Washington State University physicist Thomas Dickinson has been elected a Fellow of the American Physical Society. Dickinson was recognized for “his pioneering and innovative work in basic bond breaking mechanisms, and the forces on particles at solid surfaces during mechanical or radioactive stimulation.” Only one half of one percent of the total APS membership is selected for this honor each year. This year the new fellows totaled 192.
Recently named WSU’s first Paul Anderson Distinguished Professor of Physics, Dickinson has developed laser techniques that may help national laboratories analyze part of the nation’s nuclear waste materials, such as those in Hanford storage tanks.
Numerous significant grants have been awarded to Dickinson from the National Science Foundation, the Department of Energy and other agencies. Among the most recent are a $450,000 grant to study atomic level deformation of metals, a $391,000 grant for work on laser-surface interactions and a $280,000 grant to study nanotribology. He is currently co-principle investigator for two–a $473,000 grant to acquire an ultra-fast laser facility for materials studies and a $476,000 grant for acquisition of a laser-ablation spectrometer for isotope and trace element analysis. In addition, Dickinson has grants from private foundations to develop new computer-based learning tools for calculus-based physics courses.
Dickinson won the 2001 Thomas Lutz Teaching Award. He received the College of Sciences Outstanding Researcher Award and was named Westinghouse Professor in 1994. In 1993, he was awarded the WSU President’s Excellence Award for Research and in 1991 he delivered the Distinguished Faculty Address. He was one of the first 20 fellows of the American Vacuum Society. He joined the faculty at WSU in 1968.