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Portrait of Hans Christian von Baeyer wearing a dark suit
Hans Christian von Baeyer

Hans Christian von Baeyer is Chancellor Professor of Physics, Emeritus, at William & Mary. He has received the Thomas Jefferson Award, the Thomas Jefferson Teaching Award, and the Thomas Ashley Graves, Jr. Award.

Professor von Baeyer first came to William & Mary from McGill University in 1968. He served as Physics Department Chair from 1972 to 1978. In 1979, von Baeyer took the role of director at the Virginia Associated Research Campus (VARC) in Newport News. As director, he led the successful effort to bring a particle accelerator to the campus. Today, the facility that houses that accelerator is known as the Thomas Jefferson National Accelerator Facility (Jefferson Lab).

Also in 1979, Professor von Baeyer published an award-winning article on Einstein's theory of relativity in the William & Mary Alumni Gazette. This success launched his career as an author of books on science for the general public. Von Baeyer's most recent popular publication is Information: The New Language of Science (Harvard University Press, 2004).

Professor von Baeyer collaborated with John McKnight for a lecture tour on the history of American science to coincide with the U.S. Bicentennial. In 1983, they adapted their lecture for A Glorious System of Things, a videorecording (and now DVD) available from Colonial Williamsburg.

Professor von Baeyer is also noted for reviving the William & Mary tradition of the Raft Debate.


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This website contains the best available information from known sources at the time it was written. Unfortunately, many of the early original records of William & Mary were destroyed by fires, military occupation, and the normal effects of time. The information in this website is not complete, and it changes as we continue to research and uncover new sources.