Noted low-temperature physicist wins Vollum Award at convocation

Convocation ceremonies opened the 1997-98 academic year on September 4. Welcoming the crowd and giving special encouragement to seniors were President Koblik; Don Frisbee, chairman of the board of trustees; Richard Cuthbert '73, alumni association president; and Graham Jones '98, student body president.

Dean of the faculty Peter Steinberger, Robert H. and Blanche Day Ellis Professor of Political Science and Humanities, presented a thoughtful talk on "Public and Private" that explored historical, philosophical, and theoretical boundaries between the two realms.

Russell J. Donnelly, called "the sage of low-temperature physics" by Microgravity News, was this year's winner of the Vollum Award for Distinguished Accomplishment in Science and Technology. Donnelly is professor of physics and director of the cryogenic helium turbulence laboratory at the University of Oregon; he recently received a $5 million grant from the National Science Foundation for the development of a "cryostat," an experimental device that will tell scientists new things about turbulence and convection--and could lead to safer airplanes and improved automobile gasoline mileage.

Donnelly, in his modest speech of thanks, paid tribute to Howard Vollum's success in making high-quality oscilloscopes and the "profound influence" of electronic instrument makers on the development of physics.

The Vollum Award was created in 1975 as a tribute to the late C. Howard Vollum, a 1936 Reed graduate and lifelong friend of the college. It is intended to recognize and celebrate each year the exceptional achievement of a member of the scientific and technical community of the Northwest. Past winners include Adele Goldberg in 1995, Steve Jobs '76 in 1991, Harold Lonsdale in 1988, Bill Gates in 1984, and M. Lowell Edwards and Albert Starr in 1981.

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