N.B.: The detail displayed about each honorary degree recipient varies, as
the database was compiled from a variety of sources. However, more information may
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Convocation date: November 17, 1964
Special Convocation: Following the official opening of the Linear Accelerator Laboratory
Discipline / contribution: nuclear physics
Citation / biographical information:
Eminent Chancellor, on behalf of the University Council and Senate I present to you Denys Haigh Wilkinson, MA, PhD, ScD, FRS. Dr. Wilkinson received his university education at Cambridge. After a period as Demonstrator, Lecturer and finally Reader in Nuclear Physics at Cambridge, he joined the Faculty of Oxford in 1957. He has been Student of Christ Church, Oxford, since 1957, Professor of Nuclear Physics from 1957—59, and Professor of Experimental Physics since 1959.Degree received: Doctor of Science
Dr. Wilkinson combines in exceptional measure the skill and ingenuity of the top-flight experimental physicist with the imagination and mathematical facility of the theoretician. This rare combination of talents has allowed him to make important contributions to many fields of nuclear physics. As early as 1950, he wrote a very well-known book on “Ionization Chambers and Counters.” A most ingenious electronic circuit bearing his name forms the basis of all modern multi-channel pulse height analyzers. More recently he has contributed to the development of the bubble-chamber technique as a substitute for the cloud chamber in the tracking of nuclear particles. This is only one of the many areas in which his experimental work has been outstanding.
On the theoretical side, Dr. Wilkinson was one of the first to realize the importance of the concept of isobaric-spin: his work on the charge independence of nuclear force and his contribution to the understanding of the nuclear photo effect, particularly of the “giant resonances” in nuclei, has won him wide recognition.
Dr. Wilkinson was elected to Fellowship in the Royal Society in 1956 at the age of 33. He was Holweck Medalist of the British and French Physical Societies in 1957, and a member of the Governing Board of the National Institute for Research in Nuclear Science since 1957.
Dr. Wilkinson is a witty and polished speaker, and a man of very wide interests. Some of his best known early publications were in the realm of bird navigation. When he wearies of the study of the structure of the nucleus and the flight of nuclear particles, he turns his keen mind to the study of medieval church architecture and the flight of birds.
Eminent Chancellor, I present to you Denys Haigh Wilkinson and ask that you confer on him the degree of Doctor of Science honoris causa.
Degree presented by: R.N.H. Haslam, Dean of Arts and Science
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