Biography

Robert Lee Park is an Emeritus Professor of Physics at the University of Maryland, College Park and a former Director of Public Information at the Washington office of the American Physical Society.

Park is most noted for his critical commentaries on alternative medicine and pseudoscience, as well as his criticism of how legitimate science is distorted or ignored by the media, some scientists, and public policy advocates as expressed in his book Voodoo Science. He is also noted for his preference for robotic over manned space exploration.

Park entered the Air Force in 1951 and served (among other places) at Walker Air Force Base in Roswell, New Mexico until 1956. When the Air Force sent him to radar school, he discovered a passion for physics. Park obtained his bachelors and Master's degrees in Physics from the University of Texas at Austin and his PhD in physics from Brown University. During his graduate work he was associated with physicist Harrison E. Farnsworth with whom he co-authored several papers. Park spent almost a decade working as a member of the technical staff, and later Director of the Surface Physics Division, at Sandia National Laboratories, a U.S. Government weapons research laboratory. He would draw on these experiences in later commentaries on government involvement in science and nuclear weapon development. In 1974, Park was recruited by the University of Maryland for their physics department. He has been associated with UMD ever since. He was Director of UMD's Center of Materials Research from 1975 to 1978 and Chairman of the Department of Physics and Astronomy from 1978 to 1982.

Over his long career as a physicist he has authored more than a hundred technical papers on the structure and properties of single-crystal surfaces and has supervised ten PhD Theses. He is a Fellow of the American Physical Society, the American Association for the Advancement of Science and the American Vacuum Society. His awards and honors include Phi Beta Kappa (University of Texas), the Joseph A. Burton Forum Award from the American Physical Society, and the NCAS Philip J. Klass Award from the National Capital Area Skeptics.