Ednor M. Rowe

Distinguished Alumnus 1990

  • 1957 M.S. Physics

Ed [Rowe]'s association with Purdue dates back to the mid-50's when he attended Purdue (M.S. Physics, 1957) and worked on the synchrotron project in the Department of Physics. It was this work that initiated his interest in accelerator-machine physics and provided a foundation for his future work with synchrotron radiation at the Synchrotron Radiation Center.

After graduating from Purdue, Ed pursued his interest in accelerator physics, and became an active member of the Purdue contingent to the Midwestern Universities Research Association (MURA). Between 1956 and 1967, he was associated with the experimental accelerator working model group of MURA. This experience further laid the foundation for the essential storage ring and colliding beam concepts that would be of prime importance in the field of synchrotron radiation research.

In 1967, Ed began his legendary association with the Physical Sciences Laboratory at the University of Wisconsin. This proved to be the start of a remarkably productive endeavor which began in 1969 with the successful commissioning of the small 240 Mev electron storage ring Tantalus. This electron storage ring was the seed of the SRC and Ed Rowe became the first Director of SRC from 1970 through 1983. Tantalus was the first storage ring to be used exclusively for synchrotron radiation research and a tremendous diversity of research opportunities in materials and surface science were opened because of its operation. Since this was one of the first synchrotron sources, beam time on Tantalus was eagerly sought after by experimenters from all over the world. It seems clear that the initial operation of Tantalus for synchrotron radiaion research was the key to the growth of synchrotron radiation facilities in the 1970's and 1980's. The model of operation developed for Tantalus in the early 70's set a standard still in effect around the world for such facilities. Ed Rowe's efforts in developing the ring, in maintaining and building the laboratory, and in creating the right kind of environment for discovery were of considerable national as well as regional importance. For eighteen years, until it was decommissioned in 1987, Tantalus had been one of the most productive sources of synchrotron radiation in the world. Its unmatched reliability was a fundamental cause of Tantalus' productivity and Ed Rowe deserves full credit for this achievement.

As Director of SRC, Ed Rowe played a crucial role in the establishment of synchrotron radiation as one of the most important components of modern science. In particular, Tantalus was the model and the precursor for the second and third generation sources of synchrotron radiation. It is fair to say that without Tantalus, projects of the caliber of the LBL Advanced Light Source, the Argonne Advanced Photon Source, the European Synchrotron Radiation Facility and the Trieste low-emittance ring would have been impossible. The expansion of synchrotron radiation beyond the initial storage ring in Wisconsin would have been greatly delayed without Ed Rowe's demonstrated expertise and enthusiasm.

Subsequent to the successful operation of Tantalus. Ed has played a central role in the design and development of the Aladdin Storage Ring at SRC. In 1983, the technical challenges of the new project required full-time attention. He left the SRC Directorship and led the accelerator group to the successful commissioning of Aladdin in 1986 after a long and difficult struggle. Ed's perseverance in fighting and winning this battle is further evidence that he should be recognized by Purdue for his achievements in the synchrotron radiation field. The commis sioning of Aladdin is very significant and includes a number of technical advancements such as a low energy injection scheme using a microtron injector. This injection scheme both reduces the construction cost of the storage ring as well as the space required for such a facility and represents an important step forward in permitting synchrotron radiation sources to be used for broader types of applications such as x-ray lithography. At present, this machine is providing synchrotron radiation scientists throughout the U.S. with a high intensity tunable light source that permits experiments covering the soft ultra-violet to the hard x-ray regime of the electromagnetic spectrum.

Excerpted from the nomination letter by Professors O. E. Johnson, F. J. Loeffler, T. R. Palfrey, and R. Reifenberger, October 9, 1989

Last Updated: Apr 29, 2016 3:38 PM