Robert L. Mutel received the 2004 Philip G. Hubbard Award for Outstanding Education. The award was created by a gift from Joseph A. Walder, MD, PhD, a former UI professor of biochemistry and founder of Integrated DNA Technologies. It honors the late UI professor and administrator Philip G. Hubbard and his commitment to educational excellence. The award recognizes the UI faculty member who has best exemplified extended teaching excellence.
Professor Mutel, who joined the UI Department of Physics & Astronomy in 1975, is nationally known for using robotic telescopes to enhance student learning. Thanks to his work, many thousands of students at the UI and nationwide now use telescopes via the internet, instead of just textbooks, to make observations. This change has had a revolutionary and lasting impact. He has served on the National Science Foundation (NSF) Undergraduate Curriculum Advisory Board and the NSF Division of Undergraduate Education Review Panel. He has also mentored dozens of graduate students studying radio inferometry, several of whom went on to hold influential positions at major astronomical observatories.