|W. Conyers Herring|
November 15, 1914|
Scotia, New York
|Died||July 23, 2009
Palo Alto, California
|Alma mater||Princeton University|
|Doctoral advisor||Eugene Wigner|
|Known for||Solid State Physics|
|Notable awards||Oliver E. Buckley Condensed Matter Prize (1959)
NAS Award for Scientific Reviewing (1980)
Wolf Prize (1984/5)
Conyers Herring completed his Ph.D in Physics from Princeton University in 1937, submitting a dissertation entitled On Energy Coincidences in the Theory of Brillouin Zones under the direction of Eugene Wigner. In 1946, he joined the technical staff of Bell Laboratories in Murray Hill, New Jersey, where he remained until 1978. Then, he joined the faculty at Stanford University.
Conyers Herring played a major role in the development of solid state physics.
He laid the foundations of band structure calculations of metals and semiconductors, culminating in the discovery of the Orthogonalized Plane Wave Method (O.P.W.) in 1940. He was years ahead of his time in this contribution. A great deal of modern solid state physics as produced today stems from this original and early paper.
His influence on the development of solid state physics extends to a deep understanding of many facets such as surface physics, of thermionic emission, of transport phenomena in semiconductors and of collective excitations in solids such as spin waves.
He created the theoretical physics division at Bell Telephone Laboratory. Because of this, the total research effort at this institution and brought about much of the most original research in condensed matter physics during the last 30 years.
He has also been most influential in promoting international cooperation among scientists and through his character and his personal example, he has exemplified a somewhat unattainable ideal of how a research scholar in any field should operate.
He has contributed to religion and science discussions. He has stated about God that "Things such as truth, goodness, even happiness, are achievable by virtue of a force that is always present, in the here and now and available to me personally".
Awards and honors
In 1984/85 Conyers Herring was awarded the Wolf Prize in Physics along with Philippe Nozieres for "their major contributions to the fundamental theory of solids, especially of the behaviour of electrons in metals". In 1980 he was awarded the NAS Award for Scientific Reviewing from the National Academy of Sciences.
- Conyers Herring at Stanford University
- pages 42-44 of Margenau, H. (1992). Cosmos, Bios, Theos: Scientists Reflect on Science, God, and the Origins of the Universe, Life, and Homo sapiens. Open Court Publishing Company. co-edited with Roy Abraham Varghese. This book is mentioned in the Time magazine article: Galileo And Other Faithful Scientists
- The Wolf Prize in Physics in 1984/85
- "NAS Award for Scientific Reviewing". National Academy of Sciences. Retrieved 27 February 2011.
- Conyers Herring at the Mathematics Genealogy Project
- Profile of Conyers Herring
- The contributions of Conyers Herring
- Oral History interview transcript with Conyers Herring 5 August 2000, American Institute of Physics, Niels Bohr Library and Archives
- Oral History interview transcript with Conyers Herring 23 July 1974, American Institute of Physics, Niels Bohr Library and Archives
- Stanford Obituary of Conyers Herring
- National Academy of Sciences Biographical Memoir