Gary Dean Bent, 82, a former assistant head of the Physics Department at the University of Connecticut for 23 years, passed away on Friday, March 3, 2023. He was born on October 9, 1940, in Battle Creek, Michigan. Growing up in Florida, he studied at the Georgia Institute of Technology where he earned Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in Electrical Engineering and Physics. He received his Ph.D. in physics from the University of Connecticut. He was an Ordnance Corps officer in the United States Army for 12 years, serving in several military research centers and at the Military Academy at West Point. He served as assistant head of the physics department at the University of Connecticut for 23 years. While at UCONN he published numerous articles in scientific journals, worked closely with graduate students, taught courses in Physics and environmental science, and was an enthusiastic researcher. Over the years he developed a sense of how physics could be taught at the high school level to ensure student success at the college level. He pursued Connecticut teaching certification in physics and chemistry and after retiring from UCONN he went on to teach physics for UCONN credit at E.O. Smith High School in Storrs. A dedicated teacher, he made the classroom a space for fun and creative learning, using exciting experiments to demonstrate the theories of physics while dressed as a wizard! After retirement from E.O. Smith, he spent time traveling and volunteering his time to combat climate change. He was a founding member of Eastern Connecticut Green Action.
Gary touched many lives and will be greatly missed. A Celebration of Life will be held at the Unitarian Society of Hartford at a later date. In lieu of flowers, a donation in Gary’s memory can be made to the Covenant Soup Kitchen in Willimantic Connecticut at covenantsoupkitchen.org, Eastern Connecticut Green Action at easternconnecticutgreenaction.com or Food and Water Watch at foodandwaterwatch.org.
Gary Bent’s scholarly publications are available at https://www.researchgate.net/scientific-contributions/Gary-Bent-84804712
Gary Bent obituary is at https://www.legacy.com/us/obituaries/hartfordcourant/name/gary-bent-obituary?id=49990378