A physicist credited with helping turn around an ill-fated U.S. semiconductor industry will return to his alma mater this week to speak about the career possibilities of an education in physics.
William Spencer, who earned his master's degree in mathematics and his doctorate in physics from Kansas State University, is to deliver the annual Ernest Fox Nichols Lecture at 3:30 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 11, in the Hemisphere Room of Hale Library. Admittance is free.
Spencer's talk is "Physics as a Basis for a Career: From K-State to the National Research Council." He is a member of the National Academy of Engineering and was co-chair of the committee that recently published "Condensed Matter and Materials Physics: The Science of the World Around Us."
Since 2000 Spencer has been chairman emeritus of Sematech, an international consortium of semiconductor manufacturers. From 1990 to 1997 he was the group's president, and during his tenure Sematech was said to be responsible for improving the fortunes of U.S. semiconductor firms.
Spencer began his career at Bell Laboratories before moving on to Sandia National Laboratories, where he developed silicon processing for the U.S. Department of Energy.
In 1986 he became a group vice president for Xerox. He supervised labs in the U.S. and abroad and established research centers in Europe. He joined Sematech in 1990.
As an educator, Spencer continues his role as a visiting professor at the School of Engineering and the Haas School of Business at the University of California, Berkeley. He also is a research professor of medicine at the University of New Mexico, Albuquerque.
He belongs to the National Academy of Engineering and is a fellow of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers.
Courtesy of K-State Media Relations