Alumni Spotlight: Magnificent Eight

Pictured, from left to right: Jake Wolfson, Paul Kingsbury, John Strozier, Roland Marshall, Ron Galli, Chairman Dave Kieda, John Page, Sook-il Kwon, Russ Johnson, William Silfvast.

On September 13, 2012, the Department of Physics & Astronomy in partnership with the College of Science, hosted a reunion of sorts for several of the department’s accomplished alumni. The alumni came from Korea, New York, Florida, Texas, Arizona, California, and Utah, to reunite with former advisors and reminisce on old times in the department. The alumni attended Prof. Pearl Sandick’s Higgs Boson talk, and participated in one of our public Star Parties on the roof of the South Physics Building. The College of Science also held a reception in their honor. On the following pages, career summaries of each of these alumni is listed, as provided by Dr. William Silfvast.



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J. Ronald Galli | Paul D. Kingsbury | Sook-Il Kwun | Ronald L. Marshall | William T. Silfvast | John Page | John Strozier | C. Jacob Wolfson |

J. Ronald Galli

Photo credit: WSU

Dr. Galli started as a Physicist at the Naval Ordnance Test Station, China Lake, California in 1958 and 1959. He received his Ph.D in Physics in 1963. His thesis title was “The Effect of Hydrostatic Pressure on the Ductile-Brittle Transition in Molybdenum,” under the direction of Prof. Peter Gibbs. Also in 1963, he was a Physicist with the Aerojet General Corp., in Downey, California, and he became a Professor of Physics at Weber State University. Dr. Galli served as the physics department chairman at Weber State twice, first from 1964-1970, and then again from 1983-1994. In 1994, he was called to the position of Dean of the College of Science at Weber State University, which he held until 2003. Dr. Galli is currently a Professor of Physics at Weber State University.

Galli’s research interests were Optics, Electronics, High Pressure Physics, and Fracture Dynamics. Currently his research is based on Rotational Dynamics (“Galli Cat”), and Special Relativity. In the future, Dr. Galli’s research will focus around Principles of Relativistic Photon Refraction. Dr. Galli is also the inventor of the “Galli Cat” demonstration on Rotational Dynamics, which can be seen here:

Paul D. Kingsbury

Dr. Kingsbury received his Ph.D in Physics in 1968 under the direction of Professor William D. Ohlsen. The title of his thesis was “An Electron Paramagnetic Resonance Study of n-Type Rutile.”

After graduate school he joined the research and development staff of Corning Glass Works (now Corning Inc.), where he remained until he retired in 1994. While there he held positions of Senior Scientist, Project Leader, Supervisor, Senior Research Associate and, for the final five years, Manager, Physical Properties Research Department.

During his employment at Corning, he was involved in the following projects

  1. Studied and explained the long-term stability characteristics of Corning’s thin-film tin oxide resistor product and identified solutions to MIL-SPEC failures
  2. Studied and helped to explain stability properties of experimental catalytic materials required to meet Kennedy- Muskie 1975-6 automobile emissions standards
  3. Developed and delivered an Yttria-stabilized zirconia oxygen sensor prototype for automotive use.
  4. Was a key contributor to the chemical composition of the upgraded photochromic ophthalmic product Photogray Extra (1978) and was the project leader in the development of various colors of Photogray Extra sunglasses
  5. As project leader, he delivered 6,000 prototype photochromic sunroofs for Cadillac automobiles
  6. Was the leader of a team that designed and delivered prototype aspheric lenses to Matsuchita for its new disk-player product (1980s). These lenses were characterized by a seventeen milliwave RMS wavefront error over the entire lens surface
  7. Led a project that developed a process for using a glass-ceramic material in dental restorations (mostly crowns). This process was subsequently commercialized
  8. The above primary, long-term technical endeavors were interspersed with many forays into solving technical and production problems encountered by the various divisions of Corning, as well as with stints in supervisory and management positions.

He was awarded an “Individual Outstanding Contributor Award” by the CEO of Corning for his work in using glass-ceramic materials in dental restorations.

Sook-Il Kwun

Dr. Sook-Il Kwun received his Ph.D in Physics in 1965 under the direction of Professor Henry Eyring. The title of his thesis was “The Effect of Sigma-bond Deformation Upon Ionization of Polyphenyl Molecules.”

After graduation he was a Research Associate at the University of Chicago Physics Department from 1965 to 1966. At that point he joined the faculty of Seoul National University where he later attained the rank of Professor.

From 1973-1974 he was a Visiting Professor at Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique in Paris. From 1978-1979 he was a Visiting Professor at the University of Southern California. In 1989-1991 he became Dean of Research Affairs at Seoul National University. From 1991-1993 he served as Dean of the College of Natural Sciences at Seoul National University. From 1997-1998 he was the Minister of Science and Technology for the Government of Korea. He is presently Professor Emeritus of Physics at Seoul National University. From 2002 to present he is also Chair Professor of Physics at Myongji University in Korea.

During his career he engaged in Experimental Condensed Matter Physics. He used electrical, thermal, and optical measurements to study the physical properties of ferroelectric materials. He specifically worked on phase transition problems, commensurate-incommensurate phase transitions, dipole glasses of ferroelectric-anti-ferroelectric mixed crystals, multiferroics, etc. He published more than 150 papers in the academic journals including Phys. Rev. Lett., Phys. Rev. B, Applied Phys. Lett., Rev. Sci. Instr., Solid State Comm., and Ferroelectrics.

From 1995-1997 he served as President of the Korean Physical Society. He was elected to the Membership of the Korean National Academy of Sciences in 2002. In 1988 he received the Best Paper Award from the Korean Physical Society. In 2000 he received the Excellent Achievement Award from the President of Korea.

In 2003 he received the Blue Stripes Order of Service Merit from the President of Korea. And in 2003 and 2008 he received Contribution Awards from the Korean Physical Society and the Korean Academy of Science.

Ronald L. Marshall

Dr. Marshall received his PhD in physics in 1967 under the direction of Professor William D. Ohlsen. His thesis title was “An EPR Investigation of Irradiation-Induced Damage Centers in Calcite.”

In 1966 he became an Assistant Professor of Physics at Cleveland State University where he taught undergraduate physics and worked at NASA – Lewis during the summer from 1966 to 1970

In 1970 he joined the Operations Research staff at the General Telephone & Electronics Corporation (now Verizon) in Tampa, Florida as Manager of Operations Research (publications in simulation and dynamic programming). In 1978 he became Manager of Corporate Planning where he was involved in developing and implementing General Telephone & Electronics Corporation’s corporate strategy and also involved in corporate acquisitions.

In 1985 he moved to the University of Mississippi as the Founding Director of The Ole Miss Center for Telecommunications.

In 1987 he became Dean of the University College of the Florida Institute of Technology where he had general management responsibility for approximately 1500 off-campus graduate students, mostly military, government contractors and government civilian employees. The programs offered included management, administration, space systems, electrical engineering, systems management, computer science, computer information systems, mechanical engineering, operations research, logistics, and contracts and acquisition management. He also led the development of Florida Tech’s online programs which now enroll several thousand students. He is presently Dean Emeritus at the Florida Institute of Technology.

During his time at the General Telephone & Electronics Corporation he received an award from the CEO for work done in redefining the mission and organization of General Telephone & Electronics Corporation’s data processing organization. While at the Florida Institute of Technology he received commendation from the regional accreditation body (SACS) for the quality of his programs and the quality of procedures in effect controlling all of the Florida Institute of Technology’s off-campus programs. Also while at the Florida Institute of Technology he was appointed by Governor Bush to the Florida State Board of Independent Colleges and Universities. His term for that appointment expired in 2001.

William T. Silfvast

Photo credit: CREOL, UCF

Dr. Silfvast received his Ph.D in Physics with a minor in Mathematics in 1965. His thesis title was “High Gain Laser Action in the Neutral Spectrum of Lead” under the direction of Professor Grant R. Fowles.

He spent a postgraduate year at the University of Utah doing laser research with Dr. Fowles and Dr. Edward M. Eyring of the Chemistry Department. During both the time prior to receiving his degree and during the subsequent postdoctoral year he discovered a number of new lasers including the well-known blue He-Cd laser. While at Utah he was awarded a NATO Postdoctoral Fellowship by the National Science Foundation to spend a year doing laser research at the University of Oxford in England with Professor John Sanders (1966-67).

From 1967 to 1989 he was a Member of the Technical Staff at AT&T Bell Laboratories where he carried out pioneering work in the fields of metal vapor lasers, recombination lasers, photoionization- pumped lasers, laser plasmas, and Extreme ultraviolet (EUV) lithography sources.

In 1990 he joined the faculty of the University of Central Florida in Orlando, where he was a Professor of Physics and Electrical Engineering as well as a member of the Center for Research and Education in Optics and Lasers (CREOL). During that time he conducted research in EUV sources for micro-lithography and also served as Chair of the Department of Physics from 1994-1997. In 1999 he became a Professor of Optics at the newly created College of Optics where he is presently Emeritus Professor of Optics.

In addition to his NATO Postdoctoral Fellow at Oxford University in 1966-67, he was awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship to spend a year at Stanford University in 1982-83. He was made a Distinguished Member of The Technical Staff at Bell Labs in 1983. In 1990 he received the 2000 University Distinguished Researcher Award of the University of Central Florida. Professor Silfvast is a Fellow of the American Physical Society, the Optical Society of America, and the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE). He has authored more than 100 technical papers as well as numerous invited talks and papers and several book chapters, and holds more than 30 patents. He has published both a first edition (1996) and a second edition (2004) of a book entitled “Laser Fundamentals” with Cambridge University Press as well as a book entitled “Selected Papers on the Fundamentals of Lasers” published by the SPIE Press (1993). In 2010, in recognition of the celebration of the 50th anniversary of the laser, he was selected as one of 27 ‘Laser Luminaries’ (laser pioneers) honored for significant early discoveries.

John Page

Photo credit: ASU

Dr. Page eceived his Ph.D in Physics in 1966 under the direction of Professor B. Gale Dick. His dissertation title was “Theory of the Sidebands in the Infrared Spectrum of U-Centers in Alkali Halides.”

He spent a postdoctoral year and a half at the Institute for Theoretical Physics at the University of Frankfurt in Germany under Professor H. Bilz. He was then at the Laboratory of Atomic and Solid State Physics, Cornell University, from January 1968 to August 1969, on a Cornell Laboratory of Atomic and Solid State Physics fellowship under Professor J. A. Krumhansl.

In 1969 he joined the Physics faculty at Arizona State University where he attained the rank of Professor in 1980. He retired in 2004 and is presently Emeritus Professor of Physics.

His research involved several areas of theoretical condensed matter and molecular physics:

  1. Phonon and electron-phonon properties of perfect and defect crystals
  2. Development of nonzero temperature many-body techniques for the theory of resonance Raman scattering by complex biomolecular systems
  3. Optical properties of disordered and composite media
  4. Analytic and numerical studies of a novel class of localized vibrational excitations in strongly anharmonic perfect lattices at large amplitudes (no static symmetry breaking such as defects or disorder is needed for this “dynamical localization.”) Extensions to systems as diverse as optically driven lattices of dipole rotors and quasi-1D lattices of Josephson junctions subject to applied DC currents reveal a wide variety of fascinating behavior, including localized chaos
  5. Collaborative studies of the structural, dynamical and electronic properties of fullerene molecules and solids, namely C60 “buckyballs” and larger fullerenes, molecules and crystals formed from polymerically joined C60s, and carbon nanotubes. Large-scale ab-initio quantum molecular dynamics simulations were carried out, and the results were compared with experiments, primarily infrared absorption and Raman scattering

During his career he held visiting faculty appointments at several institutions including the University of Utah; Technical University of Munich; Max Planck Institute for Solid State Research, Stuttgart; Cornell, where he taught graduate solid state physics and conducted research during a leave of absence from Arizona State University; University of Regensburg, Germany; and Max Planck Institute for the Physics of Complex Systems, Dresden.

He published over 100 research papers in refereed physics and chemical physics journals, plus invited book chapters reviewing several topics, e.g. many-body theory of resonance Raman scattering by biomolecules, unusual anharmonic localized excitations in lattices, first-principles studies of fullerene polymer systems, and vibrational spectroscopy of C60. He also gave numerous invited lectures at international conferences.

He was elected a Fellow of the American Physical Society in 1990, received the Humboldt Research Award for Senior U.S. Scientists in 1991 (which included a full year’s support at the Univ. of Regensburg), and received the Arizona State University College of Liberal Arts Teaching Award in 1988.

John Strozier

Dr. Strozier received his Ph.D in 1966 under the direction of Professor B. Gale Dick. His thesis title was “A Calculation of the Electronic Properties of the F’ Center.”

After a postdoctoral year at the University of Utah, he spent another postdoctoral year at the Cornell Department of Material Science with Prof. Che-Yu Li and then moved on to SUNY Stony Brook as an Associate Research Professor and (1974-78) as a Research Physicist at Brookhaven National Lab. He then joined the faculty as a Professor of Math Science and Technology at Empire State College/SUNY from 1979-2003 where he is now Professor Emeritus. He is also currently a Lecturer there, teaching an online course that he designed called “Minds and Machines.”

He held visiting faculty appointments at Arizona State University Department of Physics during the summer of 1972, as Faculty Research Associate and SUNY Stony Brook in the summer of 1983, and spent two sabbaticals plus two to three months a year at the University of Houston, Department of Physics from 1984 to 2006.

During his career, his research activities included:

  1. Calculation of electronic/optical properties of F’ color centers and L bands of KCl
  2. LEED (Low Energy Electron Diffraction) theory, calculations, and experiment on various crystalline surfaces
  3. Development of computer controlled data acquisition systems: a) crystal growth in UHV via molecular beams,. b) LEED data of crystals grown in UHV with transmission to large main-frame computers via telephone. This work led to the formation of a small company that sold 14 units world-wide. c) Ultrasound detection of flaws in aircraft tires.
  4. Theory of late stage sintering of an array of rods by viscous flow
  5. Experiment and theory of the catalysis of (a) the kinetics of CO oxidation on Pt, (b) reactive etching of W surface with XeF2 and (c) island formation of Al on Graphite.
  6. Experiment and theory of MBE (molecular beam epitaxy) growth of InSb and CdTe; in particular on stepped surfaces
  7. Experimental studies of chaos (nonlinear dynamics) relating to optical measurements on vortices in liquids
  8. Theory and experiment of the optical properties of MBE-grown disordered GaAs/AlAs
  9. Member of the Wake Shield Facility team. The WSF flew on three NASA Space Shuttle Flights growing crystals in space using MBE. During the flights, he characterized the real-time growth of the crystals using high energy electron diffraction
  10. Development of a teaching concept involving problem solving by trial and error
  11. Theory and experiment on electrical pulse-induced resistance change in perovskite oxide thin films
  12. Development of a computational theory of consciousness, and an attempt at resolution of the subjective, objective dichotomy (ongoing)

He received the Excellence in Scholarship Award from Empire State College, SUNY in 1990.

C. Jacob Wolfson

Dr. Wolfson received his Ph.D in 1966 under the direction of Professor Haven Bergeson. His thesis title was “High-Energy Meson Production Implications from Observing the Cosmic Ray Lunar Shadow.”

After graduation, he joined the Lockheed Palo Alto Research Laboratory in 1966 and is still employed there on a half-time basis as an advisor.

He began his employment at Lockheed doing research. Then he gradually moved to Management and then to Advisor, being the Program Manager of several payloads along the way

His initial position was with a Neutron Multiplicity Monitor program with the monitor primarily stationed at an elevation of 12,500 feet in the White Mountains of California, with excursions to other high mountains, as well as observations via an airplane and a ship. This program demonstrated that by measuring the multiplicity of neutrons created by cosmic rays rather than just the intensity, as was being done by other neutron monitors, one could determine their energy distribution and thus increase the understanding of how space weather affected the observations. Funding expired for the program after several years and he joined a newly emerging group doing solar physics research from space

Initially the group obtained data from sounding rockets launched out of White Sands, NM beginning in 1968, and then via a series of satellite payloads including OSO-8 (1975), SMM (1980), Spacelab-2 (1985), Yohkoh (1991), SOHO (1996), TRACE (1998), Hinode (2006), STEREO (2006), SDO (2010), and IRIS (2013); where the launch dates are indicated. SOHO, Hinode, STEREO, and SDO are presently on orbits and IRIS will launch early next year. The pioneering payloads/instruments; with ever improving spectral, spatial, and temporal resolution; covered wavelengths from X-Ray to the visible where he was primarily involved in EUV and X-Ray regions. Results from these programs have greatly improved the understanding of the solar atmosphere and its very dynamic behavior, including the role of the magnetic field in providing the energy for phenomena such as flares and Coronal Mass Ejections as well as the fine-structure of the global coronal phenomena. The vast majority of solar imagery that is fairly commonly seen in the press nowadays (with the increased interest in Space Weather) has come from these satellites. His group has been one of the leading solar physics groups in the world for the last 40 years.

He was a recipient of the Lockheed Martin NOVA Award in June 1995, the highest technical award given by Lockheed Martin. He has also received various other awards from NASA and Lockheed Martin.

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