Bill Fickinger's Web Site

updated November 2017


Welcome. Thanks for visiting.

I am a retired professor of physics, living in Cleveland Ohio USA. You will find here links to my major interests (physics history, peace action, and genealogy)

 (so search engines find me, I’ll add real name: William Fickinger)


wjf 2011 outside “Miller Room” in the CWRU Physics Building

(check out the sign in the window)


2017: I am working on a long-standing genealogy project:

“tracking Fickingers as they left Fickingen”

They were called Fickinger only after they left Fickingen (a town on the Saar River near the German-French border.  It is now called Saarfels).  Most of them left in the 1600’s – during the 30 Years War.

Looking at birth-dates and places, we can watch the wave of “refugees”

as they head west into France and east into Germany, and later to the US.

I now have an Excel file of 2700 Fickingers which I plan to post on separate website.  I’ll put its name here….


First, a couple of books:

          In 2011, I completed a biography of Dayton C. Miller, who was chair of the Case physics department from 1893 until 1937.  Miller was the first American to make medical x-rays, he was an expert on the physics of musical acoustics, and in the 1920’s he found himself at the middle of the debate about the validity of Einstein’s theory of relativity.  I wrote it for the general reader who is interested in the popular history of science.  I hope you enjoy it.


The book title:    Miller’s Waves – an Informal Scientific Biography


Here is the link to the entire book (120 page PDF):  Millerbook


The book is available in printed or ebook format at




In 2007 my history of the CWRU physics department was published:


“Physics at a Research University, Case Western Reserve 1830 – 1990”


            This is a history of the physics research done by the faculty and students of CWRU and its parent institutions.  Highlights of the work done by over 100 researchers are described at a level so that the general reader can understand qualitatively how and why the research was done, and the more technical reader can appreciate some more quantitative details.  The book ends with a "post-script" chapter which describes research performed from 1990 to 2005.   Lists of the names of physics graduates, including titles of graduate theses, appear as appendices. 



A link to PDF files (chapter by chapter) can be found at Dept History


link to book at




Here are some other links: 

Family and genealogy    material on Fickinger, Etchingham, Golding, Biechele

Case Collection of Physics Instruments     site created by physics undergrad to show the collection

Collection of Historical Department related Letters   images and texts of letters from the 1880’s to the 1940’s

CWRU Physics Department     the home page of my department

WJF page on department site   

Cleveland Peace Action  the local chapter of a national organization I work with (board secretary, newsletter editor, etc.)