Wolf Prize Laureate in Physics 1985
Affiliation at the time of the award:
Stanford University, USA
“for their major contributions to the fundamental theory of solids, especially of the behavior of electrons in metals”.
These two great physicists have played parallel roles in the brief history of solid state physics. Each of them, in his own way, could be thought of as being the conscience of his field, as a central figure who has contributed by his personal work as well as by his strong influence and valuable suggestions to his colleagues.
Professor Conyers Herring has laid the foundations of band structure calculations of metals and semiconductors, culminating in the discovery of the Orthogonalized Plane Wave Method (O.P.W.). He was years ahead of his time in this contribution. A great deal of modern solid state physics as produced today stems from this original and early paper.
His influence on the development of solid state physics extends to a deep understanding of many facets such as surface physics, of thermionic emission, of transport phenomena in semiconductors and of collective excitations in solids such as spin waves.
He created the theoretical physics division at Bell Telephone Laboratory, which influenced the total research effort at this institution and brought about much of the most original research in condensed matter physics . He has been most influential in promoting international cooperation among scientists and through his character and his personal example, he has exemplified a somewhat unattainable ideal of how a research scholar in any field should operate.