Winston Ko, Dean
DIVISION OF MATHEMATICAL AND PHYSICAL SCIENCES
Winston Ko, professor of physics, has been dean of the Division of Mathematical and Physical Sciences since 2003. After receiving his Ph.D. degree from the University of Pennsylvania in 1971, he has spent his entire career at UC Davis. He began as an assistant research physicist and lecturer, and joined the physics faculty in 1972.
He then became a full professor of physics in 1981. He was also a Fulbright Senior Professor in Germany from 1992 to 1993.
Ko’s research has been in experimental particle physics. He surveyed “inclusive reactions” as a tool early in his postdoctoral career during the pioneer days of Fermilab, earning him the faculty appointment at UC Davis and tenure four years after his appointment. Ko led a series of experiments as a “spokesperson,” (de facto leader) and measured the structure of the photon at Stanford Linear Accelerator Center (SLAC) and Deutsche Elektonen-Synchrotron (DESY). He studied electroweak symmetry breaking with the AMY experiment in Japan’s Ko Energy Kenkyosho (KEK). All of the experiments also searched for new particles and shot down many theoretical models.
During his time as a Fulbright senior professor, he developed relationships with colleagues at the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN), developing the experiment Compact Muon Spectrometer (CMS) for the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) which went online 2008. Ko is one of a handful of American signatories of the CMS experiment, which has become a world-class effort encompassing 2,000 physicists. The experiment took 15 years to build, and Ko led its early software effort. He is looking forward to the fundamental discoveries in physics that will be made in the coming years at the LHC, serving as the project director of a longrunning $2M/year grant from the US Department of Energy.
Ko is known for his mentorship and collaboration. He is particularly proud of some of the achievements made by his former Ph.D. students:
Mike Cain ('84), Technical Group Manager, XonTech, Inc., Huntsville, Alabama;
Richard Kass ('78), Professor of Physics, Ohio State University;
Fengcheng Lin ('95), President and CTO, Teralane Semiconductor (Shenzhen);
Roger McNeil ('86), Dean, College of Natural Sciences, CSU Stanislaus;
Jeff Rowe ('96), Assistant Research Scientist, UC Davis Computer Security Laboratory;
Gary Shoemaker ('83), Professor and Chair of Physics, California State University, Sacramento;
David Stuart ('92), Associate Professor of Physics, UC Santa Barbara.
Ko served in several major areas in the Academic Senate, including Education Policy, Academic Personnel, and Planning & Budget. After a brief time as the Assistant Vice Provost for Academic Planning and Personnel, he served as the chair of the physics department from 1998 to 2003 and then became dean of the Division of Mathematical and Physical Sciences.