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Well-known spectroscopist and 1979 OSA President F. Dudley Williams, was a native of Covington, Georgia, attended Oxford College, Emory University and received an A.B., M.A., and Ph.D. from the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. He was an instructor at the University of Florida until 1941 when he went to work for the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Radiation Laboratory.
During World War II Williams worked on the Manhattan Project and was part of the on-site team for the first test of the weapon at Los Alamos, N.M. His responsibilities involved measuring thermal radiation during the July 1945 test.
After the war Williams took a teaching post at Ohio State University (OSU). During his 17 years at OSU Williams received a Guggenheim Fellowship and a National Science Foundation Fellowship. Williams left OSU and spent a year as physics department chairman at North Carolina State University. He then was appointed Regents Professor of Physics at Kansas State University. During his 18 years at KSU Williams conducted research on infrared spectroscopy. He also served as the primary lecturer in Engineering Physics during his tenure at KSU.
Williams’ interest in teaching led him to write two textbooks for calculus-based physics. With George Shortley, Williams wroteElements of Physics and he later teamed with KSU Professor John Spangler to write Physics for Science and Engineering.
He was a fellow of American Physical Society and associate editor of JOSA. Emory University awarded Williams its Alumni Medal for distinguished achievement. He was also named a Distinguished Alumni at Lincoln Memorial University where he attended high school.
Williams died in 2005.