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Professor James Wiss

May 2, 1950 -
July 12, 2020

James E. Wiss, 70, of Urbana, IL, passed away on July 12, 2020 at home.

 

Jim, as he was known by friends and family, was born in Chicago, Illinois,  to John F. Wiss and Joyce C. Wiss on May 2, 1950.  He went to school in Glenview, Illinois.  Jim received his Ph.D. in Physics from the University of Califo…read more

James E. Wiss, 70, of Urbana, IL, passed away on July 12, 2020 at home.

 

Jim, as he was known by friends and family, was born in Chicago, Illinois,  to John F. Wiss and Joyce C. Wiss on May 2, 1950.  He went to school in Glenview, Illinois.  Jim received his Ph.D. in Physics from the University of California, Berkeley, in 1977, after receiving a B.S. in physics from the University of Illinois in 1971. He did postdoctoral work at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign (UIUC) before he joined the physics faculty in 1979 as a visiting research assistant professor, and rose rapidly through the ranks, becoming a full professor in 1988.

 

He is best known for his research in the discipline of particle physics. In 1982 he received a Sloan Research Fellowship for early-career researchers. In 2000 he was named an American Physical Society fellow “for his initial measurements of charmed particles and his continuing leadership in the study of heavy quarks.” Much of his experimental work was done in association with Fermilab National Accelerator Laboratory in Batavia, Illinois.

 

Professor Wiss was also a devoted teacher. At UIUC he received recognition on the List of Excellent Teachers (Spring & Fall 2008, Spring 2009, Fall 2010, Spring 2013, Fall 2013, Fall 2014).  He received the Arnold T. Nordsieck Physics Award for Teaching Excellence for the 2011/12 academic year, cited for his “patient, insightful, and inspiring physics teaching, one problem at a time, that encourages undergraduate students to take their understanding to a new level.”

 

He especially enjoyed collaborating with physicists from around the world, which sparked an interest in travel. He was a lifelong jazz fan and movie buff and had a strong interest in golf.. He will be remembered for his unique sense of humor and passionate dedication to his work.

 

Jim is survived by his brothers Jeff and John. Memorials may be given to The University of Illinois Physics Visionary Scholarship fund which makes its core undergraduate program more affordable for students and their families and increases the number of students from groups historically underrepresented in physics, including women. Jim was passionate about diversity in physics.  You may give online by going to https://physics.illinois.edu/make-a-gift/ and scrolling down to the second item.  Or you can donate by mail to

 

University of Illinois Foundation

P.O. Box 734500

Chicago, IL 60673

 

Check memo line: Physics Visionary Scholarship (#774697)

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