UGA physics professor William Yen wins international honor for work on luminescence


William Yen, Graham Perdue Professor of Physics at the University of Georgia, has been named winner of the ICL Prize for Luminescence Research, and he will receive the international award at ceremonies in Beijing on Monday, July 25.

The honor from the International Conference on Luminescence is being given for Yen's "pioneering discoveries in the dynamics of solid state optical processes and for exceptional leadership in the field of luminescence."

The ICL Prize was established in 1984 and is awarded in conjunction with the triannual International Conference on Luminescence. The prize was endowed by a consortium of concerns interested in the promotion of luminescence research and is currently funded by Elsevier Science Publishers of Amsterdam. Yen will receive a plaque and a check for $2,500.

"This is a great honor, since I have been connected with ICL and the luminescence community for nearly four decades," said Yen. He organized the conference in 1984 at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and was elected to chair the International Organizing Committee in 1990 and has held that title since. He will step down from these duties while in Beijing.

Yen, who has been at UGA since 1987, is the recipient of a Guggenheim and Fulbright award. He was awarded a Senior U.S. Scientist Award twice by the Humboldt Foundation and was given the Lamar Dodd Award by UGA this year.

He is a fellow of the American Physical Society, the Optical Society of America, the American Association for the Advancement of Science and the Electrochemical Society.

Yen received his bachelor's degree from the University of Redlands, in Redlands, Calif., in 1956 and his doctoral degree from Washington University in St Louis. He held a postdoctoral position with Arthur Schawlow (inventor of the laser and a Nobel laureate in 1981) at Stanford from 1962 to 1965 and was a faculty member at the University of Wisconsin-Madison from 1965 to 1987. After retiring from Wisconsin, he came to UGA.

Yen is being recognized for a number of pioneering advances in the understanding of processes that affect the optical spectroscopic behavior of solids, in particular those which emit light or luminescence.

"Among other things, we discovered that the emitting ions in these solids are affected by the magnetic order of the system resulting in compound optical transitions, known as magnon sidebands," said Yen.

Yen joins a number of other well-known physicists as a winner of the prize.

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