Thursday, November 15 , 2018, 9:53 am | Fair 66º

 
 
 
 

Longtime UCSB Benefactors Endow $1 Million Chair in Experimental Science

With a passion for science and faith in its potential for life-changing advancements, longtime UC Santa Barbara benefactors Pat and Joe Yzurdiaga have gifted the campus with a $1 million endowed chair in the field.

Joseph Incandela
Joseph Incandela

The recently appointed first incumbent to the Pat and Joe Yzurdiaga Chair in Experimental Science is already a star in science circles, and is becoming increasingly familiar to a broader audience: Joseph Incandela.

A professor of physics at UCSB and spokesman for the Compact Muon Solenoid experiment at the European Organization for Nuclear Research's Large Hadron Collider, Incandela is a key player on the international team of scientists credited in 2012 with observing the long-sought Higgs boson particle. With six fellow LHC project members, he was awarded a 2012 Special Fundamental Physics Prize by the Milner Foundation.

Incandela will give his inaugural lecture as holder of the Yzurdiaga Chair, "What Next? The Aftermath of the Higgs Boson Discovery," in a public event on Friday, Aug. 23. His talk will begin at 4 p.m. in Kohn Hall, located on campus inside the Kavli Institute of Theoretical Physics.

"We are most grateful for the philanthropic leadership of Pat and Joe Yzurdiaga and their longtime and generous contributions to our campus," Chancellor Henry Yang said. "The Pat and Joe Yzurdiaga Chair in Experimental Science will provide permanent funding to further strengthen the exciting research being conducted in our highly ranked Department of Physics. We are delighted and proud that the inaugural chair holder is our UCSB Professor Joe Incandela, who is renowned for his key role as CMS spokesperson in the groundbreaking discovery of the Higgs boson particle at CERN, and is a recipient of the prestigious Milner Prize."

Such accolades are part and parcel of what make Incandela a great fit as the first-ever Yzurdiaga Chair, said the donors themselves, who believe in meritocracy almost as much as they do in the possibilities that science holds for humanity. Giving to UCSB since 2002, the couple previously established the Pat and Joe Yzurdiaga Graduate Student Fellowship Fund to support exceptional students in physics, biochemistry, chemistry, and molecular and cellular biology.

"We have great productivity in this country based on what we have found scientifically," said Joe Yzurdiaga, a financial advisor with Crowell, Weedon & Co. "When you want to leave a legacy, you want to leave it as productive and as close to what you believe in as possible. We decided to go for something that's very narrow — the physical sciences — to do it at UCSB, and to not distribute all the investment income. You always keep some so the corpus grows, which means, in essence, that you serve humanity forever.

"I'm a big-picture guy. Where can I do the most good?"

Incandela has a similar sensibility. He characterized endowed chairs such as the Yzurdiagas' as an invaluable resource for scientists hoping "to step back and consider new challenges, and develop new ideas to confront those challenges."

"Science empowers humanity at the same time as it enlightens," Incandela said. "It provides the basis for new technologies that have enabled mankind to confront and solve problems that could not have been imagined to be solvable in earlier times. Of course there are also negative effects of some technologies, but this is the general nature of power. It depends how it is used. I believe that expanding science is inevitable and will always be a net benefit.

"To put it succinctly," he added, "the Pat and Joe Yzurdiaga Chair in Experimental Science gives me a license to be creative, to think more broadly, and potentially go after bigger questions in science. I would go so far as to say that it even inspires me to do this."

Incandela has been involved in the CMS experiment for more than 16 years. He was named deputy physics coordinator to the project in 2007, was appointed deputy spokesperson in 2009, and in 2011 became the first U.S. scientist be elected head spokesperson. He was the only physicist from outside Europe in the group honored for discovering the Higgs boson in 2012.

"Joseph Incandela has demonstrated outstanding leadership in being the spokesman for one of the two international teams that conducted the Higgs boson search at the LHC facility in Geneva, and it's a distinct honor for the physics department of UCSB to have Professor Incandela named as the first occupant of the Pat & Joe Yzurdiaga Chair in Experimental Science," said Philip Pincus, chair of physics at UCSB. "Prestigious named chairs such as this provide flexible resources for research support and demonstrate institutional recognition of exceptional contributions. We are forever grateful to our friends and benefactors such as the Yzurdiagas. Such endowments provide perpetual benefits."

That's what it's all about for the Yzurdiagas. The couple has previously supported Caltech and the Jules Stein Eye Institute at UCLA, where Joe Yzurdiaga earned a bachelor's degree in business administration. Pat Yzurdiaga has long been an active community member and volunteer, and is currently a member of the Music Academy of the West Women's Auxiliary and the Philanthropic Educational Organization. She is a sustaining member of the Community Arts Music Association Women's Board and the Santa Barbara Museum of Art Women's Board. Together they enjoy spending time with the summer fellows at the Music Academy of the West as part of the Compeer Program.

Their generosity of money and time is inspired by a single wish, said Pat Yzurdiaga: "To make the human condition better."

Support Noozhawk Today

You are an important ally in our mission to deliver clear, objective, high-quality professional news reporting for Santa Barbara, Goleta and the rest of Santa Barbara County. Join the Hawks Club today to help keep Noozhawk soaring.

We offer four membership levels: $5 a month, $10 a month, $25 a month or $1 a week. Payments can be made using a credit card, Apple Pay or Google Pay, or click here for information on recurring credit-card payments and a mailing address for checks.

Thank you for your vital support.

Become a Noozhawk Supporter

First name
Last name
Email
Select your monthly membership
Or choose an annual membership
×

Payment Information

Membership Subscription

You are enrolling in . Thank you for joining the Hawks Club.

Payment Method

Pay by Credit Card:

Mastercard, Visa, American Express, Discover
One click only, please!

Pay with Apple Pay or Google Pay:

Noozhawk partners with Stripe to provide secure invoicing and payments processing.
You may cancel your membership at any time by sending an email to .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

  • Ask
  • Vote
  • Investigate
  • Answer

Noozhawk Asks: What’s Your Question?

Welcome to Noozhawk Asks, a new feature in which you ask the questions, you help decide what Noozhawk investigates, and you work with us to find the answers.

Here’s how it works: You share your questions with us in the nearby box. In some cases, we may work with you to find the answers. In others, we may ask you to vote on your top choices to help us narrow the scope. And we’ll be regularly asking you for your feedback on a specific issue or topic.

We also expect to work together with the reader who asked the winning questions to find the answer together. Noozhawk’s objective is to come at questions from a place of curiosity and openness, and we believe a transparent collaboration is the key to achieve it.

The results of our investigation will be published here in this Noozhawk Asks section. Once or twice a month, we plan to do a review of what was asked and answered.

Thanks for asking!

Click Here to Get Started >

Reader Comments

Noozhawk is no longer accepting reader comments on our articles. Click here for the announcement. Readers are instead invited to submit letters to the editor by emailing them to [email protected]. Please provide your full name and community, as well as contact information for verification purposes only.