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
be available at the University Archives.
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, I present to you Dr. W.K,H. Panofsky, Director, Stanford Linear Accelerator Center, Professor of Physics, Stanford Linear Accelerator Center.Degree received: Doctor of Science
Dr. Panofsky was born in 1919 in Berlin. He was brought by his parents to the U.S.A. in 1934 and in that place has remained ever since, becoming an American citizen in 1942. Dr. Panofsky has five children including a twin boy and girl who must just about now be entering into a profession or matrimony as the spirit moves them. After graduating with the degree of Bachelor of Arts at Princeton University, Dr. Panofsky took his PhD Degree at the California Institute of Technology in 1942. He was then appointed Director of the Office of Scientific Research and Development Project, California Institute of Technology, and since that time has had a long string of distinctions. He was, for example, consultant of the Manhattan District in Los Alamos in New Mexico; Physicist to the Radiation Laboratory, University of California at Berkeley; and then, throwing aside the iniquities of commerce and industry, he turned to being a respectable academic and was successively Assistant and Associate Professor of Physics at the University of California at Berkeley.
Both Dr. Panofsky and his father, who is at Princeton, are men of great distinction and of considerable personal courage. In 1951, as a result of the activities of the iniquitous Senator McCarthy, Professor Panofsky found himself morally unable to conform to the requirements of the inquisition at Berkeley and went therefore to Stanford University which was of a more enlightened turn of mind. At Stanford, where he was Professor of Physics from 1951 to 1963, Dr. Panofsky was concerned with the high energy physics laboratory and with the Stanford Linear Accelerator Center, an occupation which still forms his major activity. He is now Professor of Physics and Director of the Linear Accelerator Center, Stanford University. Dr. Panofsky’s special fields of interest are x-rays, accelerator design and various aspects of high energy particle physics. In addition to his academic work he has had a distinguished public career. For example, since 1958 he has been on the President’s science advisory committee, and also on the Advisory Council for the Department of Physics at his Alma Mater, Princeton.
Dr. Panofsky is a member of Phi Beta Kappa and has been a member of the Council of the American Physical Society. He is a member of the Honour Society Sigma Xi and has had the distinction of election to the National Academy of Sciences. Those of you who have seen our linear accelerator building will notice that there is a large mound of earth at the rear end, designed to intercept high energy radiation before it can do damage. In these parts at least, such a mound might almost be dignified by the name of a mountain, and I think it very appropriate that Dr. Panofsky is with us this afternoon as his hobby is that of mountaineering. I hope this doesn’t mean that he will climb to the top of the accelerator building and fall into the works, but at least he shares with me a love of high places.
Eminent Chancellor, on behalf of the Council and Senate I ask that you confer on him the Degree of Doctor of Science, honoris causa.
Degree presented by: A.D. Booth, Dean of Engineering
Return to main list: by date | by name