Earl F Skelton


Affiliate Lecturer


Department of Physics


Fields of Interest
* High Pressure Science
* X-ray scattering, especially as related to extreme thermodynamic conditions or extremely small samples;
* Superconductivity, superconducting materials, and the effects of pressure on superconductivity.

Biographical Information
Dr. Skelton was Head of the Phase Transformation Section at the Naval Research Laboratory (NRL) from 1976 until his retirement in 1999. He began his career at NRL in 1967 as a National Research Council Postdoctoral Associate. Over the years, he also has held positions at the Laboratory for High Pressure Science, University of Maryland; the Hawaii Institute of Geophysics, University of Hawaii; and the Laboratory for Synchrotron Radiation, Stanford University. In 1978, he served as a Liaison Scientist at the Office of Naval Research in Tokyo. He has taught physics at Prince George's Community College and graduate classes in the Chemical Engineering Department, University of Maryland. Dr. Skelton also has been a member of the part-time faculty at GWU since 1974. Following his retirement from NRL, he accepted an Adjunct Professorship in the Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering at GWU.

His research activities are reported in more than 300 publications. Among these are six patents and articles about high pressure science and technology in Japan; the use of synchrotron radiation for high pressure research; a 10,000-fold improvement in data acquisition rates; crystallography on a metal filament only 42 nm in diameter; an encyclopedia article on high pressure research; a book chapter on thallium based superconductors; a record breaking superconductor; the first demonstration of the existence of microscopic inhomogeneities in high temperature superconductors; and demonstration of a new method for measuring diffusivities.

In 1985, Dr. Skelton organized and led a multi-institutional team to create a new beam line at the National Synchrotron Light Source, Brookhaven National Laboratory. The team identified the necessary fiscal resources and built X17C, one of the world's "hottest" x-ray sources. Using that, single crystal diffraction data were measured from a volume of only 28 attoliters. This reduced the minimum scattering power needed for diffraction experiments by more than an order of magnitude. Dr. Skelton has received several awards for his work; among these are the Pure Science Award from the Edison Chapter of the Society of the Sigma Xi, the U. S. Navy's Technology Transfer Award, and seven Alan Berman Research Publication Awards from NRL. He is a member of the American Crystallographic Association, the Society of the Sigma Xi, and in 1980 was elected a Fellow of the American Physical Society.