Li Yang named the Albert Gordon Hill professor of physics

On July 1, Li Yang was named the Albert Gordon Hill professor of physics. James G. Miller held the title from 2000-2019.

The Albert Gordon Hill Professorship in Physics was established in 1997 by way of a generous bequest from Dr. Hill, who earned a bachelor of science in mechanical engineering in 1930 and a master of arts in physics in 1934 from Washington University. His doctorate in physics is from the University of Rochester in 1937. He began his career at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1937, rising over 47 years from physics instructor to professor emeritus. He was director of MIT’s Research Laboratory of Electronics, which developed radar for use in World War II, and served as chairman of the board of the Charles Stark Draper Laboratory, which was concerned with space exploration and defense research.


Hill has been described as a man of vision, with a strong belief in political and intellectual freedom, both of which he defended and advocated for throughout his career in government service and academia. He was honored with a number of awards for his service to the United States, including the Presidential Certificate of Merit (1948), the Air Force Distinguished Civilian Service Medal (1955), and the Secretary of Defense Distinguished Civilian Service Award in 1959.

He was also awarded the Washington University Distinguished Alumni citation in 1955. Hill’s association with the university has deep roots. His grandmother’s uncle was Wayman Crow, who together with William Greenleaf Eliot, was responsible for the founding of Washington University.