Wednesday, May 5, 2010

A writer of seminal reviews: Conyers Herring

Physics Today has a nice obituary for Conyers Herring, written by Phil Anderson, Ted Geballe, and Walter Harrison. Herring founded the Theoretical Physics department at Bell Labs (and presumably hired a young Phil Anderson). The obituary testifies to Herring's basic contributions to band theory (orthogonalized plane wave theory) and magnetism (exchange interactions between itinerant electrons) and to his scientific leadership and mentoring.
Herring was particularly known for the critical review articles he wrote. It is worth reading this tribute from Eugene Garfield, founder of ISI.
Forty years ago, Physics Today published Herring's article, Distill or Drown: the need for reviews. I look forward to reading it.

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