Prize Recipient

James E. Lawler
University of Wisconsin–Madison


"For the elucidation of cathode fall phenomena in glow discharges through the measurement and analysis of spatial variations in the electric field, and for the development of new methods to determine atomic lifetimes and transition probabilities."


Professor James E. (Jim) Lawler received his B.S. degree in 1973 from the University of Missouri-Rolla and M.S. degree in 1974 and Ph.D. degree in 1978 from the University of Wisconsin-Madison (UW).  He was a postdoc at Stanford University in the joint group of Professors Art Schawlow and Ted Hänsch for 2 years before returning to UW as faculty member in 1980.   Jim Lawler served as UW Physics Department Chair from 1994 to 1997, won the International Penning Award in 1995, and was appointed the Arthur and Aurelia Schawlow Professor of Physics in 1999.  He is a Fellow of the American Physical Society, the Optical Society of America, and the Institute of Physics.  His group's research in plasma spectroscopy has continued through the first decade(s) of the 21st Century.  Twenty students earned Ph.D. degrees in the group, and ten additional students earned M.S. degrees.   Jim Lawler has collaborated extensively with UW researchers and with researchers from other institutions.    He continues a three decade plus effort to make spectroscopy more quantitative for applied research in areas such as lighting and for basic research in astrophysics.

Selection Committee:

J.Norman Bardsley, M. Raymond Flannery, Richard A. Gottscho, Chun C. Lin, Arthur V. Phelps