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George W. Ford
Regents' Proceedings 339

George W. Ford, professor of physics, will retire from active faculty status on May 31, 1997, following forty years of service.

Professor Ford received his A.B. (1949), M.S. (1951), and Ph.D. (1955) degrees from the University of Michigan. After working at the National Bureau of Standards and the University of Notre Dame, he returned to the University of Michigan in 1958 as an assistant professor. He was promoted to associate professor in 1961 and professor in 1966.

A theoretical physicist, early in his career Professor Ford built an international reputation in the field of statistical mechanics. He then made significant contributions to beta decay and electromagnetism, both classical and quantum. He is known for his command of mathematical techniques for the analysis of complex problems in electromagnetism. He has lectured and published on topics in special and general relativity, biophysics, fluid mechanics, and nonlinear mechanics. He has also had fruitful collaborations with experimental colleagues in solid-state physics and atomic physics. Despite a demanding schedule of working and lecturing, he has always had time to interact with a wide and diverse group of friends and colleagues.

Professor Ford's Ph.D. thesis was an important work on the application of linear graphs in statistical mechanics, with applications to the equation of state of gases. After his thesis, Professor Ford became involved in studies of electromagnetism. He next began a fruitful contribution to the g-2 experiments, and mentored the first of his Ph.D. students as they engaged in an analysis of the motion of the spin of a classical relativistic particle. His work was vital to the data analysis of his famous experimental program. He later contributed to the positronium studies centered in the department. He became known for his work in the 1970s on helicon oscillations of conducting spheres and on the modes of an axisymmetric cavity resonator. He has also written seminal papers on such diverse topics as energy balance in binary star systems, instabilities in injected electron-hole plasmas in semiconductors, and the rotation-vibration quantum states of floppy molecules. He continues to work in statistical mechanics, dissipation in quantum systems, atomic physics, and quantum electrodynamics.

The Regents now salute this faculty member by naming George W. Ford professor emeritus of physics.