AGN and did early work on the ionization morphology of active galactic nuclei. At OSU he has worked on the design and construction of advanced instrumentation for ground-based optical/infrared telescopes with the Astronomy department’s Imaging Sciences Laboratory, which he has led since 2007. Recent instrumentation projects include the twin Multi-Object Double Spectrographs (MODS) for the Large Binocular Telescope and robotic fiber positioner systems for SDSS-V (an all-sky, multi-epoch spectroscopic survey). His current research interests are focused on understanding and revising the absolute metallicity calibration of HII (ionized hydrogen) regions in nearby and distant galaxies, a topic of crucial importance for understanding the chemical evolution and growth of galaxies over cosmic time, and he continues work on active galactic nuclei and exoplanets (a planet outside the solar system). From 2019-2021 he served on the National Academy of Sciences Astro2020 Decadal Survey panel on Optical and Infrared Observations from the Ground. In 2021 he was named a College of Arts and Sciences Distinguished Professor of Astronomy.” (Dr. Richard Pogge)

Richard graduated from Burroughs in 1979. While at Burroughs, “Richard’s Eagle Scout project was a study of the impact of burros and wild horses on plant cover on the China Lake ranges. Richard surveyed plant density and species in an open area compared to a half-acre fenced-in control area that animals did not browse for two years prior to his study. Richard also participated in the China Lake work experience program. He worked on applied physics projects in several different labs on projects that ranged from measuring material properties at microwaves, like dielectric constants, and novel ways of making optical waveguides One of his sponsors was James Battles, father of best-selling author Brett Battles (BHS 1980).” (Dr. Richard Pogge)

Richard earned his bachelor’s degree in Physics from CalTech in 1983 and his PhD in Astronomy and Astrophysics from the University of California, Santa Cruz in 1988. Richard’s most recent textbook, co-authored by Barbara Ryden, Interstellar and Intergalactic Medium is available on Amazon. (Dr. Richard Pogge)

Dr. Christopher Fryer- A Los Alamos National Laboratory Fellow

“Chris Fryer got his B.A. in Mathematics and Astrophysics with a minor in Russian at UC Berkeley in 1992 and PhD in Astronomy at the University of Arizona in 1996. After a post-doctoral fellowship at UC Santa Cruz, he joined Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL) in 2000, first as a Feynman Fellow and then as a staff scientist. His work encompasses a broad range of LANL programs and academic studies, but he has primarily focused on modeling laboratory radiation-flow experiments and astrophysical transients. For his work in astrophysics including the first 3-dimensional models of core-collapse supernovae, he was named an American Physical Society (APS) and American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) fellow. His combined work led him to being named as a LANL fellow and receiving the E.O. Lawrence Award. He is currently the chair of the APS Division of Astrophysics unit” (LANL Website)

Chris graduated from Burroughs in 1987. Charles Humphries taught Russian at Burroughs when he was there.  He also took Latin from Mr. Humphries and competed at the state Latin competition. He received an award for the ‘general’ competition that required knowledge of Roman history as well as Latin.  He also received a mathlete award.

Chris was quick to acknowledge that the drama department played a big role in his success as a scientist.  “A lot of science is giving talks and drama taught me to project my voice and be able to construct stories of my science.”  Everything I learned at Burroughs, helped me in my career, from the languages from Mr. Humphries to English classes with Bob Shaen.  I had many good teachers at Burroughs across a range of subjects; Bob Roseth (BHS 1959) for AP History and Gene Vejtasa for Zoology.  They taught me not only the material, but to love learning. It was probably middle school where I got interested in math and science.  Gary Maxwell helped me think more creatively about math and science and that is when I really began to love it.” Chris coached age-group hockey for ten years and is in his tenth year of coaching (head) age-group gymnastics. (Dr. Chris Fryer)

Dr. Carl Brune (BHS 1984) suggested these profiles. Carl teaches at the University of Ohio, Athens and serves as the Graduate Chair for the Department of Physics and Astronomy.

Courtesy Photo: Originally from the Indian Wells Valley in California’s Northern Mojave Desert, Dr Pogge stands next to The Sloan Telescope robotic Focal Plane System with 500 fiber robots at the instrument assembly lab at Ohio State University.

Story First Published: 2022-04-29