Wolfgang Jung

Wolfgang Jung1991 Marsh O'Neill Award Winner

Wolfgang Jung, who for 26 years has fabricated equipment for faculty and taught fabrication to numerous students in the physics department machine shop, has been given the 1991 Marsh O'Neill Award for his support of research at Stanford.

Jung was born and reared in Nagold, in the Black Forest region of Germany. He completed a 3-1/2 year apprenticeship as a modelmaker and precision mechanic, then worked at several companies in Germany.

In 1956, Jung emigrated to Canada. Initially, he took the only job he could find -- lumberjack. Later, he landed a position as an instrument technician, and in 1961 he joined the University of Alberta as a mechanician.

With his wife, Lore, Jung moved to California in 1965 and joined Stanford's physics department. In 1969, he was named working supervisor of the Varian Physics Machine Shop, a position he still holds.

Jung's machine shop designs and constructs laboratory and research apparatus for any campus department. In addition to its main client, physics, the shop fabricates equipment for applied physics, chemistry, biology, the independent laboratories and the School of Engineering. A recent example is an experimental plexiglass device Jung's group made for pediatrics that measures water loss from the skin of babies. The original version, which measured 5 by 4 centimeters, had to be reduced by one-fifth.

In his nomination, one faculty member labeled Jung "a treasure" who makes it possible to "do great research at Stanford." Faculty, staff, students and postdoctoral fellows "have benefited enormously over the years from his expertise, friendly advice and guidance in the design and fabrication of their research equipment," the faculty member wrote. "This has contributed much to Stanford's stellar position in these areas. The work his shop puts out is second to none."

Another physicist wrote that Jung "thoroughly understands that creative research is not cut and dried, to be carried out with fixed blueprints and preset plans." The shop foreman participates in design and planning of instrumentation for experiments and is willing to make improvements during construction, he said.

While maintaining high professional standards, Jung also has "insisted on a congenial environment which permits excellent interactions between the research students -- both graduate and undergraduate -- and his staff machinists," said another faculty member.

Jung was cited repeatedly for running a course on machining that is required for doctoral students in experimental physics and is taken by many other graduates and undergraduates, including some from other departments. It is a prerequisite for those who want to use the student machine shop. The course provides "an essential part of an experimental physicist's knowledge," a faculty admirer wrote. Jung "has done a superb job running this course and has made a major contribution to the education of several generations of Stanford's graduates."

Jung also was acknowledged for his cooperation with an introductory physics lab course that introduces students to concepts of instrumentation design and construction. "Without the Varian Shop and Wolfgang's cooperation, this very valuable and popular course could not function in its present form," a professor wrote. He said that Jung uses his background in specialized machining to routinely provide suggestions that are crucial to the success of graduate students.

Jung was praised by a longtime physics professor for being "equally accessible to students, research staff and faculty, and by his administrative and professional skills he has furthered the research efforts of many programs."

One faculty member commended Jung for his work training junior mechanicians, and another praised his leadership in choosing excellent personnel and overseeing high-quality workmanship and high productivity. The machine shop is competitive with outside shops, which is unusual, wrote one professor.

Another said Jung was responsible for pulling the shop from "the rustbelt state it was in in the late 1960s to the space age, as it is today, with the introduction of numerical controlled machinery and the steady upgrading of the facilities and equipment, all done with a canny eye on the all-too-limited budget".

From the Stanford News, December 3, 1991

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