Albert W. Overhauser

Albert OverhauserAlbert W. Overhauser has distinguished himself as an internationally reputed scientist who has made many original and profound contributions to physics across a wide range of fields.

In particular, his discovery of the phenomenon of dynamic nuclear polarization, known as the Overhauser effect, has revolutionized the field of nuclear magnetic resonance and has led to far reaching applications in biology and medicine.

Overhauser served Purdue University with distinction as the Stuart Distinguished Professor of Physics from 1974 to 2004. He began his formal research and teaching career at the University of Illinois in 1951. From 1953 to 1958, he carried on his work at Cornell University. And for the majority of his career, he served in various research capacities at Ford Motor Company. In 1973, he departed Ford for Purdue to become Professor of Physics, leaving behind the post of Director of the Physical Sciences Laboratory. Throughout this diversified career, Overhauser has maintained an exceptionally high level of world class productivity.
Albert W. Overhauser

Born in San Diego and raised in San Francisco, Calif., he earned his bachelor’s degree, Magna Cum Laude, in Physics and in Mathematics from the University of California, Berkeley in 1948. In 1951, he also received his doctorate there.

The world has honored Overhauser with membership in the National Academy of Science and fellowship in the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. He was also awarded the National Medal of Science. Other significant honors include an Honorary Doctor of Science from the University of Chicago, an Honorary Doctor of Laws from Simon Fraser University, and the Oliver E. Buckley Solid State Physics Prize.

Overhauser has held membership and posts with numerous distinguished professional societies, boards and committees. As a brilliant teacher and mentor, many of his graduate students and associates have had distinguished careers of their own. Purdue took pride in recognizing Overhauser’s scientific achievements by awarding him the Sigma Xi Faculty Research Prize and the Herbert Newby McCoy Research Award in 1977 and 1978, respectively. Overhauser is currently Distinguished Professor Emeritus at Purdue.

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