William C. Martin

In Memoriam: William C. Martin

September 15, 2013

In Memoriam:  William C. Martin, OSA Fellow Emeritus, 1929-2013

William C. MartinWilliam Clyde Martin, an OSA Fellow Emeritus known for his work in the fields of atomic spectroscopy and atomic energy, died 15 September 2013 in Washington, DC. He was 83.

Martin worked for more than 40 years as a scientist at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), where he was an expert in the spectra and energy levels of rare-earth elements and led the atomic spectroscopy program.  He joined NIST (then the National Bureau of Standards) in 1957 and served as a Physicist (1957-1962), chief of the Spectroscopy Section (1962-1978), director of the Atomic Energy Levels Data Center (1968-1998), and Group Leader-Atomic Spectroscopy (1978-1998) before formally retiring in 1998.  He continued his association with NIST, initially as a contractor and guest researcher, and then as a scientist emeritus, until shortly before his death.

Martin was a 1951 graduate of the University of Richmond (B.S. Physics). He went on to earn a master’s degree (1953) and a Ph.D. (1956) in Physics from Princeton University, where he also served as an instructor in the Physics Department before joining the National Bureau of Standards in 1957. 

During his career, Martin published over 65 papers in his field. He was elected an OSA Fellow in 1964, and he was also a Fellow of the American Physical Society (APS) and the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS).  He was an emeritus member of the American Astronomical Society, and he served in several volunteer positions for the International Astronomical Union.  Martin’s awards and honors include the Department of Commerce Silver and Gold Medals and NIST’s Allen V. Astin Measurement Science and Measurement Services Awards.  In 1983, Martin was awarded OSA’s William F. Meggers Award “for his outstanding contributions to the understanding of the spectra of complex atoms and ions.” 

In the 1970’s and 1980’s, Martin was an Associate Editor, Technical Editor and Feature Editor of the Journal of the Optical Society of America.

Martin’s wife, Dolores Moyano, whom he married in 1959, died in 2003.  He is survived by two sons, a sister and a granddaughter.

If you would like to make a memorial donation to an OSA Foundation fund or endowment in honor of William C. Martin, please visit www.osa.org/foundation/donate/.