Stig Hagström, who was instrumental in developing x-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS) and synchrotron radiation research, helped the Stanford University and Silicon Valley scientific, technological, and educational communities build strong collaborations with Sweden. He died of a stroke on 28 May 2011 in Stanford, California.

Born in Esperyd, Sweden, on 21 September 1932, Stig got his BSc in 1958 and his PhD in 1964 from Uppsala University. The title of his thesis, done under adviser Kai Siegbahn, was “Studies of some atomic properties by electron spectroscopy.” Stig was one of Siegbahn’s younger colleagues on the research team that discovered the chemical shift in XPS and established it as a critical observable in materials analysis. Siegbahn was awarded the 1981 Nobel Prize in Physics for that discovery.

Stig did postdoc work first at MIT and then at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. At Berkeley, working with David Shirley and one of us (Fadley, then Stig’s graduate student), he helped establish the first experimental XPS program in the US. Shirley’s and Fadley’s groups later made significant contributions to the field, a part of Stig’s legacy.

In 1966 Stig returned to Sweden as an associate professor at Chalmers University of Technology. Two years later he suggested to William Spicer of Stanford that the high-energy physics storage ring, SPEAR, to be constructed at SLAC, be used as a source of synchrotron radiation. That suggestion led to the development of the Stanford Synchrotron Radiation Lightsource.

Stig was appointed as a professor in 1969 to Sweden’s newly founded Linköping University. As chairman of the science department, Stig started programs at both the graduate and undergraduate levels while still pursuing his own research in the fields of surface physics, surface analysis, and surface coatings with physical vapor deposition techniques. The groundwork he laid in Linköping in materials science has led to its being one of the strongest research environments in Sweden in that field. As Linköping’s pro vice chancellor from 1970 to 1976, he greatly increased the contacts between the university and local industry.

In 1976 Stig moved to California to lead the Xerox Palo Alto Research Center’s General Sciences Laboratory, a legendarily creative and productive group. The lab was internationally recognized for its work on synchrotron radiation, surface and bulk properties of metals and semiconductors, magnetics for vertical recording, and read–write magnetic and optical disks, among other accomplishments.

Stig then joined the department of materials science and engineering at Stanford in 1987 and served as chairman for five years. He initiated a transformation of the department, whose faculty became known for its work on thin films and nanotechnology. Stig also greatly strengthened work on surface science by attracting leaders of that field to the university, introducing advanced instrumentation to the facilities, and promoting connections between the university and industry.

In the early 1990s Stig became heavily involved in the development of higher education in Sweden. He was also active in promoting Swedish research in information technology. In 1992 Stig became chairman of the board for a new governmental agency, the Swedish National Agency for Higher Education, whose task was to introduce a system for evaluating the quality of education and research at Swedish universities and colleges. He also headed a parliamentary investigation of the Swedish research-funding system in 2000. Early on he concluded that a major increase of the base grants for Swedish university research was necessary, although it was not until a change of government in 2007 that such grants were increased substantially.

During the years Stig was back in Sweden, he was involved in the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences, including selecting Nobel laureates, and in the Royal Swedish Academy of Engineering Sciences, where he was chairman from 1993 to 1996. After returning to the US, he still enjoyed going back to Sweden every year for the Nobel ceremony, until his health made it too difficult for him to travel.

Stig returned to Stanford in 1999 to help establish the Wallenberg Research Link (WRL) and the Wallenberg Global Learning Network (WGLN). The WGLN nurtures collaborations between Stanford and Swedish university faculty on using innovative information-technology methods to facilitate the learning process. The WGLN and WRL have led to long-standing linkages between Stanford and Swedish scholars and continue to be a vibrant part of Stig’s legacy. During his years in the US, he and his wife, Brita-Stina, always warmly received Swedish scientists, politicians, industrialists, and journalists to their home in Menlo Park.

In Sweden, the many words in memory of Stig Hagström share a common theme; they express gratitude for his interest in the well-being of his beloved native country and for his contributions to Swedish higher education and research and its interactions with US institutions. Here in the US, he will be missed for his long-term vision, his warm and thoughtful guidance, and his enthusiasm for bringing together scholars from Sweden and Stanford.