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In Memoriam: Charles S. Fadley, Longstanding Collaboration Partner of PGI-6

07 August 2019

Charles S. Fadley, a pioneer in X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy and an internationally-recognized Distinguished Professor Emeritus of Physics at the University of California, Davis and Senior Faculty Scientist at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, USA, died at his home in Berkeley on 1 August 2019, following several years of treatment for cancer. He stayed active in his research work until a few weeks before his death, at age 77.

Charles Fadley’s scientific achievements received recognition through many awards. Among them was the Helmholtz-Humboldt Award in 2006, which brought him to the Peter Grünberg Institute. Afterwards he visited us on a regular basis, and forged a very successful and close collaboration between the PGI and his group at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and the University of California, Davis in the field of photoelectron spectroscopy and its application in the study of quantum materials. With his enthusiasm and dedication to physics, he was a knowledgeable teacher, an invaluable discussion partner, and an inspirational friend and colleague.

Fadley-ObitCharles "Chuck" S. Fadley during one of his research stays at the Peter Grünberg Institute in Autumn 2006.
Copyright: Forschungszentrum Jülich

Professor Fadley was born and raised in Norwalk, Ohio, and graduated in 1959 from the town’s public high school. He left his hometown to earn a Bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

After obtaining an M.S. in chemical engineering at UC Berkeley in 1965, he switched from engineering to a PhD programme in Chemical Physics under Professor David A. Shirley, obtaining his degree in 1970. It was with Dr. Shirley that he began his experimental work in x-ray photoelectron spectroscopy, an experimental technique that he would develop and expand for the rest of his life.

He loved to explore the world, and has spent a large part of his life in other countries. He was a postdoctoral researcher in physics at Chalmers Institute of Technology in Sweden, 1970-71, then before accepting his first academic appointment, spent a year in Tanzania teaching physics at the University of Dar es Salaam. His first permanent academic appointment was at the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa, where he served for almost twenty years.

In 1990, he accepted a joint appointment as Advanced Light Source Professor at the University of California, Davis and the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, where he remained until his death. He has been invited to more than thirty countries to share his work and shepherded nearly forty students to their PhDs. Thirty-eight postdocs came from all over the world to work with him.

As the demands of technology push back the frontiers of basic and applied research, the work of Professor Fadley and his students and colleagues has enhanced our ability to analyze the surfaces and interfaces of new materials and their combinations into new devices, work that has earned Professor Fadley numerous prizes in the United States and abroad.

He is survived by his wife, two stepchildren and three stepgrandchildren.

Our thoughts are with his family. We will miss him as a colleague and dear friend and will honour his memory.


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