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Friday, April 21, 2006

Nuclear Science Symposium to Honor Swiatecki

On Saturday, April 22, Wladyslaw (Wladek) Swiatecki turns 80. Born in Poland, Swiatecki escaped invading Nazi forces in 1939 with his family, who took up residence first in Paris and then, by way of Casablanca, in England. He received his Ph.D. from the University of Birmingham in 1950 under the supervision of Rudolf Peierls. After postdoctoral work and faculty positions in Denmark and Sweden, Wladek joined the University of California's Radiation Laboratory in 1957. He has pursued basic research in nuclear physics at Berkeley Lab ever since.  

Among Swiatecki's broad interests are his pioneering work on shell effects in nuclear binding energies and, in particular, nuclear surface and nuclear dissipation effects in the context of nuclear fusion and fission dynamics. Over the past 40 years he has attracted worldwide attention by applying these insights to predictions of the stability of superheavy elements.

During his career at the lab, Swiatecki has spent several sabbatical years abroad and has trained a number of graduate students with successful academic careers of their own. He is a member of the Royal Danish Academy of Sciences and Letters and the Polish Academy of Arts and Sciences; he was awarded the Smoluchowski Medal of the Polish Physical Society in 1989 and, in 2000, an honorary degree from the Jagiellonian University in Krakow, Poland.


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