Joe Romig: CU Legend Still Pushing Physical, Intellectual Limits

Robert Stein
Colorado Arts & Sciences Magazine

Joe Romig has spent his life pushing limits, whether on the football field as an undersized but overachieving All-American for the University of Colorado, in the classroom as a Rhodes Scholar with an eye for astronomy, even in outer space as part of the NASA Voyager Missions.

Now at 73 years old, Romig’s football days are far behind him, but he continues to tackle intellectual challenges with his work at Lafayette-based consulting firm Ponderosa Associates, where he uses his background as an astrophysicist and NASA scientist to solve problems on Earth.

In addition to current research (writing papers whenever he feels like it, happily avoiding any pressure to “publish or perish”), Romig devotes his time to supporting the University of Colorado’s Museum of Natural History, where his wife, Barbara, works.

“It’s not physics-related; it’s a natural history museum—it’s about archaeology, about biology—but I think [his involvement] is a real sign of how big his brain is and how broad his is curiosity is,” says John Stevenson, dean of the CU-Boulder Graduate School.

“Renaissance man” is how Stevenson and many others describe Romig, who represents a well-roundedness that seems rare in today’s specialized world.

But before any of his talents had been realized, Romig was just your average student athlete. Except he wasn’t average at all.

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