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Memoir

Donald I. Meyer
Regents' Proceedings 344

Donald I. Meyer, professor of physics, retired from active faculty status on December 31, 1996, following 40 years of service.

Professor Meyer earned his B.S. degree in 1946 from the Missouri School of Mines and his Ph.D. degree in 1953 from the University of Washington. He taught at the University of Oklahoma from1952-55 and then joined the research staff at the Brookhaven National Laboratory. He joined the faculty at the University of Michigan in 1957 as assistant professor of physics. He was promoted to associate professor in 1961 and professor in 1966.

Professor Meyer's initial work at the University of Michigan involved bubble chamber experiments. Later, he collaborated in work on strong interactions and the associated production of strange particles. During this period, he worked on a technique for modulating the voltage on the cathode of a photomultiplier as a means of achieving very good time resolution. He also collaborated on the development of a spectrometer magnet and on optical spark chambers.

Through the 1970s and early 1980s, Professor Meyer collaborated on hadronic physics experiments at Fermilab. Later, he and colleagues helped initiate the multi-university high-resolution spectrometer collaboration at the positron-electron collider storage ring at the Stanford Linear Accelerator Center. In the 1990s Professor Meyer collaborated in a gamma ray astronomy program at the Whipple Observatory in Arizona. Using Cerenkov radiation from g-ray air showers, the group employed a large mirror with a matrix of photomultipliers as its focus to observe photons with energies 10,000 times higher than could be studied by satellites. This resulted in detection of the first extra-galatic source seen at these energies, Markarian-421.

Professor Meyer initiated a joint program between the Department of Physics and the College of Engineering to train Ph.D. students in practical applications of modern physics technologies, which led to the highly successful Program in Applied Physics. He also took leadership roles in the recently completed renovation of the Randall Laboratory and West Engineering buildings and helped design the new Physics Research Laboratory. In recognition of his role in helping to create the physics department's outstanding physical facilities, the physics meeting room in 335 West Hall has been named the Donald I. Meyer Commons.

The Regents now salute this faculty member by naming Donald I. Meyer professor emeritus of physics.