Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Melvin Schwartz Dies at 73

Terrible day, the world losing both Naguib Mahfouz and Melvin Schwartz. Schwartz was many things, a professor at Columbia, Nobel-prize winner in 1988 for the discovery of the muon neutrino, and a major figure in the history of Brookhaven. He was both a scientist there (i.e. the neutrino work) as well as an administrator (overseeing the RHIC project in its early stages!).

Just a point left out of the obituaries: I never met him (he had left the field again by the time I got my PhD), but I always enjoyed his book on electrodynamics. It was one of the more elegant descriptions of the physics and mathematics that I had seen up to that time (1991). And it was cheap -- god bless Dover.

3 comments:

Betty (Schwartz) Marcon said...

Thank you for your comments about Mel's book. As a child, people often explained to me that my father's experiments were "elegant". He had a real passion for his field which showed up in other ways with the many interests he had. We will always remember him that way

Dr. Jay I. Glat said...

I would like to extend my sincerest condolences

I am trying to determine if your father was my classmate at P.S. 76 and the Jewish Center of Williamsbridge, both in the Bronx.

Diana (Schwartz) Bodell said...

My son found this posting while doing research on his grandfather. I just wanted to also thank you for your comments about his book and his teaching. Steve jobs, who audited my father's physics classes at Stanford (he wasn't enrolled), said that he was one of the best teachers he had ever had. He taught as elegantly as he wrote and experimented. He was a pretty good father, too. An all around great guy.
Dr. Glat, my father went to Bronx High School of Science and I don't think he attended either PS 76 or the Jewish Center of Williamsbridge.