Deputy Director (Emeritus); Stanford Synchrotron Radiation Laboratory (SSRL) Division

Stanford Linear Accelerator Center (SLAC)

Professor (Research) Emeritus, Applied Physics & SSRL/SLAC, Stanford Univ.


A.B., Columbia College, 1953     Ph.D. Columbia University, 1957




During his scientific career Herman Winick played a strong leadership role in the development of synchrotron radiation sources and research at Stanford University and around the world.  Now in retirement he continues these activities, combined with increased activism in matters relating to international science (particularly in developing countries), academic freedom and human rights.


Scientifically he is now focusing his efforts largely on SESAME, a project he began together with Gus Voss (DESY) in 1997.  SESAME is now an independent international institution with ten Member countries constructing a 2.5 GeV third generation synchrotron light source in the Middle East under the auspices of UNESCO.  His work on SESAME is in close collaboration with UNESCO, scientists in the Middle East and with Herwig Schopper, President of the SESAME Council from 1999-2008 and Chris Llewellyn-Smith, President starting late 2008 .  He is also working with scientists in Africa to develop a similar project for southern Africa. 


His human rights activities grew in the 1980’s when he worked on behalf of dissidents from the Soviet Union, China, and other countries.  In 1992 he chaired the American Physical Society (APS) Committee on International Freedom of Scientists (CIFS).  In 2007 he was chair of the APS Forum on International Physics (FIP).  In 2005 he received the Heinz R. Pagels Human Rights of Scientists Award from the New York Academy of Sciences. Currently he is focusing his efforts on behalf of a dissident Iranian physicist and leading efforts to bring scholars at risk to Stanford University.



He received his PhD in high energy physics at Columbia University in 1957, with experimental work at the Nevis Cyclotron Laboratory.  After a postdoc at the University of Rochester (1957-59) he continued work in high energy experimental physics and accelerator development at the Cambridge Electron Accelerator at Harvard University (1959-73), serving as head of the Operations Department and Assistant Director.  He came to Stanford in 1973 to lead the technical design of the Stanford Synchrotron Radiation Project (SSRP), now SSRL, and served as Deputy Director of the laboratory until his semi-retirement in 1998

( He has taught physics courses at Columbia, Rochester, Harvard, MIT, Northwestern, University of Massachusetts, and Stanford.


His professional work includes more than 100 scientific articles, co-editing "Synchrotron Radiation Research" (Plenum Press, 1980) and editing "Synchrotron Radiation Sources - a Primer" (World Scientific, 1994).  He serves on advisory and review committees for several synchrotron radiation facilities around the world.  For about 20 years, until 2007, he served on the editorial board of Nuclear Instruments & Methods.  He is a Fellow of the American Physical Society (APS) and the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS).


He is best know for his leadership role, starting in the mid-1970’s, in the development of wiggler and undulator insertion devices as advanced synchrotron radiation sources.  This was recognized by a DOE award in 1987 for Energy Related Technology and in 1995 by the US Particle Accelerator School Prize for Achievement in Accelerator Physics and Technology.  In 2000 he was awarded the US Department of Energy Distinguished Associate Award. 


In 1992 he initiated studies, along with Claudio Pellegrini (UCLA), of the Linac Coherent Light Source (LCLS) Project to construct an x-ray laser using the SLAC linac.  This fourth generation light source is now in construction at SLAC for an operations start in 2009, to be followed by similar projects in Europe and Japan.


He maintains contact with other accelerator laboratories around the world and has had extended stays as a Research Fellow at the University of Tokyo and on a Humboldt Senior Scientist Award in Hamburg at DESY/HASYLAB. 



Since the mid 1970’s he has interacted with, and often worked with, scientists to develop synchrotron radiation research facilities in Armenia, Brazil, China, France, Germany, India, Italy, Japan, Korea, Pakistan, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Taiwan, Thailand, the UK, the USSR and many countries of the Middle East in connection with the SESAME project. 


He was instrumental in initiating SESAME (, a UNESCO-sponsored project which is now constructing a synchrotron radiation laboratory in Jordan, with ten  countries in the Middle East participating.


Starting in 1998, he has made more than 20 trips to 10 countries in the Middle East, delivering lectures on SESAME and synchrotron radiation sources and research at universities and laboratories,  participating in SESAME Council meetings, and also participating in, as well as organizing, workshops, schools, and Users’ meetings.  With funds provided by the US Department of Energy for the DOE Cooperative Research Program for SESAME, he has brought 20 Middle East scientists to the US for working visits at US synchrotron radiation laboratories for periods ranging from a few days to two years.  As part of these activities he has promoted scientific collaborations of Middle East scientists with each other and with scientists from outside the region.  He has arranged for surplus equipment from SLAC and LBNL to be loaned to SESAME.



He has a strong interest in human rights. His activities include chairing the APS Committee on International Freedom of Scientists (CIFS) in 1992 and the APS Forum on International Physics (FIP) in 2007.  He is currently a member of the APS Committee on International Scientific Affairs (CISA). 


In 2005 he received the Heinz R. Pagels Human Rights of Scientists Award from the New York Academy of Sciences. 


His recent activities include orchestrating campaigns to protest the expulsion of Iranians from the American Chemical Society (the expulsion was reversed in May, 2007) and to protest an incipient boycott of Israeli academics by the University and College Union in the UK (a work now in progress).  In 2007 he secured funding from the President of Stanford University to bring a scholar at risk to Stanford, initiating a program to regularly bring additional such scholars to Stanford.


Since 2001 he has worked intensely on behalf of a dissident Iranian physicist, Professor Hadizadeh, helping to have him released from prison in 2001, bringing him to the US in 2003, and now working to bring his wife and daughter from Iran to the US.  





1986: Received the Alexander von Humboldt Senior Scientist Award in recognition of contributions to the development of synchrotron radiation sources and facilities. Financial support was provided for 10 months of research in Germany.  The award was given by the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation.


1987: Winner of the Significant Implication for Energy Related Technology in Solid State Physics category in the Department of Energy's 1987 Materials Sciences Research Competition.  The award recognized contributions to the development of wiggler and undulator magnets as advanced radiation sources.


1987: Elected to Fellowship in the American Physical Society.  The certificate of Fellowship reads:  "For pioneering the second generation use of synchrotron radiation, particularly for the instrumentation and design of wigglers and undulators for condensed matter and biological research."


1995: Elected to Fellowship in the AAAS.  The award letter reads:  "You are being recognized for developing advanced sources of electromagnetic radiation and for assisting other laboratories in similar developments."


1995: US Particle Accelerator School Prize for Achievement in Accelerator Physics and Technology.  The award, shared with Dr. James Spencer of SLAC, was given by the Division of the Physics of Beams of the American Physical Society "For implementing the first of the insertion devices that have had a major influence on synchrotron radiation based sciences".


2000; Received the US Department of Energy Distinguished Associate Award.  The citation reads: "For your many accomplishments, contributions, and leadership in the development of modern synchrotron radiation sources and insertion devices to make them even more effective as X-ray sources.  This includes your exemplary service to the Department of Energy and the world community in promoting this technology across disciplinary and geographical boundaries over a period of many years."

2005; Received the New York Academy of Sciences Heinz R. Pagels Human Rights of Scientists Award.  The citation includes the following: “Herman Winick has been an extraordinarily effective and tireless scientist working on behalf of the Human Rights of Scientists for more than 25 years. He was one of the original supporters and founders of the Sakharov-Orlov-Scharansky (SOS) group in the 1980’s.  For the past three years he has worked on behalf of an Iranian dissident physicist, Professor Hadizadeh, who has been imprisoned for his pro-democracy activities. Due in large part to efforts by Winick, Professor Hadizadeh is now carrying out research in the United States.”

Co-recipient of this award was chemist Zafra Lerman.


2009; Awarded the 2010 Andrei Sakharov Prize (American Physical Society), sponsored by the friends of Andrei Sakharov. The Prize was established to recognize and encourage outstanding leadership and/or achievements of scientists in upholding human rights.
It consists of $10,000 (divided equally) and a certificate with the citation: “For tireless and effective personal leadership in defense of human rights of scientists throughout the world.”
Co-recipients were Drs. Joseph L. Birman, CCNY-CUNY and Morris Pripstein, National Science Foundation.