Parker Alford 1973 to 1984
The next Chairman was a prominent former graduate of Western, W.
[1973-92] (Western, BSc, 1949; Princeton, PhD, 1954).
Parker was born in London, and was a gold medal graduate from the Physics
Department. Following his PhD he accepted a position in Physics at the University
of Rochester; at the time he left to come to Western he was Acting Director
of the Nuclear Structure Research Laboratory at Rochester. Parker remained
Department Chairman until 1984, and took normal retirement in 1992. Throughout
his time in the Department, he maintained an active research program in
intermediate energy nuclear physics. Since there was no nuclear physics
activity at Western his research was carried out at other facilities, particularly,
in the 80's and 90's, at TRIUMF, where he continues to participate in experiments.
Parker's skills served the Department well through a difficult time when
there were few opportunities for departmental renewal. Between 1973 and
1983, only one new faculty member was hired and three departed.
|Department Heads and Chairmen, 1961 - 1989. Left
to right, Dr. Peter Forsyth (Head, 1961-1967), Dr. Bill McGowan (Chairman,
1969-1972), Dr. Parker Alford (Chairman, 1973-1984); Dr. Graham Rose
By the end of Parker Alford's second term as Chairman the Department was
getting old, which meant that the 1980's could be a period of rebuilding.
That started in 1982 with an offer the Department couldn't refuse. The University
was establishing a centre for surface science, Surface Science Western,
and it was considered important that there be some related research activity
in the Department of Physics, hence a position was available, with strings
attached. The result was that in 1983 we hired Peter J. Schultz
[1983-1995] (Guelph, PhD, 1981), who established the Positron Beam Laboratory,
an important step in a great strengthening of Condensed Matter Physics at
Western over the next decade. This strengthening had already started almost
by accident, as plasma physics work by P.K. John
(Ohio State, PhD, 1963) was found to be useful in the preparation and study
of amorphous silicon. This led to a research collaboration with B.Y.
[1967-present] (UCSD, PhD, 1967) which lasted for
some time. Finally, as Parker Alford's term as Chairman came to an end,
the Department was also able to fill the vacancy resulting from Bill McGowan's
departure with the appointment of J. Brian A. Mitchell
[1984-present] (Belfast, PhD, 1975), who took over the operation of the