The American Physical Society (APS) has selected Denison physics professor Wes Walter as an APS Fellow for his “outstanding contributions to negative ion spectroscopy and exemplary involvement of undergraduate students in research.” With more than 50,000 members, the APS is the preeminent organization of physicists in the world, including physicists in academia, national laboratories, and industry.
“I am humbled and honored to receive this recognition from my peers,” Walter said. “I’m especially grateful to professor Dan Gibson, who is my longtime research collaborator, and the many outstanding students who have participated in our research program over the years.”
Walter and Gibson have received several grants from the National Science Foundation to further their research that improves the understanding of how electrons interact within atoms and molecules, which plays a key role in chemical reactions.
“I feel very fortunate to be at Denison, working with all the fine folks in the physics and astronomy department, and across campus,” Walter said.
In his research at Denison, as well as in labs in California and Sweden, Walter uses lasers and other light sources to excite negative ions, “probing the ways that electrons ‘talk’ to each other on the atomic scale.“ These studies help build the physical database, provide important tests of cutting-edge quantum mechanics theories, and yield valuable insights into many-body interaction, which is a topic of interest for a broad range of fields in physics, chemistry, materials science, and nanotechnology.
“Wes is an outstanding physicist, teacher, and mentor,” said Kim Coplin, Denison provost. “He is an exemplary researcher and a generous teacher.”