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Paul Coleman

June 4, 1918 -
May 5, 2016

Paul D. Coleman, went to be with his Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, on May 5, 2016.

 

Dr. Coleman was born June 4, 1918 in Stoystown, PA the only child of Clyde Rhoads and Catherine Livengood Coleman.  He graduated from Somerset High School in 1936 and married Betty Louise Carter on June 20, 1942.  They ha…read more

Paul D. Coleman, went to be with his Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, on May 5, 2016.

 

Dr. Coleman was born June 4, 1918 in Stoystown, PA the only child of Clyde Rhoads and Catherine Livengood Coleman.  He graduated from Somerset High School in 1936 and married Betty Louise Carter on June 20, 1942.  They had two children, Susan and Peter.

 

He received a B.S. degree (physics) from Susquehanna University in 1940 under Prof. Paul J. Ovrebo.  In 1980 Susquehanna awarded him a distinguished alumni award, and in 1984 an honorary Dc.S degree.  In 2011 Susquehanna named their new physics center after him.  He received an M.S. in physics under Prof. David Rank at Penn State University in 1942.

 

In 1942 the U.S. Air Force at Wright Field, Dayton, Ohio recruited him to do research on electronic countermeasures and radar.  For this work he received a USAF civilian meritorious award from General T. Spaatz in 1946.  He then transferred to the Air Force Cambridge Massachusetts Research Center.  This arrangement permitted him to pursue research on millimeter wave radiation of interest to the Air Force under Profs. John C. Slater and Julius Stratton.  He received his PhD in physics from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1951.  As part of his theses he conceived the “magnetic wiggler”, a key component of the free electron laser, one of the world’s most powerful lasers.

 

Immediately following his graduation he accepted in June 1951 an associate professorship in the college of Engineering at the University of Illinois (Urbana) where he established the Electro-Physics Laboratory to conduct research on physical and quantum electronics.  He retired in 1988 as Emeritus Professor, but continued to pursue sponsored research for another ten years.

 

Prof. Coleman’s lifelong interest has been on the generation and detection of coherent electromagnetic radiation across the spectrum, in particular the millimeter and terahertz range.  He and his students have made many notable scientific achievements, e.g. the first coherent generation of Cerenkov radiation,  the demonstration of the world’s second chemical laser, the world’s fastest detector, the metal-oxide-metal detector, the resonant tunneling detector, many molecular lasers, first demonstration of non-linear optics in the far infra red, first demonstration of real space transfer, first in the US to achieve an electron beam pumped semiconductor laser, and a Landau level laser.  For his continuous achievements over many years, Prof. Coleman has received Fellow awards from the IEEE, APS, OSA and AAAS.  In 1984, he received the IEEE Centennial Medal.  He is a Member of Who’s Who, sigma Xi, Eta Kappa Nu, and Tau Beta Pi.  Prof. Coleman was especially proud of his nearly 50 PhD and 75 M.S. students.  Thirteen of his students have received a Distinguished Alumni award from his department.  He has received the IEEE-MTT Distinguished Educator Medal.

 

Prof. Coleman was a past president of the Champaign Lions Club, a past board member of the Urbana Golf and Country Club, and a member of the U of I “Sleeter Bull Ring”.

He loved playing golf, especially with his U of I Industrial Affiliates team which included Prof. John Bardeen, duplicate bridge, chess and checkers, gardening and Big Ten sports.  He was active, along with his son Peter, in Bible Study Fellowship.

 

Memorial contributions can be made to Bible Study Fellowship, 19001 Huebner Road, San Antonio, Texas 78258-4019.

 

Private services will be held in Somerset, PA.  Morgan Memorial Home, Savoy is handling arrangements.

 

Condolences may be sent to P.O. Box 746, Savoy, Illinois 61874-0746.

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