In Memoriam of Cliff Chancey

C. Clifton Chancey (1955-2013)


Dr. C. Clifton “Cliff” Chancey was born in Cincinnati, Ohio in 1955. He received a B.S. degree in physics from Miami University (Ohio), and M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in physics from The Johns Hopkins University. He spent three years at Oxford University in England as a postdoctoral fellow. He subsequently held appointments at Amherst College, Purdue University-Calumet and the University of Northern Iowa (UNI), where he was professor and head of the Department of Physics until his untimely death in 2013.

Dr. Chancey was a theoretical condensed-matter physicist whose research interests were wide-ranging. He made contributions in the areas of superconductivity, modeling of sodium channels, sedimentology, and especially the Jahn-Teller Effect. Dr. Chancey was the author or co-author of 27 journal publications. He co-authored (with M. O’Brien) a monograph entitled “The Jahn-Teller Effect in C60 and Other Icosahedral Complexes,” published by Princeton University Press in 1997. Dr. Chancey was also the Principal Investigator of research and teaching grants totaling nearly $3 million.

Dr. Chancey was an ardent supporter of involving undergraduates in research to develop the skills necessary for the successful practice of science. He involved undergraduates in his own theoretical research. At Purdue-Calumet, he served as the editor of the Northwest Indiana Journal of Undergraduate Research and at UNI, he was the Editor in Chief of the American Journal of Undergraduate Research (this journal). Dr. Chancey’s perspective was that the importance of peer-reviewed research articles authored by undergraduates could not be overstated.

Dr. Chancey’s record of service to the science profession was extensive. He served as Coordinator for the National Task Force for Project Kaleidoscope; he held several national leadership positions in Sigma Xi (The Scientific Research Society), including Director for Comprehensive Colleges and Universities; he was intimately involved in the development and marketing of the Professional Science Master (PSM) degree program in the United States, and served on the Board of Directors of the National PSM Association. Dr. Chancey also served on numerous university committees and was a leader in United Way fundraising campaigns in Cedar Falls, Iowa.

The family, friends and colleagues of Dr. Chancey mourn his passing. He will be sorely missed.