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Charles Wilbur Peters
Regents' Proceedings 910

C. Wilbur Peters, professor of physics, will retire from active faculty status as of December 31, 1983.

Professor Peters is a native of Baltimore, Maryland, and received both his A.B. in 1938 and his Ph.D. in 1949 from Johns Hopkins University. His thesis professor was John Strong, of Johns Hopkins, one of the giants of mid-century American experimental physics and a gifted classical spectroscopist.

Professor Peters came to Michigan as an instructor in 1948 where he remained throughout his professional career. At Michigan he joined the pre-eminent group of molecular spectroscopists which had established Michigan as a major American center of physics in the 1930's under Professor Harrison M. Randall. Professor Peters worked on problems in infrared spectroscopy upon his arrival in Michigan, including his studies in the 1950s of the electric field induced vibration-rotation spectrum of the hydrogen and deuterium molecules. He was also prominent in the development and calibration of infrared spectrographic instrumentation.

A particularly important contribution of Professor Peters and his students was the invention of a technique to clad glass fibers with a glass of lower refractive index in order to prevent cross-talk in fiber optic bundles. Originally developed for application in a medical fiberscope, this invention is now an important component of fiber optics technology finding increasing application in communication science.

Professor Peters, in collaboration with Professors Weinreich and Franken, first demonstrated optical harmonic generation from high intensity laser beams incident on certain materials. This ingenious discovery has spawned a significant subfield in the still-growing application of lasers in physics research and applied science. Over the past two decades Professor Peters has exploited lasers in his continued research on problems in molecular spectroscopy.

Professor Peters chaired the doctoral thesis committees of a dozen graduate students during his career at Michigan. He also is remembered for his contribution to undergraduate teaching through his lectures in optics for physics majors as well as in the large elementary physics courses for premedical students. He has been an effective undergraduate advisor and counselor for physics majors and rendered valuable service to the department in his management of the physics curriculum and time schedules.

The Regents now honor this scholar, inventor, spectroscopist, and teacher for his career of dedicated service by naming him Professor Emeritus of Physics.