William van Wijngaarden, Ph.D.
About The Member
William van Wijngaarden chaired the Faculty of Science and Engineering Council (2005-06) and York’s Senate (2010-13) at York University. He has been elected to several leadership positions in the International Union of Pure and Applied Physics (2002-08) and also held responsible positions in the American Physical Society and the Canadian Association of Physicists.
In 1999, Dr. van Wijngaarden led a successful application for a Network of Centres of Excellence serving as Program Leader of the Canadian Institute for Photonic Innovations (1999-01). CIPI comprised 65 researchers, 25 universities as well as over 40 company and research center participants. The researchers represented a variety of disciplines including biomedicine, chemistry, computer science, engineering and physics. Dr. van Wijngaarden was responsible for managing a budget of over $22 million. In 2001, he chaired the Steering Committee on General Physics, which successfully recommended new initiatives for funding to the NSERC Reallocations Committee. He has also served multiple terms as a member of the Appraisal Panel for the Ontario Council of Universities (2002-07) that approved over 300 graduate programs and served on the NSERC Physics Grant Selection Committee (2007-09).
Dr. van Wijngaarden began research at the University of Windsor studying the electron impact excitation of SO2. He graduated in 1982 with a BSc in Computer Science and a separate Honours BSc in Physics. He went to Princeton University and obtained a MSc in 1984 followed by a PhD in Physics in 1986.
After a year at Yale University as a research associate, Dr. van Wijngaarden joined the faculty at York University in 1988. In 2003, his research group laser cooled Rb atoms to create Canada’s first Bose Einstein Condensate. More recently, he measured the relative nuclear charge radius of 6,7Li with an uncertainty of less than 10-17 meter. He has also studied applied/interdisciplinary topics such as laser isotope separation, electromagnetically induced transparency for use in optical switching, environmental monitoring of pollutants and climate change. Most recently, his group developed an array of microtraps of ultracold atoms. He has 75 refereed publications and given over 200 conference presentations and invited seminars.
Dr. van Wijngaarden has taught a wide range of undergraduate and graduate courses to thousands of students. He is known for well organized lucid lectures. His pedagogical innovations have borne results. This past summer 90% of the students passed his challenging introductory physics course taught to nonphysics majors.
Dr. van Wijngaarden received the University of Windsor Board of Governor’s Medal in 1982, the 1967 NSERC graduate scholarship, Princeton University’s Joseph Henry Scholarship and a number of large research grants. He and his wife Theresa are the proud parents of Arie, Alice, Emma, Ellen and Marinus. He is conversant in Dutch and reads French and German.