Francis Wheeler Loomis


To Francis Wheeler Loomis for his outstanding achievements in teaching and research in physics and as an inspiring leader and administrator in science and engineering.

Professor Emeritus of Physics and Head of the Department of Physics, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 1929-57

  • AB, Harvard University, 1910
  • AM, Harvard University, 1913
  • PhD, Harvard University, 1917

Early in his career Dr. Loomis was recognized as a leading contributor to research in molecular spectra and their interpretation in terms of the then new quantum mechanics. He came to the University of Illinois as head of the Department of Physics in 1929. His teaching ranged from imaginative lecturing in the introductory courses to the supervision of graduate students in research, one of whom went on to win a Nobel Prize. He devoted his exceptional administrative talents to making the department one of distinction in terms of its faculty and its quality of education. During World War II and thereafter he was an administrative leader in the development of radar and its application at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Radiation Laboratory (1941-46) and Lincoln Laboratory (1951-52) and at the Control Systems Laboratory (presently the Coordinated Science Laboratory) at Illinois (1952-59). He was chairman of committees serving several federal agencies. He continued as head of the department until 1957 and as director of the Coordinated Science Laboratory until 1959.

Dr. Loomis served as president of the American Physical Society in 1949. Among his other honors are membership in the National Academy of Sciences and a Guggenheim Fellowship.

Current as of 1973.