Earl W. McDaniel

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Earl Wadsworth McDaniel
Born(1926-04-15)April 15, 1926
DiedMay 4, 1997(1997-05-04) (aged 71)
NationalityUnited States
Alma materGeorgia Institute of Technology
University of Michigan
Known forIon mobility spectrometry
AwardsGeorgia Scientist of the Year
Scientific career
Electrical Engineering
InstitutionsGeorgia Institute of Technology
Georgia Tech Research Institute

Earl W. (Wadsworth) McDaniel (April 15, 1926 – May 4, 1997) was a Regents Professor of Physics at the Georgia Institute of Technology and the Georgia Tech Research Institute and is most noted for his contributions to the field of ion mobility spectrometry.

Education and early career[edit]

Plaque in the Howey Physics Building honoring McDaniel

After completing his undergraduate degree in physics at the Georgia Institute of Technology and earning his Ph.D. from the University of Michigan, Earl was recruited by Georgia Tech Research Institute director James Boyd to return to Georgia Tech as an assistant professor.[1][2] He received appointments in both the School of Physics and the School of Electrical Engineering.

Apart from his work as a physicist, Dr. McDaniel was known to be an avid reader of both fiction and classics as well as an expert on the histories of great military conflicts and battles.

Drift tube[edit]

In 1964, Earl began construction of a "drift tube" with the help of mechanical engineering student, Dan Albritton. Using this drift tube the pair revolutionized the field of ion transport. Their publication "Mobilities of Mass-Identified H3+ and H+ Ions in Hydrogen" [3] was chosen as one of the top 100 papers ever published in the journal Physical Review.


Aside from a number of popular research publications, Dr. McDaniel also authored or edited 8 books. Among these, the most notable were "Collision Phenomena in Ionized Gases,"[4] “Transport Properties of Ions in Gases,” "Atomic Collisions: Electron and Photon Projectiles,” and “Atomic Collisions: Heavy Particle Projectiles.” These books were published in a number of countries and translated into multiple languages.


  1. ^ "Earl W. McDaniel" (PDF). Georgia Institute of Technology. Archived from the original (PDF) on September 12, 2006. Retrieved March 26, 2010.
  2. ^ "Uncovering the science of atomic collisions". Georgia Tech Research Institute. Retrieved March 29, 2010.
  3. ^ D. L. Albritton, T. M. Miller; D. W. Martin; E. W. McDaniel (1968). "Mobilities of Mass-Identified H3+ and H+ Ions in Hydrogen". Physical Review. 171 (94): 94–102. Bibcode:1968PhRv..171...94A. doi:10.1103/PhysRev.171.94.
  4. ^ Gole, James; Thomas, Edward; Uzer, Turgay (April 1998). "Obituary: Earl Wadsworth McDaniel". Physics Today. 51 (4): 88–89. Bibcode:1998PhT....51d..88G. doi:10.1063/1.882220.