Arthur Walker II

Announcement on April 30, 2001:

It is with deep sorrow that we report the unexpected passing of Art Walker at his home yesterday. Just one month after Art presided over his favorite gathering, the National Conference of Black Physics Students, a sudden turn for the worse has robbed us of the brilliance, wisdom and caring of a dear friend and colleague.

At the festschrift for Art last Fall, we celebrated his innovative research and inspiring teaching in Physics, particularly in Solar Physics, as well as his exemplary contributions to the Black community at Stanford. Happily for us at Stanford and for us as physicists, Art has transmitted his love of physics to generations of Stanford undergraduates through his introductory course on Observational and Laboratory Astronomy, and to dozens of Ph.D. students in Physics and Engineering. And, further afield, Art's scientific wisdom has often been placed in the service of this country. We are grateful for the many contributions of this gentleman-scholar.

Art was also a dedicated father and husband. We hope that his wife, Victoria Walker, their children, Heather and Nigel, and the rest of Art's extended family will be comforted by the knowledge that his distinguished service has created a permanent legacy at Stanford University and within the discipline of Physics.

(Prepared by Professor Ewart Thomas)


Professor Walker's research interests are focused on the development of innovative space-borne instruments for the study of high temperature astrophysical plasmas, and the sse of X-ray far ultraviolet, and extreme ultraviolet techniques to study other astrophysical phenomena such as the elemental abundances in the interstellar medium. 

Among the techniques used are high resolution X-ray spectroscopy using Bragg crystals and diffraction gratings, and high resolution X-ray imaging using both grazing incidence and normal incidence X-ray optical systems. 

From 1965-1975, Professor Walker and his former collaborator, H.R. Rugge carried out several of the pioneering studies of the X-ray spectrum of the solar corona. 

In the early 1990's, a group lead by Professor Walker, which included T.W. Barbee and R.B. Hoover, pioneered the application of normal incidence X-ray optical systems to astronomical observations. 

Professor Walker's group's primary current interest is the study of the physical processes underlying the structure and dynamical behavior of the solar corona and chromosphere, using observations from a variety of spacecraft, including the NASA/ESA SOHO Observatory and the Walker group's Multispectral Solar Telescope Array. 

In preparation for the launch of NASA's AXAF X-ray Observatory in 1998, Professor Walker's group will be utilizing both space observations and ground-based observations (from the Hobby Eberly Telescope) to study phenomena associated with stellar chromospheres and coronae, supernova remnents, the interstellar medium, and clusters of galaxies. 

Professor Walker's group currently is establishing a Stanford AXAF Science Center, which will provide access to AXAF observations for astronomers in the western United States. 

Professor Walker's group is also involved in the application of X-ray technology to disciplines other than astronomy. Examples include X-ray imaging and X-ray microscopy of biological materials. 

These activities, as well as the group's astrophysical research, make extensive use of the Stanford Synchrotron Radiation Laboratory. 

  • Observational Astrophysics

Specialty: Solar Physics, X-Ray Astronomy 

  • Professor of Physics and Applied Physics 
  • Member, Hansen Experimental Physics Laboratory 
  • Member, Center for Space Science and Astrophysics 
  • B.S., 1957, Case Institute of Technology 
  • M.S., University of Illinois, 1958 
  • Ph.D., University of Illinois, 1962 
  • Air Force Weapons Laboratory, 1962-65 
  • Aerospace Corporation, 1965-73 
  • Director of the Space Astronomy program, 1971-73 
  • Professor 1974-present 
  • Associate Dean of Graduate Studies, Stanford, 1976-80