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Classroom Profile

Ralph Alanson Sawyer
The Michigan Alumnus 443

From the great American naval
 armada operating near the Bikini
 Atoll came the cabled acceptance two
 weeks ago of appointment to the Deanship of Michigan's Horace H. Rackham School of Graduate Studies. 

Ralph A. Sawyer, directing the activ
ities of more than five hundred scien
tists in the preparation for the atom 
bombing in the far Pacific, sent that
 cable to the Regents, accepting the 
preferred Deanship. 
 He will assume his duties with the 
beginning of the Fall Semester, suc
ceeding Dean Clarence S. Yoakum, 
 who died last November 20. Since the
 Dean's death, Professor Peter Okkel
berg, Assistant Dean, has taken over 
the duties now to be entrusted to Dr.

Having received an A.B. degree from
 Dartmouth College in 1915, Dr. Saw
yer has served on the University of Michigan faculty since 1919. He had
 advanced to Professor of Physics in
 1930. Besides graduating from Dart
mouth, he attended Atkinson Academy
 and was a Chamberlin Fellow of Dartmouth College at the University of
 Chicago. For a time he also served as 
an assistant in physics at the Univer
sity of Chicago, where he received a
 Ph.D. degree.

Dr. Sawyer was on active duty as
 an Ensign in the Naval Reserve during
 World War I, and in 1941 he was 
granted a leave from the University
 faculty to again serve in the Navy. He
 was commissioned a Lieutenant Com
mander and placed in charge of experimental laboratories of the Naval Prov
ing Ground at Dahlgren, Virginia. In
 August 1943, he was promoted to 
Commander and assumed charge of the 
testing and research laboratory at 

After his release from the Navy last
 September, Sawyer was appointed head
 of the Ordnance Division of the Naval 
Ordnance Test Station at Inyokern, 
 California, as the Navy felt his ex
perience had particularly fitted him to 
organize the Ordnance Division and 
initiate work on new weapons. He was 
selected for his present task last April. 

Designated in 1944 by American 
Men of Science as one of the nation's
 outstanding scientists, Dr. Sawyer specializes in the fields of spectroscopy, 
 radiometry, extreme ultraviolet spectra, 
 series analysis of line spectra, hyper-
fine structure of spectral lines, and
 quantitative spectrographic analysis. 
He is a fellow of the American Physi
cal Society, the Optical Society of
 America (a Past Director), the 
Society for Applied Spectroscopy and the Research Club of the University of
 Michigan. He has served as associate 
edit or of the Journal of the Optical
 Society of America, held a John Simon
 Guggenheim Memorial Fellowship and
 received other honors. Since 1919, he
 has been the author of 53 technical
 papers dealing with the fields of his