In Memory of Dr. Richard T. Williams

The Physics Department and Wake Forest University are saddened by the recent loss of retired physics professor Richard T. Williams who passed away July 5, 2021, after a brief struggle with AML leukemia. He was 75.

Professor Williams earned a BS in physics at Wake Forest in 1968 and was the first Speas Award recipient for distinguished work in physics (the highest undergraduate award). He then earned an MA in 1971 and a PhD in physics in 1974 at Princeton.

After a successful early career at the Naval Research Laboratory, he was recruited back to Wake Forest as the Reynolds Professor of Physics. Professor Williams increased the reputation and visibility of the Wake Forest physics department by helping to establish its PhD program in the 1980s. He mentored the first physics PhD graduate and was the first endowed professor within the department.

After formally retiring from the University in 2017, Professor Williams remained active in research at the Wake Forest Nanotech Center.

A complete memorial and obituary can be found at