The title “Doctor honoris Causa” is the most eminent distinction in the academic world. It is rich in meaning and symbolism and carries with it the history and identity of our university.
Richard W. LEE was educated at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, MD and received his Ph.D. in Physics from the University of Florida, Gainesville, FL in 1970. From 1970 to 1973, he was a post-doctoral research associate in the Spectroscopy Group of the Blackett Laboratory at Imperial College London.
In 1974, he was appointed Senior Lecturer in the Spectroscopy Group of the Blackett Laboratory at Imperial College London, where he was responsible for the training of undergraduate and graduate students in plasma spectroscopy and for research activities on laser plasma experiments at the Rutherford Central Laser Facility and the Z-pinch machine at Imperial College, and on laser-induced fluorescence experiments. In 1982 he was appointed Director of Research at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL). During this time he developed techniques, now in worldwide use, for analyzing the radiative properties of hot and dense laboratory plasmas. At the LLNL, he became a reference in applied physics experiments on high-energy lasers and continued to develop theoretical models for plasma spectroscopy. He was Associate Editor of the Journal of Quantitative Spectroscopy and Radiative Transfer and then creator and editor of the journal “High Energy Density Physics” (1st edition in December 2005). Associate Director of the Institute for Material Dynamics at Extreme Conditions, University of California, Berkeley – CA, he led the development of research in high energy density matter physics on 4th generation free electron X-ray lasers (X-FEL: LCLS, FLASH/ XFEL) from 1989 to 2015 in Europe and the United States. He is the author of several research planning documents on High Energy Density Sciences (HEDS). He originated several fast and precise calculation codes (including one developed in collaboration with the PIIM laboratory) intended to be distributed and used, at different levels of sophistication, by experimenters and theorists for the interpretation of plasma spectroscopy experiments. He is the author of about 400 peer-reviewed scientific papers that have received more than 10000 citations and has been twice distinguished by the scientific community for the excellence and exceptional impact of his work (Fellow of the American Physical Society in 1997 and John Dawson Award in 2015).