By Cathy Knotts
On June 6, 2004, while vacationing in London, William E.
(Bill) Spicer died of heart failure. Overcoming a series of obstacles as a
youth, Spicer went on to become an esteemed member of the international
scientific community as a teacher and researcher in electrical
engineering, applied physics and materials science. He spent the past 40
years as a professor at Stanford where he pioneered the technique of
ultraviolet photoemission spectroscopy and its subsequent expansion into
the use of synchrotron radiation.
William E. Spicer (left) and Sebastian Doniach (Photo
by Diana Rogers)
In 1972, Spicer together with Sebastian Doniach founded
the Stanford Synchrotron Radiation Project which evolved into today’s SSRL.
He was a prolific author with over 700 works and the recipient of many
honors and awards including the Lifetime Mentor Award by the AAAS in 2000,
reflecting his tireless effort on the behalf of under-represented
minorities and women. Though retired for some years, Spicer continued to
actively advise students at SSRL up until his death.
In honor of his many contributions to our community, both
professional and personal, SSRL established the W.E. Spicer Award for
Scientific Excellence to be awarded annually to a young scientist. The
Spicer Award will be presented at the annual SSRL users’ meeting to a
young investigator who has made important technical or scientific
contributions that benefit from or are beneficial to SSRL or the
On October 21, the first Annual W.E. Spicer Award was
presented to N. Peter Armitage, a former graduate sudent who worked with
Z.-X. Shen in the Stanford Department of Applied Physics.
The award, which is open to senior graduate students and
those within seven years of entry into their professional scientific field
at the time of nomination, will consist of a certificate and $1,000.
Nominations in the form of a letter or email summarizing
the technical or scientific contributions of the candidate should be sent
by the August 1, 2005, deadline to Cathy Knotts, SSRL MS 99, 2575 Sand
Hill Road, Menlo Park, CA 94025. Nomination packages should include the
candidate’s curriculum vitae and a list of publications; supporting
letters are encouraged.
Nominations received by the deadline will be reviewed by
the selection committee. The next award will be presented at the 32nd
Annual SSRL Users’ Meeting (October 17-18, 2005).
Anyone interested in making a donation towards the W.E.
Spicer Award can do so by sending a check made out to ‘Stanford
University’ to SSRL c/o Dave Dungan, SSRL MS69, 2575 Sand Hill Rd., Menlo
Park, CA 94025. Please note ‘Spicer Award’ on the memo line.
For more information on Bill Spicer, see:
For more information on SSRL, see: