E. Ward Plummer is an American physicist. His main contributions are in surface physics of metals. Plummer is a Professor of Physics at Louisiana State University.
Plummer received a Bachelor of Arts degree from Lewis and Clark College in 1962 and completed his Ph.D. degree in physics at Cornell University in 1967, working with Prof. Thor Rhodin. His thesis work was on atomic binding of 5-d transition-metal atoms using Field ion microscope (FIM).
Plummer accepted a National Research Council Postdoctoral Fellowship at the National Bureau of Standards [now called The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST)] in the fall of 1967 working with Russ Young, and he stayed as a staff scientist until the fall of 1973. His work included field electron emission and photoemission studies of surfaces. NIST selected his 1969 paper "Resonance Tunneling of Field-Emitted Electrons Through Adsorbates on Metal Surfaces", co-authored with J. W. Gadzuk and R. D. Young, for inclusion in the agency's centennial collection of its top 100 articles of the 20th century. This paper reported the first-ever single electron spectroscopy work in which electronic energy levels of atoms at the surface of a metal were observed.
In 1973, Plummer accepted a position in the Physics Department at the University of Pennsylvania where his work mainly focused on angle-resolved photoemission, momentum-resolved inelastic electron scattering and nonlinear optical response from surfaces. In 1988, he was appointed the William Smith Professor of Physics and in 1990 became the director of the NSF-funded Materials Research Laboratory (Laboratory for Research on Structure of Matter).
In January 1993, Plummer moved to his present joint position at The University of Tennessee, Knoxville, and Oak Ridge National Laboratory. His research interests have shifted to the study on an atomic scale of phase transitions in reduced dimensionality and surfaces of highly correlated electron systems such as transition-metal oxides. His primary research tool has been variable-temperature scanning tunneling microscopy. In 2000, Plummer became the Director of the Tennessee Advanced Materials Laboratory, a state-funded Center of Excellence.
Plummer has served on many national and international committees both to review existing scientific programs and to identify future directions for science and technology. Recent examples include: Chair of DOE-sponsored Workshop on "Soft X-Ray Science in the Next Millennium: The Future of Photon-In/Photon-Out Experiments, Pikeville, Tennessee, March 15–18, 2000, and Chair of DOE-BESAC (Basic Energy Sciences Advisory Committee) subpanel for the evaluation of the Intense Pulsed Neutron Source (IPNS) at Argonne National Laboratory and the Los Alamos Neutron Science Center (LANSCE) Manuel Lujan Jr. Neutron Scattering Center. He also recently became a member of the DOE-Basic Energy Sciences Advisory Committee, 2001–2004.
He is author of more than 300 refereed papers and is included in the list of the 1,000 Most Cited Physicists, a list compiled by the Institute for Scientific Information which is based on papers published between 1981 and 1997. But what Plummer is proudest of in his long and distinguished career is the mentoring of promising young scientists. To date, this includes advising or co-advising Ph.D. theses of 40 graduate students, hosting ~25 postdoctoral fellows, and assisting many young scientists in advancing their careers.
Ward Plummer was a student of Thor Rhodin...