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Physics Chairman Studied Under Professor He Succeeded


Ernest F. Barker
The Michigan Alumnus 107

Problems of atomic and molecular structure, approached
 chiefly through study of infrared 
spectra, have challenged the scientific curiosity of Dr. ERNEST F. 
BARKER. Chairman of the Department of Physics, since his stu
dent days, and as far back as 1919, 
 when he came to Michigan on a 
Fellowship as a promising young
 physicist, he was working in this 
field under Dr. Harrison M. Ran
dall. Last February, he succeeded 
his former teacher as Chairman of 
the Department, thus adding an
other step to his progress up through 
the ranks in the Faculty since he
 was appointed Lecturer in Physics
 in 1921.

Dr. Barker was born at 
Listowel, Ontario, on March 16, 
1886, but moved with his family to
 Superior, Wisconsin, as a small boy
 and there attended grammar and
 high schools before entering the 
University of Wisconsin in 1904. 
 After a year there, he transferred to 
the University of Rochester, where 
he graduated with the B.S. degree 
in 1908. He took his M.S. degree 
in 1913, and in 1915 Michigan
 granted him his Ph.D. degree. 


Meanwhile, he began teaching, first 
for two years as physics teacher
 at East High School, Rochester, and 
then for two more years at the Uni
versity of Rochester as Instructor in
 
Mathematics. For a year he held a 
University Fellowship at Michigan, 
 and from 1915 to 1919, he taught 
at the University of Western On
tario, London, as Associate Professor of Physics.

Dr. Barker was one
 of the first group of Fellows sent 
by the National Research Council 
to Michigan in 1919, and in 1922 
he was named Assistant Professor, 
 subsequently becoming Associate
 Professor in 1927 and Professor in
 1931.

In addition to his research 
and teaching, he has written nu
merous articles for scientific journals, and, until recent years, has 
found time to continue with the 
hobby he began in college, the study
 of wild bird life. Not only is Dr.
 Barker an alumnus, but his family 
as well holds close association with
 the University, his wife being the 
former Emma Swirgart, A.M.'15, 
 and his two sons students in the 
University and University High
 School, respectively.

During his 
student and teaching years, he has 
become a member of Phi Beta 
Kappa, Sigma Xi, Phi Sigma Phi, 
 and Theta Delta Chi, as well as a
 Fellow of the A.A.A.S. and the
 American Physical Society, and a 
member of the American Associa
tion of Physics Teachers and the
 American Association of University 
Professors.