Warren Wesley Buck

Warren Wesley Buck III (1946–)

Physicist and Educator

Warren Wesley Buck III grew up in Washington, D.C., and studied mathematics at Morgan State College (later Morgan State University). He enrolled at the College of William and Mary, where he received a master’s degree in experimental and theoretical plasma physics (1970) and a doctorate degree in theoretical relativistic nuclear physics (1976). He joined the faculty of Hampton University in 1984. Buck was a prominent member of the intellectual team that built the U.S. Department of Energy’s Continuous Electron Beam Accelerator Facility (known as Jefferson Lab), in Newport News, where he also established a summer graduate studies program in nuclear physics. The founding director of the Nuclear/High Energy Physics Research Center of Excellence at Hampton, Buck was a major force in creating the school’s PhD program in physics, the first doctoral degree offered by the university.

In 1999, Buck became chancellor of the University of Washington¬–Bothell and oversaw its transition to a four-year institution. He later returned to teaching physics and in 2009 became director of the school’s science and technology program. Buck has continued his research throughout his career and published articles in numerous academic journals. In 2007–2008, he served as co-chair of the Committee on New Opportunities in Solar System Exploration of NASA’s New Frontiers Program. A talented watercolorist, Buck also explores the overlap between physics and the visual arts.

Buck has received numerous honors for his work and was named a fellow of the American Physical Society in 1998. The College of William and Mary awarded him an honorary degree in 2013, and he currently sits on its board of visitors.