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John F. Ackerman -- 1996 Outstanding Alumnus
Bachelor of Science - 1974 - Chemistry
A few months after UW chemistry professor Smith Holt had a chat with a high school student about undergraduate research, he was surprised to find the young man, now a freshman, appear in his laboratory ready to work. He decided to give John F. Ackerman a try. He never regretted it.
"He had an enormous capacity for learning," Holt writes. "He became a virtually independent researcher." He formulated questions, designed experiments, and drafted journal papers, which Holt co-wrote with him.
After earning his bachelor's in 1974, Ackerman extended his intelligence and enthusiasm to graduate school: He acquired a Ph.D. from Brown University in two-and-a-half years.
After a postdoc in France and work with DuPont Central Research and Development, he joined the Corporate Research and Development Division of General Electric Company where he is a leading solid-state chemist and has led the research and development efforts on a variety of products.
Two of the most important retail products he has worked on are high-efficiency incandescent filaments and efficient no-mercury fluorescent lamps.