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Burton H. Muller -- 1999 -- Outstanding Former Faculty
Physics and Astronomy Department
Burton H. Muller put his considerable talents and energies toward so many varied efforts that it’s difficult to summarize his accomplishments. Many former students remember their physics professor’s high academic and ethical standards in the classroom and lab as well as his emphasis on hands-on work and self-discovery. He designed and taught semester-long seminars for honors students on topics such as "Nuclear Energy, Blessing or Curse?" He campaigned for the improvement and expansion of the physics graduate program, and his influence led to the Ph.D. program, expanded graduate program and the science complex. Muller spearheaded the overhaul of the Wyoming State Pension Plan after seeing many faculty retire in virtual poverty despite a lifetime of service to UW. The changes in the plan benefited faculty, staff and Wyoming state employees. Then-Governor Ed Herschler appointed Muller to the Wyoming Retirement Board in 1979, and he chaired the organization from 1987 to 1990. Muller joined the Physics Department in 1953 after spending a year at S.A.M. Labs as a research assistant on the Manhattan Project. He earned his Ph.D. from the University of Illinois in 1954. He served as a National Science Foundation (NSF) faculty fellow at the University of British Columbia and the University of Nottingham and as a visiting professor at the University of Kent. In 1981, the American Physical Society selected Muller as a Congressional Fellow, and he spent a year advising Congress on scientific matters and helping shape defense policy. He retired in 1989.