Russell D. Young obtained his B.S. degree in physics from the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in 1953 and his Ph.D. degree in physics from Pennsylvania State University in 1959. He remained at Penn State in the laboratory of Professor Erwin Mueller for his postdoctoral research, which was marked by several outstanding achievements. Among these were the development of a high resolution field emission energy analyzer and the first measurement of the total energy distribution of field emitted electrons, as well as contributions to the development of the low temperature field ion microscope. He came to the National Bureau of Standards in 1961. His development of the Topografiner was an outgrowth of his continued study of surfaces at NBS. After the termination of this project in 1971, he remained at NBS in both a technical and an administrative role until his retirement in 1981. Since then he has actively pursued his interests as an inventor, as a private consultant to industry and government (including NIST), and as a grandfather and a sailor.
Dr. Young's achievements have been recognized in several awards. In 1974, he was the first recipient of the Edward U. Condon Award, conferred by NBS in recognition of outstanding scientific writing. He received the U.S. Department of Commerce Silver Medal in 1979, a Presidential Citation in 1986, and the Scientific Achievement Award of the Washington Academy of Sciences in 1987. In 1992, the American Vacuum Society recognized his invention of the Topografiner by presenting him with the Gaede-Langmuir Award.