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Winter elected Fellow of American Physical Society

2/20/2003 —
Thomas G. Winter, Ph.D., professor of physics at Penn State Wilkes-Barre, recently received word that he has been elected a Fellow of the American Physical Society. His fellowship certificate will be presented to him in May at the annual meeting of the Division of Atomic, Molecular, and Optical Physics of the American Physical Society in Boulder, Colorado. Each year, no more than one-half of one percent of the current membership of the Society are recognized by their peers for election to the status of Fellow in The American Physical Society.

Dr. Winter earned his fellowship on the basis of his past 33 years of research in theoretical atomic physics, treating collisions between ions and atoms. "The simplest case is a bare nucleus colliding with a one-electron hydrogen-like atom or ion," said Dr. Winter. "With computers, and using the methods of quantum mechanics, one can calculate the probabilities the electron in the target atom will be excited, ionized, or captured. Formulating even a single calculation, however, involves many pages of mathematical analysis and several thousand lines of computer code--taking months to formulate and check--which in some cases might run on a modern computer for an hour before yielding a single useful result. These probabilities depend on various factors, such as the speed of the nucleus and how closely it passes through the atom. At low speeds the electron is usually more likely to be captured, while at high speeds it is more likely to be excited or ionized (but most likely to stay as it was)."

Dr Winter, of Shavertown, joined the faculty at Penn State Wilkes-Barre in 1976 as an assistant professor. He earned the rank of associate professor in 1981, and became a full professor in 1987. Previously he did research at Rice University, the Queen's University of Belfast, and the University of Wisconsin. He served as interim campus executive officer at Penn State Wilkes-Barre from 1994-1997, and he founded and continues to direct the highly successful campus recycling program. Dr. Winter holds a Ph.D. in physics from the University of Wisconsin and a B.A. in mathematics (magna cum laude) from Queen's College of the City University of New York.
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