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James E. Leiss

Headshot of James Leiss


James E. Leiss received his B.S. in physics from Case Institute of Technology in 1946; his M.S. in physics from the University of Illinois in 1951; and his Ph.D. from the University of Illinois in 1954. For his thesis, he explored photomeson production, in which high-energy electromagnetic radiation aimed at atomic nuclei can create quark-antiquark pairs known as mesons; and bremsstrahlung cross section analysis, which looks at the electromagnetic radiation produced by decelerating charged particles. He studied the design and operation of electron accelerators at the University of Paris, November 1959-July 1960. Leiss was hired to work in the National Bureau of Standards (NBS, now the National Institute of Standards and Technology, NIST) High Energy Radiation Physics Section in 1954. He was promoted to chief of the Accelerator Branch in 1966 and chief of the Linac Radiation Division in 1968. Leiss was named director of the NBS Center for Radiation Research, where he served from 1970-78. He left NBS to become associate director of the Department of Energy Office of High Energy and Nuclear Physics, where he served from 1978-86. 

Notable honors and awards: 

  • Gold Medal, U.S. Department of Commerce, 1966

Other appointments:

  • Chairman, American Physical Society Division of Physics of Beams, 1985

Research interests: management of operations and research program on the NBS high energy accelerators including the synchrotron and the linac; studies of elastic and inelastic scattering of electrons; design of experimental equipment for use with the linear accelerator

Created July 29, 2019, Updated September 20, 2019