At their September 2023 meeting, the Regents named PCAS Associate Director August E. (Gus) Evrard as the Arthur W. and Alice R. Burks Collegiate Professor of Physics in the College of Literature, Science, and the Arts. Arthur Burks was a long-serving faculty member at the University of Michigan who helped design the Electronic Numerical Integrator and Computer (ENIAC), the first general-purpose electronic digital computer. Alice Burks was employed as a “human computer” at the University of Pennsylvania’s Moore School of Electrical Engineering before marrying Arthur in 1943. Together, they co-authored several publications and a book.
Professor Evrard is a leading computational cosmologist who studies the history and evolution of the universe using physics-based simulations run on supercomputers, the evolutionary descendants of the ENIAC. He developed an original code capable of modeling multiple types of fluids, principally dark and ordinary matter, within large cosmic volumes and created the “Hubble Volume” simulation, the first realization on the scale of our whole observable universe. That simulation was shortly followed by the groundbreaking Millennium simulation (Springel et al., including Evrard; 2005), one of the most highly cited papers of all time in astrophysics. Overall, he has authored approximately 350 referred papers that have garnered more than 32,000 citations, making him one of the most cited faculty in the Physics Department.
Evrard is recognized as a selfless mentor and many of his mentees have gone on to accept tenure-track positions at Yale, Stanford, and Skidmore College, among others. His outreach includes activities that are aimed at underrepresented groups, including organizing multiple campus visits for students of Detroit’s Jalen Rose Leadership Academy.
Professor Evrard has made significant service contributions during his career. When he realized that students did not have equal access to past exams for studying, he created Problem Roulette, a study service offering access to collections of locally-authored exam problems in multiple foundational courses at UM. More than 60,000 students have used the service, for which he was awarded the Provost’s Teaching Innovation Prize in 2019. Evrard also led the creation of Academic Reporting Tools (ART), later rebranded as Atlas, an academic information service widely used on the Ann Arbor campus. In 2020, he co-chaired an LSA task force on computing education with Mark Guzdial, which led to the founding of the Program in Computing in Arts and Science (PCAS) with Guzdial as Director and Evrard as Associate Director.