David M. Schrader


David M. Schrader, Ph.D.
Professor Emeritus, Physical Chemistry
(920) 854-5218
E-mail: david.schrader@mu.edu

Professor Schrader obtained his B.S. from Iowa State University and earned his Ph.D. degree in 1961 from the University of Minnesota. His interests in theoretical chemistry led him to a research fellowship at Columbia University and the IBM Watson Laboratory. In 1963, he accepted a position as assistant professor in the chemistry department at the University of Iowa. Professor Schrader joined the faculty at Marquette in 1968. He became Research Professor in 1996 and Professor Emeritus in 2017.

Research Fields
Quantum theory of atomic and molecular structure, especially systems interacting with positrons or positronium atoms, both bound and scattering states.

The positron is the antiparticle of the electron. It sometimes called and thought of as "exotic," but it is the most common of the uncommon particles. It is easily, safely, and conveniently obtained for laboratory experiments in the form of a beta-emitter such as sodium-22. It is a unique probe for many chemical systems, and has proven valuable in industry as a tool for characterizing polymers, semiconductors, alloys, surfaces, coatings, and so forth. It has a rich chemistry, both in the gas and liquid phases.

The positron annihilates in ordinary matter with a lifetime of about a nanosecond, which is a long time on most chemical scales (for example, air molecules vibrate a million times in a nanosecond). A positron can form a neutral atom with an electron. This atom, called "positronium," has a mass of about 0.0001 Daltons. It has all the states of the hydrogen atom but they are only half as deeply bound.

We have been calculating wave functions for compounds of positronium, Ps, for many years. The simplest of these is PsH, positronium, which consists of two electrons, a positron, and a proton. There are many other compounds.

We are currently writing a full-length book on the history of atomic energy.


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