ASSD - Meet an ASSD Member

Advancing the Science and Technology of Materials, Interfaces, and Processing

Peter Sherwood

Peter SherwoodI am an Emeritus faculty member at two universities, a University Distinguished Professor Emeritus of Chemistry at Kansas State University and a Regents Professor Emeritus of Physics and Dean Emeritus at Oklahoma State University.  I retired at the end of July 2012 after 42 years as a faculty member at four universities, 14 years in the UK and 28 years in the USA.  I now live north of Bellingham, Washington – a beautiful area surrounded by mountains, ocean and islands.  After retirement I moved my equipment to the Pacific Northwest, with instruments at the University of Washington and at Western Washington University.   I am an Affiliate Professor of Chemistry at the University of Washington and a faculty member at Western Washington University.  I go into the laboratory from time to time working with faculty and students as well as other research activities including working on updating my data analysis software which has been developed over the past 40 years.  My research program has been concerned with surface analysis (especially X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy) of materials with particular interest in electrode surfaces, corrosion systems, and carbon fiber and composite surfaces.  The work is an example of how basic chemistry can be applied to analyze and understand important practical problems, many of which have a direct relevance to industry.
I was born in England and received my first degree at St. Andrews University in Scotland, and my other degrees at the University of Cambridge where I had my first faculty position.  I left Cambridge when I was given the chance to start a surface science laboratory at Newcastle University in 1972.  I moved my equipment and my research group to Kansas State University in 1985 moving much of it in 135 tea chests (yes the same size as those involved in the Boston Tea Party).  I moved to Oklahoma State University in 2004 again moving my equipment and research group.  As Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences I had less time to be in the laboratory, but continued my research with my last Ph.D. student finishing in June 2012.  Moving my equipment to the Pacific Northwest was quite an adventure, 2300 miles in an air ride 53 foot semi.
My research was funded by various entities including the U.K. Science Research Council, the U.K. Ministry of Defense and in the U.S. by the National Science Foundation, the Air Force Office of Scientific Research, and NASA as well as by a number of industries.  
During my time as a faculty member I had a significant amount of administration.  I was Secretary of the Governing Body at Downing College, Cambridge, and I was Chair of the Board of Studies in Physical Sciences for the Cambridge Institute of Education.  I was a Program Officer at the National Science Foundation (1990-1991), Head of the Chemistry Department at Kansas State University as well as my 8 years as Dean of Arts and Sciences at Oklahoma State University.  I was also the Principal Investigator on large multi-investigator EPSCoR grants from the National Science Foundation and NASA.  I also served as the founding State of Kansas DEPSCoR Director.  A very enjoyable activity was serving on the Rhodes Scholarship Selection Committee for the State of Kansas for 6 years – some very impressive students came to these interviews.
I have been very much involved in Society activities.  I was Secretary of my local section of the Royal Society of Chemistry, and I was one of the early members of the U.K. ESCA Users Group until I left the UK in 1985.  I became involved in the Applied Surface Science Division of AVS in 1990, serving on the Executive Committee since 1993, serving as Vice Chair in 1997, Chair in 1998 and Program Chair in 1999.  I started as Treasurer in 1999 and have continued in that role since then.  I also served on the AVS Board of Directors from 1999-2000 and served as the Program Chair for Surface Analysis 2002.
Retirement turns out to be quite busy.  In addition to my research activities, I have a number of activities in the community including serving as President and Treasurer of my Homeowners Association.  My wife Norma and I enjoy travel both in the beautiful Pacific Northwest as well as abroad. 
It has been a pleasure and honor to serve ASSD for many years and a delight to see how it continues to thrive.