David Shirley has had a close connection with our department – the Fachbereich Physik at the Freie Universität Berlinever since the very beginning of its 're-founding' in the early 1970's. This dates back to the time when several of the later members of our faculty spent part of their early creative years with the Shirley Group at UC Berkeley, including first Eckart Matthias from 1963-69 and later Günter Kaindl from 1969-72, both invited by the Miller Institute at UC Berkeley; and numerous others – see also the Welcome Address by Bobert Bittl.

This resulted in continuing scientific collaborations and exchanges between Berkeley and Berlin over the years right up through Dave's retirement in 1997 and beyond. It was thus only fitting that on July 4th, 2014, following Dave's 80th birthday in March of this year, a colloquium in his honor was organized at our department, followed by a scientific evening talk given by Dave at the historic Magnus-Haus of the German Physical Society in the center of Berlin, and an evening get-together in the beautiful garden there. The following pages commemorate those events and provide a summary in words and pictures, both as memories for those who could participate and as information for those who were not able to attend. Speaking for the organization of the event, we can affirm that "a good time was had by all".

Berlin, December 2014

William D. Brewer & Günter Kaindl

Background Information


David Shirley was born in New Hampshire in 1934. He studied chemistry at the University of Maine in Augusta. After taking his BS degree in 1955, he went to Berkeley and began doctoral work there in the Chemistry Dept. under W. F. Giauque, the inventor of adiabatic demagnetization and Nobel Prize winner for Chemistry, 1949.

In 1958, even before formally finishing his doctoral work (PhD 1959), Shirley took a position as research assistent at the UC Radiation Laboratory, and in 1960 also became assistent professor in the Chemistry Dept. at UC Berkeley. He set up a research group, initially for low-temperature nuclear orientation (NO), rapidly diversifying to other hyperfine techniques such as Mössbauer effect, perturbed angular correlations (PAC) und ESR. Following his doctorate in 1963 in Uppsala, Eckart Matthias, later professor at the FU Berlin, also joined the group.

In 1964, Shirley was promoted to associate professor. Around this time, he began work using photoelectron spectroscopy (PES), initially in cooperation with Jack Hollander at the Field-Free Lab and with graduate student Charles S. Fadley and postdoc Stig Hagström, who also came from Uppsala to Berkeley. The group worked in both fields during the 1960's, with many international guests and collaborators. David Shirley spent a sabbatical year in 1966-67 at the Clarendon Laboratory, Oxford, and in 1970 at the then I. Physikalisches Institut of the FU Berlin. From 1967, he was full professor at UC Berkeley.

In the 1970's, he took on several administrative positions, among others as Chairman of the Chemistry Department and Dean of the College of Chemistry at UC Berkeley, and in 1972 he was given the E.O. Lawrence Award. In 1980, he became the fourth Director of the Lawrence Berkeley Laboratory, now Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LBNL), and served in that position until 1989.

During his term as director, several national centers were established, including the Center for Advanced Materials (CAM), the Center for X-Ray Optics, the National Center for Electron Microscopy (NCEM) and finally the Advanced Light Source (ALS), a storage ring of the 3rd  generation, optimized as a source of XUV light (opened in 1993). In 1987, David Shirley was granted the first honorary doctorate conferred by the Physics Department (Fachbereich Physik) at the Freie Universität Berlin. He is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the National Academy of Sciences.

More than 80 doctoral students and 40 guest scientists carried out research in his group in Berkeley on Hyperfine Interactions and PES. Following his term as Director of LBNL, he spent a year in 1889-1990 as Alexander v. Humboldt Fellow at the Fachbereich Physik, Freie Universität Berlin.  From 1992 – 1997, he was Senior Vice President for Research and Dean of the Graduate School at the Pennsylvania State University.




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Last modified: 14.12.2014, WDB