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Two Researchers Receive Utah Governor's Medals for Science and Technology

Tuesday, Jan. 10, 2012


Bruce Bugbee

Plants, Soils and Climate

Utah State University

Phone: 435-797-2765


Byard Wood

Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering

Utah State University

Phone: 435-797-2868



LOGAN, UT – Utah State University researchers Bruce Bugbee and Byard Wood were presented the Governor’s Medal for Science and Technology Jan. 10 by Utah Gov. Gary Herbert. Bugbee is internationally known for his work with NASA on food production in space. Wood is an expert on developing sustainable, renewable energies, including solar and biofuels.

“Bruce Bugbee and Byard Wood exemplify Utah State University’s spirit of innovation, which is ingrained into all our colleges and disciplines,” said Mark McLellan, vice president for research and dean of the School of Graduate Studies at USU. “Our scientists and scholars are at the forefront of academic research and discovery, but they set themselves further apart by making their research relevant, through new products and businesses, outreach efforts and service programs. The inventive attitude of Bruce and Byard, and our many former medal recipients, is vital to our students and our state at large.”

Bugbee is a professor in USU’s Plants, Soils and Climate department in the College of Agriculture. Over a 30-year career at USU, Bugbee has mentored 32 graduate students, taught more than 1,000 undergraduate students and is internationally known for his work with NASA on food production in space. He is now collaborating with Wood and other colleagues in the Colleges of Science and Engineering on algal biofuels.  In 1996, Bugbee founded Apogee Instruments, a company that develops innovative sensors for measuring climate change, sustainable food production and renewable energy. Apogee currently employees 16 people, most of whom are graduates of USU.

“Bruce Bugbee is very deserving of this award given his significant accomplishments as a researcher and his successes in translating that research into commercial products,” said Noelle Cockett, dean of the College of Agriculture and vice president for university Extension. “In addition to his contributions to the university, Bruce has a history of personal philanthropy that is directed towards educational opportunities for students and faculty development. I am very appreciative to Bruce for all he does.”

Wood is department head and professor of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering. Wood launched the Utah Science, Technology and Research (USTAR) Biofuels Initiative to develop research facilities and infrastructure for biofuels and bioproducts research and development.  Under his eight-year leadership, USU’s Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering program has increased its undergraduate student population by one-third from 432 to more than 670, and graduate students have nearly doubled at 100. He has also demonstrated commitment to diversity and has doubled the number of female undergraduate students in the program.

“Dr. Wood is an incredible academic and scientific leader who has helped train the next generation of engineers through his active involvement in the creation of new technologies and his commitment to excellence,” said Scott Hinton, dean of the College of Engineering.

The Utah Governor’s Science and Technology Medals are held to recognize individuals and organizations that have made significant contributions to the furthering of scientific knowledge, education and industry in Utah and the nation.  A total of nine recipients were honored at the gala for their contributions and achievements.

“Over the last 24 years the state of Utah has recognized innovators, entrepreneurs, educators and science industry pioneers with the annual Governor’s Science Medals,” said Utah Gov. Gary R. Herbert.  “With this prestigious award, we both celebrate those outstanding achievements and acknowledge their hard work and perseverance. Each day we face challenges and solve problems. These honorees have found solutions and opened our eyes to new horizons. In countless ways, these award recipients exemplify the best in all of us.”

The Governor’s Medal award program was initiated in 1987 to recognize those who made career achievements and/or provided distinguished service that has benefited the state of Utah and the country in the areas of science and technology. Specific criteria were developed to determine the significance of these contributions to the economic development of the state.

The Governor’s Office of Economic Development (GOED) charter is based on Gov. Gary Herbert’s commitment to economic development statewide. Utah’s economic development vision is that Utah will lead the nation as the best performing economy and be recognized as a premier global business destination.

For more information about GOED, contact Michael Sullivan, 801-538-8811 or or visit the web site (


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