The Engineer, 1916, MTU Archives and CCHI
James Fisher, Jr.
b. March 29, 1873, Hancock, MI
d. July 16, 1962, Houghton, MI
- E.M., Mich Mining School, 1893
- Hon. D.E., Mich College Mines and Tech., 1934
- Draftsman, Mich Mining School, 1893-1894
- Hodge Iron Works, 1894-1895
- Instr. Math and Physics, Mich. College Mines, 1895-1899
- Asst. Prof. Math and Physics, MCM, 1900-1902
- Prof. & Dept Head, Math and Physics, MCM/MCMT, 1903-1944
- Director of Adult Education, MCMT, 1945
- Dean of Faculty, MCMT, 1936-1946
- Several different Keweenawans are dedicated to him.
- Had x-ray scars on his hands due to early experimentation with x-rays.
- Regularly gave talks to local community groups most often about the history of the area.
- Had interests in the History of the Copper Country, Physics of Music, Geophysics, and Ojibwa language.
- Distinguished Alumni Award 1953.
- Fisher, J., “Historical Sketch of the Lake Superior Copper District,” Proc. Lake Superior Mining Inst. XXVII, 54-67 (1929).
- Hotchkiss, W. O., Rooney, W. J., and Fisher, J., “Earth-Resistivity Measurements in the Lake Superior Copper Country,” AIME Technical Publication 82, 15 pp, 1928, and Geophysical Prospecting, pp. 51-67, 1929.
- Fisher, J., Ingersoll, L. R., and Vivian, H., Recent “Geothermal Measurements in the Michigan Copper District,” AIME Technical Pub. 481, 11 pp., 1932 (reprinted in MCMT Bull., Vol. 9, no. 4, 1936).
- Fisher, J., and Service, J. H., “Maximum sensitivity-setting of the dip needle,” Terrestrial Magnetism and Atmospheric Electricity, Vol 42, No. 2, pp. 137-142, 1936 (reprinted in MCMT Bull. Vol. 9, no. 4, 1936).
- “Fort Wilkens,” in “Michigan History Magazine,” Vol 29 #2, April-June 1945, p. 155.
The Engineer, 1916, MTU Archives and CCHI
Elmer Daniel Grant
b. February 25, 1873, Delhi, NY
d. September 5, 1935, Richmond, IN
- AB, Colgate University, 1895
- AM, U of Chicago, 1897
(Thesis Title: Determination of the apparent size of a given ellipsoid as seen from a given exterior point, advisor: Bolza)
- PhD, U of Chicago, 1916
(Thesis Title: The Motion of a Flexible Cable in a Vertical Plane, advisor: Moulton)
- Inst. Mathematics, Lewis Institute (now part of IIT), 1896-1899
- Inst. Math and Physics, Mich. College of Mines, 1900-1904
- Asst. Prof. Math and Physics, Mich. College of Mines, 1904-1915
- Assoc. Prof. Math and Physics, Mich. College of Mines, 1915-1920
- Prof. and Dept. Head Math, Earlham College, 1920-1935
- Registrar 1925-1930, Acting Dean 1933-1935, Earlham College
His PhD thesis is a math-physics treatment generalizing the catenary to cables undergoing acceleration, motivated by observations of hoist cables in the local mine shafts.
He made several ca. 3 week trips around Michigan, Wisconsin, and Northern Illinois and Indiana giving an Extension Lecture “Copper Mining in Michigan” illustrated with lantern slides. Many of the talks were given at High Schools and were, at least in part, recruiting trips for the College.
In 1916, he was granted a years leave of absence to allow him to work for the Keystone View Company (Meadville, PA) to promote “visual education” products throughout Colorado and Southern Wyoming.
Attended Waverly (N.Y.) High School and Colgate Academy prior to college.
Attended Grace United Methodist Church when in Houghton.
Hillside College Archives
Arthur Edwin Haynes
b. May 23, 1849, Van Buren (near Baldwinsville), NY
d. March 12, 1915, Minneapolis, MN
- BS Hillsdale College, 1875
- MS 1877, MPh 1879, Hillsdale College
- Hon. ScD, 1896
- Inst. Math and Physics, Hillsdale College, 1875
- Acting Prof. Math and Physics, Hillsdale College, 1876
- Prof. Math and Physics, Hillsdale College, 1876-1890
- Prof. Math and Physics, Michigan College of Mines, 1890-1893
- Asst. Prof. Math 1893-1896, College of Eng., University of Minnesota
- Prof. Math, 1896-1901, College of Eng., University of Minnesota
- Prof. Engineering Math, 1901-1912, University of Minnesota
- Retired 1912.
- London Mathematical Society (elected 1885).
Parents moved to Hillsdale County, MI, in 1858, and were farmers. Attended “academy near Baldwinsville” for a couple years. Summer of 1874: worked construction job at Hillsdale College and helped build the building he would later teach in as Prof. Married College Classmate, May Hewitt, 1875. “Believed in and worked for Prohibition.”
(to 1900, may not be complete)
- “Abnormal refraction,” Am. Meteorol. Journal 1, 446 (1884/85).
- “Unusually Bright Moonlight,” Am. Meteorol. Journal 2, 56 (1885/86).
- “Notes on the occultation of the Sun as seen at Hillsdale College, March 16, 1885,” Sidereal Messenger 4, 121-122 (1885).
Rolland Otis Keeling, Jr.
b. August 13, 1925, Hillsboro, IN
d. October 13, 2000, Houghton, MI
- AB Wabash College, 1950
- MS Penn State, 1952
- PhD Penn State, 1954
- Research Physicist, Gulf Research and Development, Pittsburgh 1954-1960
- Assoc. Prof. Physics, MCMT 1961-1963
- Prof. Physics, MCMT/MTU, 1963-1985
- Physics Department Head 1978-1985
- Member Grace United Church, American Legion
- Sigma Pi Sigma, Phi Beta Kappa
- Served in Army 1943-1946
- Bowled, with wife Esther, in MTU Faculty/Staff Bowling League
- “A Low Temperature X-Ray Goniometer for Structural Studies of Crystal Transitions,” R. O. Keeling and R. Pepinsky, Rev. Sci. Instr. 24, 1087, (1953).
- “An X-ray diffraction study on the transition in NH4H2PO4 at 148oK,” R.O. Keeling, Jr., and R. Pepinsky, Z. Kristallogr. 106, 236 (1955).
- “Structure of NiWO4,” R. O. Keeling, Jr., ACTA Cryst 10, 209-213 (1957).
- U.S. Patent #3,029,341 “X-Ray Absorption Spectrometer,” issued April 1962.
- “X-Ray Absorption Edge Studies of Supported Cobalt Catalysts,” R. O. Keeling, in Developments in Applied Spectroscopy, Vol 2, eds. J R Ferraro and J S Ziomeck (New York: Plenum, 1963) p 263.
- “Magnetite: Preferred Orientation on the Basal Plane of Partially Reduced Hematite,” R. O. Keeling, Jr., and D. A. Wick, Science 141, 1175-1176 (1963).
- “Analysis of Iron in Layer Silicates by Mossbauer Spectroscopy,” G. L. Taylor, A. P. Ruotsala, and R. O. Keeling, Clays and Clay Minerals 16, 381 (1968).
- “A Mossbauer investigation of mechanically induced magnetic anisotropy in natural hematite,” R. O. Keeling, J. Appl. Phys 43, 4736 (1972), errata in J. Appl. Phys. 44, 2443 (1973).
A. Barry Kunz
b. October 2, 1940, Philadelphia, PA
d. January 29, 2001, Marquette, MI
- BS Physics, Muhlenberg College, 1962.
- MS Physics, Lehigh University, 1964.
- Ph.D. Physics, Lehigh University, 1966.
- Instructor and Research Assoc., Lehigh U., 1966-1969
- Research Asst. Prof, U of Illinois, 1969-1971
- Research Analyst, USAF Aerospace Res. Lab, 1971-1974
- Assistant Prof., U of Illinois, 1971-1973
- Consultant, Photo Products, E.J. Dupont, 1974-1979
- Assoc. Prof., U of Illinois, 1973-1976
- Professor, U of Illinois, 1976-1984
- Adj. Prof., Michigan Tech Univ., 1982-1984
- Presidential Prof., Physics, MTU, 1984-1990
- Presidential Prof., Elec. Eng., MTU, 1990-2001
- Dean of Engineering, MTU, 1990-1991
- Michigan Universities Board of Governors Outstanding Faculty Award, 1987
- MTU Distinguished Research Award, 1986
- Fellow, American Physical Society, Elected to New York Academy of Sciences
- Scientist of the Year, Impressions V Science Museum, 1990
- Head, Physics Department, MTU, 1985-1990
- Principal Investigator on research grants totaling several million dollars.
(out of over 200)
- A. B. Kunz, D. J. Mickish, “Study of Electronic-Structure and Optical Properties of Solid Rare-Gases,” Phys. Rev. B 8, 779-794 (1973).
- A. B. Kunz and M. P. Guse, “Relationship between Surface Electronic-Structure and Chemisorption of Hydrogen by MgO,” Chem. Phys. Lett. 45, 18-21 (1977).
- A. B. Kunz, “Study of the Electronic-Structure of 12 Alkali-Halide Crystals,” Phys. Rev. B 26, 2056-2069 (1982).
- A. B. Kunz and J. M. Vail, “Quantum-Mechanical Cluster-Lattice Interaction in Crystal Simulation – Hartree-Fock Method,” Phys. Rev. B 38, 1058-1063 (1988).
- A. B. Kunz, “Computational considerations for the study of defects in solids,” Theor. Chim. Acta 84, 353-361, (1993).
- M. M. Kukla and A. B. Kunz, “An excitonic mechanism of detonation initiation in explosives,” J. Chem. Phys. 112, 3417-3423 (2000).
William Atlas Longacre
b. August 3, 1906, Carthage, TN
d. January 23, 1992, MI
- BS and EMet MCMT, 1929
- MA MCMT, 1941
- Geophysics Research Asst., MCMT, 1929-1937
- Instructor of Math and Physics, MCMT, 1929-1937
- Asst. Prof Math and Physics, MCMT, 1937-1944
- Assoc. Prof. Math and Physics, MCMT, 1944-1948
- Prof. Physics, MCMT/MTU, 1948-1971
- Director of Geophysics, MTU, 1963-1971
- Mining and Milling Service Co., Ltd 1937
- Consol. Min. and Smelting Co., Ltd, 1941-42
- Cleveland Cliffs Iron Co., 1946-1954
- Society for Engineering Education
- Society of Exploratory Geophysics
- Geophysics Union
- Association of Physics Teachers
- MCMT (MTU) Distinguished Teaching Award 1952
- Physics Department Head 1954-1963
- Golden Glove Boxer as Student, Bowler, Golfer
- Manned Penalty Box at Tech Hockey Games many years
- Chaired Athletic Board over 25 years
- Graduate of Arsenal Technical HS, Indianapolis, IN
- “Study of the Problem of Depth Determination by Means of Earth Resistivity Measurements,” W. A. Longacre, AIME Tech Publication 1392, (1941).
- “The Hotchkiss superdip as a vertical intensity magnetometer,” W. A. Longacre, Trans AIME, TP3139L, Mining Engineering, p. 891, October (1951).
The Engineer, 1916, MTU Archives and CCHI
Fred Walter McNair
b. December 3, 1862, Fennimore, WI
d. June 30, 1924, in a train wreck near Buda, IL.
- BS U. of Wisconsin (1891)
- Hon. D. Sc., Lafayette College (1907).
- Hon. D. Sc., Rhode Island State College (1919).
- Inst. Mathematics, U of Wisconsin 1889-1891
- Asst. Prof. Math, Michigan Agricultural College, Fall 1891-1893
- Prof. Math and Physics, Michigan College of Mines, 1893-1924
- President, Michigan College of Mines, 1899-1924
- During World War I worked with U.S. Bureau of Standards and later worked on firing methods for large Naval guns (unpublished).
- Member of Grace United Methodist Church in Houghton. His home was at the corner of Houghton and Hubbell Ave, where the Southwest corner of the Memorial Union is currently located.
- American Physical Society (Fellow)
- AAAS (VP for Sect. D 1906)
- American Institute of Mining and Metallurgical Engineers (AIME)
- Metals and Mining Society of America
- Lake Superior Mining Institute
- Tau Beta Pi
- Phi Beta Kappa
- President, Society for the Promotion of Engineering Education 1904/05
- Three different MTU buildings were named for him — 2 academic and one residence hall.
(list likely not complete – McNair listed as sole author on all)
- “Simple Huyghen’s apparatus for the optical lantern,” Nature 53, 535 (1895/96).
- “Note on a simple method for Newton’s total reflection experiment,” Science 5, 620-621 (1897).
- “College View of Mining Graduate,” Proc. Lake Superior Mining Inst. Vol VII, 101-106 (1901).
- “The Divergence of Long Plumb Lines at the Tamarack Mine,” The Engineering and Mining Journal 73, 578-580 (1902).
- “Divergence of Long Plumb Lines at the Tamarack Mine,” Science XV, No. 390, p 994 (June, 1902). Reprinted in Terrestrial Magnetism and Atmospheric Electricity, Sept 1902, pg 143.
- “The Divergence of Long Plumb Lines at the Tamarack Mine,” Electrical World and Engineer XXXIX, No. 17, 721-723 (1902).
- “How Bodies Fall in Deep Vertical Shafts,” Mining and Scientific Press, Vol XCIII No. 2, 56-57 (July 14, 1906).
- “An Experiment on Easterly Deviation Beneath the Earth’s Surface,” Science XXIII, 415-416 (1906).
- “Some Problems Connected with Deep Mining in the Lake Superior Copper District,” Proc. Am. Assoc. Adv. Sci., Meetings 56 & 57, 447-456 (1907).
- “Note on a Method in Teaching Optical Mineralogy,” American Journal of Science, Series 4 Vol. XXXI, 292-296 (1911).
National Bureau of Standards, 1923
Nathan Sanford Osborne
b. February 10, 1875, Southampton, N.Y.
- EM Michigan College of Mines 1899
- Hon. Sc. D. Stevens Inst. of Technology 1930
- Hon. Doctor of Engineering MCMT 1936
- Asst. in Physics, Mich School Mines, 1896
- Instr. Math and Physics, Mich College of Mines, 1897-1899
- Mining Engineer, Champion Copper Co. & E J Longyear Co., 1899-1900
- Inst. Math and Physics, Michigan College of Mines, 1901-1903
- Lab Assistant, US Bureau of Standards, 1903-1906
- Asst. Physicist, US Bureau of Standards, 1906-1910
- Inst. Math and Physics, Michigan College of Mines, 1910-1912
- Assoc. Physicist, US Bureau of Standards, 1912-1919
- Physicist, US Bureau of Standards, 1919-1928
- Principal Physicist, US Bureau of Standards, 1928-1939
Most noted for calorimetric measurements at the Bureau of Standards which were essential to make accurate steam tables. Author of many National Bureau of Standards (NBS) publications.
See, for example:
- “A Calorimetric Method of Surveying the Behavior of Steam,” Mechanical Engineering 46, 88-90 (1924).
- N. S. Osborne, H. F. Stimson, D. C. Ginnings, “Calorimetric determination of the thermodynamic properties of saturated water in both the liquid and gaseous states from 100 to 374oC,” J. Res. Natl. Bur. Standards (U.S.) 18, 389-447 (1937).
More details of his contributions at NBS can be found in NBS special publication 958, Jan. 2001, pages 49-52.
Fay Lilford Partlo
b. March 23, 1901, Fairgrove, MI
d. August 7, 1996
- EM, Mich College Mines, 1923
- BS, Mich College Mines, 1926
- Ph.M., U of Wisconsin, 1930
- Asst. In Mathematics, MCM, 1922
- Instr. Math and Physics, MCM 1923-1925
- Asst. Prof. Math and Physics, MCMT, 1926-1935
- Assoc. Prof. Math and Physics, MCMT, 1936-1943
- Prof. Physics, MCMT, 1944-1953.
- Physics Department Head, MCMT, 1944-1947.
- Dean of College, MCMT, 1947-1953.
- President, S. Dakota School of Mines, 1954-1966.
- Prof. Physics, S. Dakota School of Mines, 1966-1971.
- MCMT Coordinator of War Training Programs, 1943-1946.
- MCMT Director of Extension Services, 1946-1954.
- Awarded the Bliss Medal by the Society of American Military Engineers in 1965.
- Described as a quiet man who led unobtrusively and without grandstanding.
- Partlo, F. L., and Service, J. H., Seismic Refraction Methods Applied to Shallow Overburdens, AIME Trans Vol 110, p. 1, and Geophysical Prospecting 1934, pp. 473-492, 1934 (reprinted in MCMT Bull., vol 8, no. 2, 1935).
- Partlo, F. L., and Service, J. H., Instantaneous Speeds in Air of Explosion Reports at Short Distances from the Source, Physics Vol. 6, No. 1, pp 1-5, 1935.
- Essentials of General Physics, J. H. Service and F. L. Partlo (Edwards Bros, Ann Arbor, 1940).
b. May 2, 1893, St. Louis, MO
d. May 29, 1976, Baltimore, MD
- AB, Washington (St Louis), 1913
- AM Chicago, 1915
- PhD Chicago, 1920
(Thesis Title: The Transformation of Waves through a Symmetrical Optical Instrument, advisor – Arthur C. Lunn. See Phys. Rev. 18, 62-77 (1921).)
- Inst. Math, Northwestern, 1916-1923
- Assoc. Prof. Math, Vanderbilt, 1923-1925
- Mathematical Physicist, Amerada Corp. And Geophys. Research Corp., 1925-30
- Consulting Mathematical Physicist, 1930-1931
- Asst. Prof. Math and Physics, Michigan College of Mining and Technology, 1931-1935 (Was on leave the last year to do ground resistivity studies in Southern Nevada)
- Senior Geophysicist, US Bur. Of Mines and Geological Survey (USGS), 1935-
Only child, Nancy Grace Roman, attended Houghton Central School for grades 3 to 5. She later became Chief of Astronomy for NASA. She credits, in part, views of the Northern Lights seen when living in Houghton as a possible factor leading to her career in astronomy.
Publications by Irwin Roman During MCMT Years
- Roman, I., Least Squares in Practical Geophysics, AIME, Transactions, Geophysical Prospecting, pp. 460-506, 1932.
- Roman, I., The Calculation of Electrical Resistivity for a Region Underlying Two Uniform Layers, Terrestrial Magnetism, Vol. 38, No. 2, pp. 117-140, and Vol. 38, no. 3, pp. 165-202, 1933.
- Roman, I., Analysis of Seismic Profiles, AIME Contribution no. 64, 35 pp., 1933 (reprinted in MCMT Bull. Vol 7, no. 2, 1934).
- Roman, I., Some Interpretations of Earth-Resistivity Data, AIME Contribution no. 66, 15 pp., 1934.
- Roman, I., and Sermon, T. C., A Magnetic Gradiometer, AIME Technical Publication no. 542, 17 pp, 1934.
- Roman, I., and Sermon, T. C., Some Recent Methods of Magnetic Prospecting, MCMT Bull., Vol 8, No. 1, 1934.
- Roman, I., and Sermon, T. C., Some Magnetic Gradiometer Developments During 1934-35, American Geophysical Union Transactions, 16th annual meeting, Wash. D.C., pt. 1, pp 181-188, National Research Council, 1935.
- Roman, I., Some Recent Methods of Seismic and Electrical Prospecting, MCMT Bull., Vol. 8, No. 2, 1935.
Thomas Croxford Sermon
b. July 25, 1903, Superior, WI
d. February 1, 1983, Houghton, MI
- AB Central State Teacher’s College, MI, 1929
- BS Mining Eng, MCMT, 1936
- MS Geophysics, MCMT, 1940 (Thesis Title: A null current indicator)
- Instr. Math and Physics, MCMT, 1926-1938
- Asst. Prof Math and Physics, MCMT, 1939-1943
- Assoc. Prof. Physics, MCMT, 1944-1947
- Prof. Physics, MCMT/MTU, 1948-1970
- Physics Department Head 1948-1954
- Registrar, MCMT/MTU, 1954-1970
- Director of Student Services, MTU, 1964-1970
- Member Association of Physics Teachers, Society for Engineering Education.
- Roman, I., and Sermon, T. C., A Magnetic Gradiometer, AIME Technical Publication no. 542, 17 pp, 1934.
- Roman, I., and Sermon, T. C., Some Recent Methods of Magnetic Prospecting, MCMT Bull., Vol 8, No. 1, 1934.
- Roman, I., and Sermon, T. C., Some Magnetic Gradiometer Developments During 1934-35, American Geophysical Union Transactions, 16th annual meeting, Wash. D.C., pt. 1, pp 181-188, National Research Council, 1935.
Jerry Hall Service
b. June 12, 1888, New Carlisle, IN
d. September 3, 1980, Eugene, OR
- BS in EE, Rose Polytechnic, 1912
- MS, Ohio State University, 1917 (Thesis Title: Effect of Introduction of an Obstacle into a Spark Gap)
- PhD, Ohio State University, 1928 (Thesis Title: The Transmission of Sound through Sea Water)
- Engineering Apprentice, GE Co., 1912
- Teacher, Morgan Park Academy. MN, 1913-1915
- Asst. in Physics, Ohio State, 1915-1917
- US Army School of Aeronautics, Ohio, 1917-1918
- Dean, Trade and Eng. Schools, Youngstown Inst. Tech, 1920-1923
- Engineer and Physicist, US Coast and Geodetic Survey, 1923-1928
- Prof. Physics and Math, Henderson State Teachers Coll., AR, 1928-1932
- Asst. Prof. Math and Physics, MCMT, 1932-1938
- Assoc. Prof. Math and Physics, MCMT, 1938-1946
- (On leave 1940-1946 during WW II, USN)
- Prof. Physics, MCMT, 1947-1952
- Physics Department Head, 1947-1948.
- Captain in US Navy. Retired to Harbor Springs, MI area.
- Active in VFW – compiled a list of Civil War Graves for Emmet Co., MI, in 1962.
- Jerry H. Service and George E. Frease, “A Laboratory Manual of Machine Shop Practice” (Van Nostrand Co., NY, 1924).
- N. H. Heck and J. H. Service, “Velocity of Sound in Sea Water,” Science 64, 627 (1926).
- J. H. Service, “Transmission of Sound through Sea Water,” J. Frank. Inst. 206, 779-807 (1928).
- Partlo, F. L., and Service, J. H., “Seismic Refraction Methods Applied to Shallow Overburdens,” AIME Trans Vol 110, p. 1, and Geophysical Prospecting 1934, pp. 473-492, 1934 (reprinted in MCMT Bull., vol 8, no. 2, 1935).
- F. L. Partlo and J. H. Service, “Instantaneous Speeds in Air of Explosion Reports at Short Distances from the Source,” Physics 6, 1-5 (1935).
- J. Fisher and J. H. Service, “Maximum Sensitivity-Setting of the Dip-Needle,” Terr. Mag. 41, 137-142 (1936).
- J. H. Service, “Essentials of Engineering Astronomy,” (NY, Prentice Hall, 1937, MCMT, Houghton, 1946).
- J. H. Service and F. L. Partlo, “Essentials of General Physics,” (Edwards Bros, Ann Arbor, 1940).
See also Special Publications No. 108 and 147 of the US Coast and Geodetic Survey, US Gov. Print Ofc., 1920’s.
b. November 26, 1916, Jackson, MI
d. June 3, 1989, St Paul, MN
- AB MI State Normal (Eastern Michigan Univ.), 1938
- BS Mining engineering, MCMT, 1942
- MS MCMT, 1950
- Ph.D. (Geophysics) Pennsylvania State Univ., 1958
- High School Teaching, Newberry MI, 1938-1940
- Survey Party Chief, U.S. Army Engineers, 1942-1943
- Engineering Officer, U. S. Navy, 1943-1946
- Research and Test Engineer, Acme Industries, 1946-1947
- Instructor, MCMT, 1947-1951 GTA, Penn. State Univ, 1951-1952
- Lecturer in Atomic Weapons, U.S. Navy, 1952-1954
- Graduate Student, Penn. State Univ., 1954-1957
- Assistant Professor, MCMT, 1957-1958
- Associate Professor, MCMT, 1958-1962
- Professor, MCMT/MTU, 1962-1986
- Captain, U.S. Naval Reserve, 1964-
- Ran NSF Sponsored Summer Program “Institute In Earth Science” in 1960’s.
- MCMT (MTU) Research Award, 1958
- MCMT (MTU) Honorary “M” Award, 1961
- MTU Distinguished Teacher Award, 1968
Ran Cross Country for Jackson, MI, High School and MI State Normal (“All State”). Said he really did not have a first name, but the Navy had no provision for that and they listed him as “Donald.”
- “Gravity Investigations in the Iron River-Crystal Falls Mining District of Michigan,” L. O. Bacon and D. O. Wyble, AIME Trans., Tech. Paper 3383L (1952).
- “Effect of Applied Pressure on Conductivity, Porosity and Permeability of Sandstones,” D. O. Wyble, Jour. Petro. Tech. I.N. 2202, Nov. (1958).
Keith M. Baldwin, 85, passed away on Thursday, January 16, 2014, at Marquette General Hospital.
He was born May 25, 1928, in Buffalo, N.Y. Moving to Michigan in 1937, he graduated from Eastern High School, Lansing, Mich., in 1946. During his high school years, he honed his skills in radio repair and early electronics which created a lasting interest in electronics that he fostered his entire life. Keith graduated from Michigan State University in 1950 with both a degree in physics as well as a state high school teaching certificate for physics and math.
In order to spend more time with his family Keith left industry in 1963 to pursue a career in teaching and joined the Michigan College of Mining and Technology as an Associate Professor of Physics. He taught many physics classes/senior lab and served as a faculty advisor for graduate students. In the early 70’s, Keith also became involved with the Keweenaw Research Center (KRC). He worked on vehicle research projects and helped to secure contracts for vehicle testing. After early retirement from MTU in 1984 at the age of 55, MTU partnered with Keith and formed KMB/Tech. He developed laboratory physics equipment marketed to physics teachers.
Professor Emeritus Don Daavettila (Physics) knew him well. “He was very interested in his subject and a very good teacher,” he said. “I enjoyed knowing him very much. He was also a Tech hockey fan, he was even at some games this year. Keith was a good guy.”
Professor Don Beck (Physics) also remembers his teaching ability. “I remember him saying that he liked teaching C and D students especially because he was able to see how much they learned as they progressed through his courses.”
Associate Professor Will Cantrell (Physics) and the Baldwins were members of the same congregation. “I remember Keith’s kindness and generosity,” he said. “He and his wife provided the piano we use for music, which has made quite a difference to our church.”
Don Beck, Michigan Tech professor emeritus in Physics, passed away on May 11, 2022.
Beck joined the Tech physics department in 1980 as part of an initiative to develop the research and Ph.D. programs in the department. His previous appointments included the University of Illinois, the National Hellenic Research Foundation in Athens, Yeshiva University and Yale.
Much of Beck's work at Tech centered on computational atomic physics applied to transition and rare-earth metal ions. He was passionate about his research and pursued it with persistence. He was an MTU research awardee in 1999 and named a fellow of the American Physical Society in 2001 in recognition of his seminal work on relativistic correlation methodologies in electronic structure theory.
Beck retired in 2016 having published over 150 scientific papers. He received funding from many sources, most notably for his ongoing work on Lanthanide ions, which received continuous NSF funding for over 30 years. He always played an active role in the department, College of Sciences and Arts, and University. Most notably, he helped develop and provide leadership for the graduate programs in the department. As a principal advisor, he graduated 10 Ph.D. and six M.S. students. At the University level, he was particularly active as an advocate for the Van Pelt and Opie Library and improved faculty benefits.
He was a friend, colleague and mentor to many in the department.
Former physics professor and Michigan Tech alum, David Chimino, passed away on July 5, 2019. Professor Chimino graduated from Michigan Tech with a Bachelor of Science degree in Engineering Physics and served as faculty in the Department of Physics for 42 years, teaching physics and astronomy.
During his tenure, Dave received the Distinguished Teaching Award and was appointed
the rank of Presidential Professor for his outstanding teaching. As stated by former
college dean and provost, Max Seel, “Dave’s endearing claim to fame was that he could
draw perfect circles on the chalkboard in physics class. Everyone who went through
his introductory physics lectures remembers.” Sue Hill had an undergraduate class
with him and said, “Dave was friends with his students. He always had time to talk
Professor Chimino built a private optical observatory in Atlantic Mine, named Amjoch Observatory after his parents. He was active in community outreach sharing his Cosmic Journey science lectures and after retiring as faculty, mentored Michigan Tech students pursuing their high school teaching certification in science and math. Dave will be remembered for his spirit of generosity and kindness.
Former physics professor and Michigan Tech alum, Donald Daavettila, passed away on July 31, 2019. Professor Daavettila graduated from Michigan Tech with a Bachelor of Science degree in Engineering Physics and a Master’s degree in Nuclear Physics. Following stints at Argonne National Lab and the Enrico Fermi reactor, Don was hired to develop a nuclear physics program at Tech. He served as faculty in the Department of Physics for 40 years.
During his tenure, Don received the State of Michigan Excellence in Teaching Award in 1991 and Michigan Tech’s Distinguished Teaching Award in 1994. He was a well-known figure in many Husky athletic programs, especially as timing official for home hockey games, and was inducted into the Michigan Tech Sports Hall of Fame in 2003. Following his retirement in 2000, he continued to teach in physics and serve as Tech’s radiation safety officer.
Professor Daavettila was the faculty advisor to the student and fraternal organizations, volunteered for Tech’s centennial fundraising, and was honored by the Alumni Association with their Outstanding Service Award in 2005. As stated by Ravi Pandey, physics chair, Don and his wife supported Michigan Tech in many aspects. He will be remembered for his cheerful and generous spirit.
Paul Revere Hinzmann, professor emeritus of physics, died on Nov. 30, at the Clark Retirement Home in Grand Rapids, Mich. He was 99 years old.
He was born in Tipton, Mich., and lived in Ohio before attending the Case Institute of Technology (now Case Western Reserve). He attended his 70th reunion there in 2005.
Hinzmann received a master’s degree in education from the University of Michigan before beginning his teaching career at Michigan Tech in 1946. He taught until 1977 and was also the University photographer during his tenure at Tech. He was recalled as a patient, caring teacher who loved the enthusiasm of students. After retirement, he was active in the local Boy Scouts chapter, Isle Royale Natural History Association, and Golden Kiwanis.
Paul was preceded in death by his parents and two brothers, Alvin and Wade. He is survived by his wife of 71 years, Elsie (Feigley) Hinzmann and his children, Georgia (Hugh) Makens of Grand Rapids, Mich. and Vincent (Nancy) Hinzmann of Milford, Mich. grandchildren and other family members.
Paul wished his body to be donated to science with the MSU Medical School being the recipient.
Richard E. Honrath
1961 - 2009
Michigan Technological University
Department of Geological and Mining Engineering and Sciences and Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering
Ph.D. Atmospheric Chemistry 1991 University of Alaska Fairbanks
Thesis title: Nitrogen Oxides in the Arctic Troposphere
MS Civil Engineering 1985 Carnegie Mellon University
Thesis title: Transport and Deposition of Sulfate and other Aerosol Species in the Arctic
BS Engineering and Applied Science 1984 California Institute of Technology
2006. Research Award, Michigan Technological University.
1996. Selected as co-coordinator for North America for Journal of Geophysical Research, Second NARE(North Atlantic Regional Experiment) Special Issue.
1991. Selected to attend first Atmospheric Chemistry Colloquium for Emerging Senior Scientists (ACCESSI), Boston (sponsored by NSF, NOAA, NASA, and DOE).
1984. R. K. Mellon Fellowship, Carnegie Mellon University.
1984. BS with honor, California Institute of Technology.
1983. Donald S. Clark Award, California Institute of Technology.
1983. Caltech Prize Scholarship, California Institute of Technology.
1983. Carnation Prize Scholarship, California Institute of Technology.
To honor Richard and to support his vision of scholarship, a memorial fund has been established. This fund will provide support for Richard E. Honrath Memorial Lecture and for undergraduate and graduate students whose major and/or research demonstrate a commitment to protecting the environment and/or the pursuit of knowledge about our earth's natural forces. Lecturers will be internationally recognized scholars in the arena of Atmospheric Sciences who will interact substantially with students during their visit.
Donations may be made in honor of Richard Honrath to the "Richard E. Honrath Memorial Fund" by mail through U.S. Postal Service to:
Richard E. Honrath Memorial Fund
Michigan Tech Fund
Michigan Tech University
1400 Townsend Dr.
Houghton, MI 49931
or through the online Michigan Tech Fund website
Suggestions for Richard E. Honrath Memorial Lecturers are requested from the campus community. We are seeking lecturers who can honor Richard’s legacy of scholarly research, environmental awareness, and graduate mentorship. The Lecture will be held in the fall of each year through the Earth, Planetary, and Space Science Institute (EPSSI) seminar series. Send suggestions to Will Cantrell, EPSSI Director, email@example.com.
Memorials from our Alumni, Students and Friends
I met Richard his first week at Caltech, when I was his upper-class counselor at frosh
camp. As fate would have, since we both ended up in the field of atmospheric science,
we ran into each other at conferences and
workshops over the years. I can still hear him talking excitedly about an observation station in the Azores. Richard was one of those people who seemed wise at an early age. I think that was because the person he
appeared to be on the outside was exactly who he was on the inside. He was contemplative, generous, and enthusiastic about his work and his family. He told me how much he loved living in Michigan, a wonderful place to raise a family, with all of the outdoor opportunities. It was clear that his family was completely and utterly important to him. He struck me as one of those people who every day gets up and says, "I love my life." My thoughts are with his family. It is clear from the photos and stories that I heard that you were so integral to his very being. I hope the memories of a lifetime with him are treasures you keep in your heart forever.
Cyndi Atherton, Pleasanton, CA
I was shocked and very sorry to read of Richard's death in the Caltech News. Persons
of his moral an intellectual calibre are too rare. I was the RA in Ricketts House
for much of Richard's stay at Caltech. I was also his friend. He, Dave and I drove
to Alaska one summer where he met Lori and we left Richard there with Lori in the
wilderness for the rest of that summer. I
remember taking him to a Wendy's in Alaska just before we left him so he could load up on salad (in the days when they had a salad bar.) He was not sure where his next vitamin was coming from. Dave and I drove back from Fairbanks to Sacramento in record time and I spent a night sleeping in his parents' backyard before heading back to Pasadena. Shine and I visited him and Lori in Pittsburg but then somehow lost touch. I still thought about him frequently, though. I had the deepest respect for his commitment to our world and our Earth. We need him now more than ever. Our hearts go to Lori.
We first met Richard on the day he married our daughter, Lori, on Dec. 22nd. 1984,
at our home in Red Bluff, Ca. This was while Richard was attending Carnegie Mellon
to get his masters. They had called about a month earlier to tell us they wanted to
get married and would like to have the wedding at our home with only family and close
friends. The only way he could get enough time off to make the trip from Pa. to Ca.
and back was during Xmas vacation so we said that was great and started planning for
this wedding with only a month notice. They had met the year before in Alaska where
Lori was working and Richard had come up to Denali National Park with 3 other boys
I believe it was. A cute story! Have Lori tell you about that! We knew he was very
intelligent but it wasn't until after he joined the faculty at Michigan Tech. that
we realized the person he
really was. You see, we knew him as the unassuming, quiet, family man and father side of him rather than the scientist, researcher, writer, etc. If we asked about his work, he would tell us in his own quiet way but never
bragged about the things he was doing. We have learned more about Richard from all the comments after his obituary, than we could have ever hoped for earlier. It was gratifying to see, while we were in Houghton those 2 1/2 weeks, all the outpouring of concern, help for Lori and the family, all the food provided, the support, the flowers, plants, the very nice people at Best Western Motel, the services, and I could go on forever. It was so nice to talk to so many people that were close to Richard and the family. It is very sad and hard to believe that Richard is no longer with us but we have to remember that we did have the privilege of knowing him for almost 24 years, that he and Lori led a very full life, and that they guided their children through their early years with so much love. He and Lori were such good parents, I can't stress that enough, and Lori will carry that on without him now but with him always in her mind.
Betty and Hugh Mills, Red Bluff, Ca.
Richard became a dear colleague and friend over the past 14 years here. As a colleague,
he was a delight to work with. Whether he was co-teaching a course, participating
in a meeting, working on a research proposal, or directing a program, he challenged
those working with him to identify a logical path to reach goals that would benefit
all the most. As a fellow faculty member and I reminisced at his memorial service,
he raised the level of whatever he was involved in, not the bar. That combination
of excellent critical thinking skills and ability to articulate the logic inoffensively
yet honestly was one of the things that made him a great colleague. In this way I
hope I can be more like Richard. I also appreciate the respect Richard showed those
with whom he worked by following through, and by making transparent his/a particular
group’s actions or intentions using those great communication skills of his and extra
effort. Richard acted upon an awareness of the need for a diverse faculty and student
body, and he promoted the growth and success of all students. I especially appreciate
his example in fostering success of women advisees. However, not only was Richard
a terrific colleague, it was in part he and Lori’s lovely family that convinced Noel
and I to proceed to adopt nine years ago. We relied on the Honrath’s advice through
the adoption process, and I credit our happy family journey until now in part to the
Honrath’s example, advice, and friendship. Before and after our daughter came home,
we had many memorable get-togethers with the Honraths and other friends. These will
continue in new forms without Richard, I hope. It is in these settings, whether it
was for a dinner, skiing, camping by the shore of Lake Superior, picnicking at Bob
Lake, or hiking to Kun-de-Kun falls, that I will remember Richard at his silliest
and gentlest. One such memory is of a Sunday afternoon a few years back when the
women cyclers met at the Honrath’s for a bike ride followed by dinner for all prepared
by Richard. (What a guy!) There was Richard, in the kitchen, carefully ironing a
frilly, pink blouse of Lori’s. (I have to wonder if he staged that one!) Thanks for
the example and the memories, Rich.
Judith Perlinger, Chassell, MI
Richard was such a wonderful person, with such compassion and sincerity. He was a
fellow student at Caltech, and we were project partners for a freshman engineering
course, as well as in the same dorm. He lived a life he loved, with outdoor activities,
research, and family. I remember his excitement to stay in Alaska, while his two
travel companions for the summer road trip returned back to the comfort of California.
like Richard", we thought, "Staying in a tent in Alaska.") He was so thrilled meeting and later marrying Lori and the two of them returned to Alaska so Richard could do his graduate work. I'm sure he was a great father -- I remember him writing shortly after the adoption of his first child, "People always say your life changes when you have a child -- but that's the point of it -- I want to have my life change and have a child". My thoughts are with his family.
Janet Tamada, Stanford, CA
I had the intention to write about Richard for a while now, but despite the few days
passed, it is still very hard to believe and accept what happened and it is even harder
to put in words my thoughts. I joined MTU less than a year ago and I met Richard for
the first time almost exactly a year ago when I first came to Houghton for my interview.
Richard was part of the hiring committee and, not knowing him personally at that time,
I was a bit intimidated by his achievements and his successes in science. When I came
here, I experienced immediately Richard’s genuine interest in building a strong atmospheric
science program at MTU. I enjoyed interacting with him and I appreciated his gentle,
humble, but enthusiastic approach to research and to education. Only after coming
here at MTU though, I could really value his ceaseless effort in bringing together
the atmospheric science group with warmth, respect and also with challenge … and of
course with his smile. I experienced his ability to work tirelessly and continuously
while I was going through the process, new for me, to recruit new Ph.D. students.
He was in the Azores at that time, but he kept answering my e-mails and inquires promptly,
even while he was at the Pico site. He provided me with real help and suggestions
pushing me in the right direction. It has been especially at that time that I really
appreciated his giving personality, his willingness to help at any time and in any
conditions and to move forward at any cost. During that e-mail exchange I also enjoyed
reading about his work in the field and his progress there… I had the desire to be
there with him scrambling up the mountain. Even during our science discussions here
at MTU Richard was always ready with suggestions and comments that showed his great
intelligence and his ability to quickly catch the important aspects of other people’s
research. Although I did not know much about that since very recently, I believe I
shared with him the fascination for a direct and bare-handed contact with the wild
nature. Unfortunately, I had little time to know him, but I still feel emotional when
I think of him and I will be missing him greatly. I know I learned a lot from Richard
will remain a model to follow.
Claudio Mazzoleni, Houghton, MI
Richard was my advisor from 1997 to 2002. During the years, he showed me all the characters
for being an excellent researcher and a great mentor. He was one of the most intelligent
people I have ever met, yet he was very kind, fair and understanding. He clearly cared
about his graduate students and tried to give them the best training possible. I was
absolutely shocked when I learned this tragic news. I kept in touch with him in these
years and thought about visiting Houghton sometime later. I imagined that we could
get together and talk over our lives over these years. Sadly, that will never happen...I
will deeply miss him. I truly wish that Lori and the children could pass through this
tragic time soon and get back to their usual life.
Jie Yang, Marietta, GA
I was really shocked to hear this news. Prof Richard Honrath was a extraordinary researcher
and a great person. He had the ability to explain the most difficult concepts in a
very simple manner. I was his graduate student and he was my mentor. I learned atmospheric
chemistry, air quality monitoring from him. Besides being an expert in his field,
he was very caring and affectionate and never made me feel that I am so far away from
my home. I still can not believe this. I pray to God to give his family courage and
strength to bear this irreparable loss.
Naresh Badwar, Delhi, India
Twenty years ago Richard was my very fist PhD student at the U of Alaska. I was a
new Assistant Professor still wet behind the years and so I was very lucky to have
such a strong student to start with. Richard and I made numerous trips up to Barrow
Alaska where he did most of his field work. What an interesting place that was! I
have such wonderful memories of that time with Richard. We developed a great friendship
and mutual respect for each others ideas. After he left the University of Alaska
and took his position at Michigan Tech, Richard did some really nice and original
scientific work, especially his observations in the Azores and his work on snowpack
chemistry. I have to say that it was extremely satisfying to see one of my former
students be so successful. I wish I could take some credit, but it was really Richard's
drive, intellect and integrity that made this happen! And now some of his graduate
students are also out in the scientific community doing excellent work. But the most
important things about Richard were not just his incredible intellect and creativity,
but also his integrity as a scientist and his commitment to his family. My heart goes
out to Lori and the entire family. You are in my prayers.
Dan Jaffe, Seattle, WA
I would like to share some words from Richard's memorial: Richard was my mentor and
my PhD advisor. We worked together for 8 years. After my graduation, he became also
my friend. Before I moved to Cambridge for my post-doc, I stopped by his office to
say goodbye. Richard told me he was very proud of me and he was not my advisor anymore.
After hearing that, I started being worried. He then continued and told me he was
now my friend and he would always be there for anything I needed. I will never forget
these words. Richard was proud of all his students, and I am honored to have been
a student of his. Richard was a great mentor. He wanted us to succeed and become good
scientists. Richard encouraged us to develop and bring up our own ideas even though
they could be wrong. And when they were wrong, he would never say directly “that’s
wrong”. He would ask questions or give examples to make us realize we were in the
wrong track. I still remember when I gave Richard the first draft of my master thesis.
I had written that quite fast and it had turned out very bad. I guess it was not easy
for Richard to tell me straight how bad my thesis was. So he came to my office, sat down
and started talking. He used an analogy on soccer. At first, I did not know what he
was trying to say. Plus, I never thought Richard was a fan of soccer, much less of
an expert. I remember thinking “what= is he talking about?” He explained how to score
a goal playing soccer. There are two ways: One is playing slowly, criss-crossing to
get closed to the goal and finally kick the ball in the back of the net; the other
is to try to kick the ball from your side of the field directly into the goal of the
opponent team, which is evidently not the best of the tactics. In my case, I had kicked
the ball ahead from very far away and, of course, I had not even gotten close to scoring.
I finally got what was the message “rewrite your whole thesis” and sincerely appreciated
the way the message was delivered. I then started working on single sections and then
chapters, discussing each part with Richard, I put the whole thesis together and finally
graduated. I learned Richard’s “tactics” of small steps, which I used throughout my
PhD and I still use. Richard was intelligent and brilliant. He had an amazing way
of analyzing and debugging problems. That made him very efficient. He could find a
problem on an instrument by simple describing the “symptoms” in his lab notebook and
drawing conclusions on the possible causes. After he was done, he just needed to go
and fix that particular problem. As for myself, my method for fixing things was brute-force
trial and error, possibly using a hammer. Richard was very patient with me, taught
me how to understand the instruments at the station and spent hours showing me how
to find and fix a problem. I never became as good as Richard, but at least I stopped
using the hammer. Richard always chose very remote places where to conduct his research:
Greenland, Azores, Newfoundland… but, Richard didn’t like to be away from his family.
During our field trips to the Azores, Richard was always working, whether writing
on his laptop, reviewing papers, or checking instruments. One day I asked him how
he could concentrate and have so much done away from his office. He replied: “Well,
I need to focus and work as much as possible while I am away from my family, so that
when I am back home I can spend all my time with them”. Many people in the atmospheric
science community knew Richard well and admired his research work. In the last week,
I have received several emails from scientists all over the US and Europe saying how
great, good person and exceptional scientist Richard was. One scientist wrote“Richard
will live on in the accomplishments of his students.” For me, this is a great responsibility,
and I can only promise that I will do all I can to live up to Richard’s accomplishments
as well as transmit his teaching and mentoring to younger scholars.
Maria Val Martin, Cambridge, MA
It is hard to imagine that a person like Richard Honrath, a professor I always will
be proud of having been his student, is no longer among us. I hope there will be scientists
sharing his interest for education that will follow his steps in learning about nature
that knowledge to all.
Leonardo Di Mare, Medellin, Colombia
Let me say it straight, and simple - Richard was a good man. He was a very good scientist,
and community and family man. He did everything that he did with a most wonderful
grace and humility. I know that I can say that for myself, and for many others, we
wish that we could be more like Richard. This is one measure of impact. You will
be sorely missed, Richard.
Paul B. Shepson, West Lafayette, IN
I am so sorry to hear of the loss of Dr. Honrath. He was a great man and fabulous
teacher, always full of fun stories and plenty of enthusiasm. I enjoyed the time
I spent with him during my years at Tech - including his stories of adventure while
kayaking. I'm sorry future students will not have the chance to learn from him. My
heart goes out to his family.
Britt (Forrer) Daiss, Hill City, SD
Words shared at Friday's service: I usually don't have the courage to speak at these
events, but I know Rich never lacked for courage. So I will try to convey my thoughts.
My greatest condolences to Lori and to Rich's family; you have lost a treasure and
we thank you for sharing him with us for these too-few years. I was out of town
when I heard this news and it felt impossible and unreal until I returned on Wednesday
and could feel the void on our campus as I approached, as through there was a little
rip in the universe centered at Michigan Tech. Rich came to Tech several years before
I did so he has always been a part of my academic environment. I worked with him on
several activities, and I feel very honored to be a co-author on several publications
with him. I won't reiterate what you all know of Rich's extraordinary professional
accomplishments, but want to give a small sense of the intangibles that made him
so successful. One piece was his total dedication to science of the highest quality,
a standard to which he held himself as well as his students, co-workers, and collaborators.
In return, he gave complete respect and serious consideration to the ideas and opinions
of other people, whether a child, an undergraduate student or a senior scientist.
Like all really great scientists, Rich had an insatiable curiosity. Like all successful
ones, he was able to pick out important problems, ask important questions, and organize
efforts to pursue them. Perhaps what I admired most was Rich's ability to focus like
a laser on the essential crux of an issue, whether it was a fundamental scientific
question, a practical research problem, a student question, or just how to get a group
of people all headed toward a common goal. He would quietly listen to people blundering
around trying to figure out the central issue, then would just calmly point it out
to the group; I watched for those moments to try to figure out how he did it. It is
rare in my job to feel happy to be going to yet another meeting, but because of his
insights and unfailingly positive outlook that's how I felt when Rich was going to
be there. Rich displayed the highest ethical values in his science and in every other
situation where I saw him. He ceaselessly searched for the truth and enthusiastically
enlisted others to join him. Because of those traits, he was a terrific mentor to
students, postdocs, and faculty members. We all have times when we're frustrated and
wonder how we can do better in all our various endeavors. Often when that mood comes
upon me, and I've cast about for roll models for all manner of activities, my conclusion
has been "try to be more like Rich". I will keep trying to follow that advice to
myself, as I expect many of you will also. I know that we will all carry a part of
this remarkable person with us always.
Sarah Green, Calumet, MI
I would like to echo the sentiments from several other students, that I feel extremely privileged to have been able to work with Richard, even if it was for only a short time. Any technical questions I had regarding the project in Greenland, I knew that he was the perfect person to ask. His advice and tremendous knowledge will be sorely missed.
Brie Van Dam, Boulder, CO
I first met Richard in the 9th grade. He was in a few of my classes but I will always remember him as the guy on our cross country team who could make anyone laugh. We were in marching band together, and of course, Richard played first trumpet as a freshman. With his easy going manner, sharp mind, and athletic prowess, Richard was a great guy to have on your side in either a debate or a sporting contest. I was very sorry to hear of Dr. Honrath's passing, and am quite sure that he is one of a select few who actually leave this world better off than before they came into it. My prayers are with his family and friends.
Kevin Robinson, Twin Falls, ID
Richard or “Dicky” as I knew him were great friends as very young kids living across the street from each other in Sacramento, California. I thought that I would like to share the only photo that have of him. It’s from one of those rare rainy days where it pours down so hard that the drainage system just can’t handle the load. Us kids thought there was enough water in the street to float a boat and we did. Someone called the Sacramento Bee and the rest was history. Richard is seen here piloting the Honrath family canoe down our street with one of my sisters and the kid next door. I am very sorry that he is gone but was very happy to have spent many good times together being kids. I will remember him always. Loren Root, McHenry, IL
It was a beautiful and moving memorial service yesterday. So many people articulated
wonderfully Richard's grace and contributions. Wayne, particularly, helped to point
the way forward and Alex inspired us to draw from Richard's passion and personal commitment
to solving the enormous problem that climate change presents us. I'm on the MTU faculty
and I got to know Richard during last year's Environmental Sustainability faculty
university-wide hiring initiative. Our search committee started with about 30 people,
but ten months of sometimes difficult weekly meetings later, we were often down to
about 7 regulars - John, Jason, Will, Sue, Andrew, Richard, and me. Others came sometimes
and many contributed invaluably, but mostly it was us by then. At the end of a year
of working together, we did about 18 interviews in around 6 weeks. It was very intense,
but so worthwhile, and we bonded together deeply. I came to like and respect Richard
so much - like me, he was very focused on using the process to build MTU's capacity,
but especially that of his graduate program. But he was always gracious, sometimes
funny in the silliest way, and above all, thoughtful. He was a key part of MTU's wonderful,
extensive circle of environmental sustainability faculty and his loss leaves us with
a hole in our circle and our hearts. However, we also know that he left us a tremendous
legacy, including the fact that we were able to attract Claudio, Lynn, Paul, and Shiliang,
four top-notch atmospheric scientists, to MTU during last years university-wide search,
in large part due to Richard. In fact, when our search committee asked one of them
why they wanted to come here, they said, "to work with Richard Honrath." Richard
was a world-class scientist and a world-class human being, I'll miss him very much,
and I am lucky to have known him.
Kathy Halvorsen, Michigan Tech, Social Sciences
As noted above, our family made its contribution to the post World War II baby boom -- and it was in the context of holiday gatherings over many years that I enjoyed Richard's company as one of our more-than-a-dozen cousins. I'm shocked to consider that we were separated by only three years in age. In youth, it seemed a more significant chasm in time. Too many of my memories of Richard are of this younger cousin. They are uniformly happy: we were often engaged in games, or playing jokes - - practical or impractical. Our travels later in life took us each in interesting, but different directions. I followed with pride his academic success -- even more impressed that every aspect of his professional and personal life indicated contribution to a greater good. We had recently been back in touch, and were to have shared dinner May 4 while he visited Washington, D. C. on business. I regret not having known Richard the husband, father and gifted, caring scientist -- but am not surprised that the curious and kind cousin with whom I played as a child grew up to become the exceptional man now recalled. I am so sorry for his loss.
Chas Henry, Annandale, VA
Richard and me came to Michigan Tech almost at the same time. Our families were close due to our common interests. From the very beginning I noticed that he was an avid nature lover. No doubt that his research interests were in atmospheric sciences. He loved being an outdoorsman. Like many great scientists, he was unassuming despite being brilliant, simple in actions and words yet genius in approach, straight forward in talk
yet elegant in thought, and above all a person who loved everyone and enjoyed his life to the fullest. Personally, our family will miss you, but I know for sure that the broader scientific community will miss your intellect and contributions. But your scientific legacy in through your efforts at Azores (and in numerous publications) will continue to make a lasting impact in saving our planet.
Ghatu Sabhash, Gainesville, FL
I have not been fully able to process the fact that I will not meet Richard in the
hallways of DOW and Dillman any more. He was my masters adviser from 1999-01 and
left a deep impression on me. He was clearly THE most intelligent person I have met
but was surprisingly easy to talk to. As many have noted here, I was always amazed
at his ability to convey complex ideas with so much clarity. He expected his students
to work hard but was always there to help them. There were many days when I will
be heading home at midnight and I'd see a light under his door. I am deeply saddened
by his untimely death but very grateful for the privilege of having worked with him.
Thank you Richard for all your help and advise. Sincere condolences to Lori, Ramey
Raman Gopalan, Hubbell, MI
My most memorable thing about Richard was his ever-present smile. Even in a tough rapid. I still remember him doing Hang 'Em High on the Eagle. He had that big, old long boat and old, obsolete life jacket. He ran that rapid like a very smooth pro. Didn't blink, sweat or look nervous. I will always remember him doing Hang 'Em High. Most of us didn't run it that day and the ones that did, looked a tad sloppy or swam. Richard hit everything perfectly. Until that moment, I didn't know he was that good because he tended to walk a lot of drops that I had run and I didn't think they were overly difficult. I think it was that same weekend or there abouts that he invited our entire gang to sleep in his house. Richard and his wife were very generous. They wanted us comfortable and we were a rather large group. I ended up sleeping in the living room where Jim Paul had just completed remodeling. I was very impressed with Jims workmanship. I know the Honraths were pleased with it too. I recall, also, that he had two children that he and his wife adopted. I paddled with Richard several times on several rivers, more than I can remember right now. But on some occasions I would leave work early, drive four hours from Appleton and Richard would meet me at the Sturgeon River south of Lanse, with Jim P, Mike D or Robert P. He was always punctual. I would've paddled more with him but to Richard his family always came first. He would attend his children's music recitals or sporting events as much as possible. Paddling sometimes came second as some days his work didnt seem too eminent. I know from the way he talked that his work was very meaningful to him. I just can't imagine, right now, that he has passed from us. He was full of life.
Peter Meyer, Appleton, WI
When I remember Richard, I think about music and sled dogs. I had the wonderful experience
of singing a few songs with Lori at an open microphone night at an art gallery in
Hancock about 15 years ago. Lori played guitar and Richard played mandolin. I was
told he had recently taught himself to play in an outrageously short amount of time,
but he sounded like a pro. They invited me and my kids to their house to practice
the songs. My grown daughter, Brianna, still talks about their sled dog named Goofy.
Mostly, though, I remember the uncontained joy when he told me that he and Lori were
going to be parents.
Mary J. (Babiera) Hana, Maybee, MI
Richard was my cousin, a special boy, and a special man. I had the privilege of babysitting
Little Dick, as we called him then. I would take him in the stroller and Tovar, Linda's
dog by my side, and we would walk in the early summer evenings listening to my transistor
radio. Later,when he was a little older, Little Dick would make himself a seat between
me and my boyfriends on the couch. It'd get pretty crowded with three people crunched
together. When Richard started school he had three girls helping him with his work
and teaching him life skills. Even though we kept in touch through letters, pictures,
and the family network in later years, my feelings for Richard remained the same.
I really loved my cousin Richard. I feel honored to have been a part of Richard's
life. He will be sorely missed. We all knew he was a genius. It's wonderful to know
the that inspiration, the humor, the patience and knowledge we all knew he had, helped
so many students and people as evidenced by the comments posted here. I just can'
believe his time on Earth would be so short. I also just had a thought, Momma
Donna will probably be surprised to meet Richard in heaven so early.
Alice M. Eisenhut-Torres, Nipomo, CA
It has been almost a week and I still feel very hard to face the reality that Richard
has left us. I have been a colleague of Richard for only 3 months, but he has impressed
and influenced me so much that I would like to say: No matter how arrogant I was,
I became humble after listening to him; no matter how humble I was, I became more
positive and confident with what I am doing after talking with him. Richard, you will
be missed very much, by many.
Shiliang Wu, Michigan Tech, Houghton, MI
I was one of Richard’s first Master’s students at MTU. He was a brilliant researcher
yet very unassuming. He was a motivating advisor who could bring the best out of every
student. I vividly remember that many students were scared of taking his Advanced
Air Pollution class. But once they took it, they came out feeling that they really
learned a lot. He had an innate knack of making even the most complex subject very
simple. He was also very compassionate and helpful to students. Subhash, me and our
children are extremely fortunate to have known Richard and his family. Lori, Ramey
and Prabha – our thoughts and prayers are with you. Richard will be dearly missed
by all of us.
Shobha Subhash, Gainesville, FL
I have not only been privileged to know Richard but to be related to him too! I am another of the 18 cousins that Lynn Eisenhut spoke of. I have wonderful memories of playing with him when we were children, sitting around chatting as we got older. I will always remember his infectious laugh. As I read everything that has been written here it just proves what I already knew, that Richard was a wonderful Husband, Father, Professor,
Friend. I am so honored to have had him in my life.
Laura Schafer, Aurora, CO
Richard Honrath was an excellent scientist who put a great deal of effort and care
into the projects he worked on. I now realize that he lived the rest of his life
that way too. I was very impressed by his commitment to his students, and his calm
manner in the face of both success and adversity. He was a very responsible member
of the community, with a great record of service. He will truly be missed.
Eric Hintsa, Arlington, VA
I first met Dick Honrath (I never got used to calling him Richard) in 1971. He had
Drew Carey dark frame glasses, almost white hair and his usual suntan to match. We
both dealt with some school yard taunts but nothing out of the ordinary in 4th grade.
We were in Boy Scouts together and I remember a high altitude snowbound backpacking
trip when the whole troop ended up at our camp because we had the only dry camp with
a fire. I ran track & cross- country with him in high school and spent plenty of time
goofing around with him. He was our voice expert for telephone gaffs. Without bursting
into laughter, he calmly made up the name of an imaginary corporation or other "very
serious" character to pull off some of the funniest pranks ever. One made it on television
and our friend Paul Silberstien took the wrap for some others. He was always willing
to help me with difficult math/algebra/physics and we were in all the same science
classes for six years, but I remember him most having fun out doors. I keep an old
canoe by the side of my house just like the one his family had at his folks place.
It always reminds me of him.
Thomas E. Foran, Sacramento, CA
He was my advisor for less than a year, but he left a big mark in my life. He was
one of the most brilliant professors that I ever had. Always smiling, even if I did
something totally wrong, he told me “don’t be so hard with yourself, everybody can
made a mistake”. Sometimes funny, sometimes tough, he always knew what I was trying
to ask, where exactly was my mistake, and how to explain me in the most simple way…I
wasn’t so lucky to share with him more time, and I wish now to have worked more hard
during this 2 semesters to show him how grateful I am because he trusted in me and
give me the opportunity to come here. Thanks Richard. I’ll do my best to deserve have
been your student.
Claudia Toro, Houghton, MI
I feel privileged to have been able to work alongside Richard this past year. He was
a world-class scientist and an inspirational advisor. Whatever we were doing, whether
it was setting up instruments in Greenland or sitting in his office solving problems,
he always had a smile on his face and such enthusiasm for his work. I have had such
a wonderful experience working with Richard and I will miss him greatly.
Louisa Kramer, Houghton, MI
Richard was my cousin, one of the "little cousins," second to last out of 18. Although
we had not seen each other in recent years, his family and mine spent most holidays
together when he was a boy. At the time, I was not as impressed by him as those sharing
their thoughts here...come on, wouldn't you be irritated by a kid (egged on by his
sisters!) who kept trying to prove he was smarter than you by asking "Do you know...?"
Since he was only about 6 and I was 17, I won most of the time, but still...! Today,
I AM impressed by the kind of man he grew into, as evidenced by these comments of
friends, students and colleagues. At first, I mourned the passing of Richard, my cousin;
now, I also mourn the passing of a man of extraordinary integrity, generosity and
tolerance, taken from the world far too soon.
Lynn Eisenhut, Anaheim, CA
I first got to know Richard by taking his course in atmospheric chemistry several years ago. Being a relatively new grad student, I was a bit intimidated. Here was a man with a passion for science that he wore on
his sleeve. He had a genuine belief in rigor in the pursuit of science and would accept nothing less from his colleagues and students. There were no short cuts and no simplifications. He made you do it his way, the right way, but he was always there with a smile and laugh to help you get there. As I got to know him better as a member of my graduate committee and as a fellowship mentor, his kindness and zest for life were obvious. I am a better person and a better scientist as a result of knowing and working with Richard. As a scientist, professor, and community member, he was a true role model.
Alan Talhelm, Reno, NV
Wow, why do bad things happen to such good people. I met Rich and Lori in Fairbanks and can't tell you the number of interesting conversations we had on all sorts of topics - atm. chemistry and otherwise. Rich had what I call "quiet competence." It was great to just hang out with them and their dogs. I also got to see them in Houghton - what a happy house that was. I am sad.
Matt Zukowski, Anchorage, AK
I was fortunate to share research field trips with Richard from Boulder to Newfoundland
to the Azores. It was some of the most exciting research that I have been involved
in, but what I will most remember was Richard's quiet, confident smile and quick laugh.
I am very sad that he is gone, and will miss him greatly.
David Parrish, Niwot, CO
I first met Richard at a kayak roll session about 17 years ago. He and Dave Bullock
would patiently take me along on the local rivers and helped me develop some paddling
skills. And then about 10 years ago he hired me as a technician to help set up some
instruments on the highest point of the Greenland ice cap. That was a tough project
but Richard led the way and made everything seem easy. He then came up with an even
harder project in the Azores Islands where he planed to put some fully automated store
bought as well as home built instruments on top of a steep wet and sometimes ice covered
7000 foot volcano in the north Atlantic and operate them year around. One reviewer
of that proposal knew Richard and said that Richard was the only scientist that could
pull that off. It was tough and harsh work at times but Richard would lead us through
with his keen intellect, boundless patience and that smile of his. Richard, you will
be deeply missed.
Mike Dziobak, Houghton, MI
I had the pleasure of meeting Richard on a field campaign in Greenland last summer. Even though I was just an 18-year-old undergraduate working in research for the first time, Richard treated me with utmost respect and equality, sharing many details of his work and life with me on those cold, snowy nights. Reading about all the contributions he has made, both to science and to the lives of his loved ones, I am even more impressed by the life that he led. I wish I had gotten to know you better, Richard; you will be missed.
Max Schneider, Los Angeles, CA
My thoughts, and sympathies are with Lori and the children on this sad, sad occasion.
Rich was a wonderful, loving, gentle, kind, compassionate individual, not to mention
a smart and effective researcher and academician. I am proud to have considered him
my friend, and I have spent the weekend grieving his loss. My heart especially goes
out to his wife Lori. Lori, I am so sorry for your loss. I wish there was something
I could do, I feel useless being so many miles away, and wish I could be at the memorial
on Friday. I thought the world of Rich, and will miss him,
too. Richard Honrath was a great scientist and a great person.
Floyd Henderson, Calumet, MI
He made major contributions to the study of air pollution and the global balance of the earth - but more than that, he was just the sort of person you want as a colleague. He was always generous in helping others, he was especially encouraging to students and young people just starting out in their careers. I and many others will remember him both as a scientist and as a kind person.
Sanford Sillman, AOSS, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI
Thank you Richard for being warm and welcoming and bringing Lori with you to Houghton
and sharing friendship. I especially loved the luminaria in the woods at new years
in the snow with the bonfire and the Christmas tree light sledding. What an effort
and so worth it! Thank you. Peace to you and to Lori and Ramey and Prabha.
Love, Harriet King
Richard and Lori came to Tech shortly after I did. I recall going out to their place
on Otter Lake with Mary Babiera and my dog, Casey, and learning to Skijor. Richard
gave me a photo of Casey, but he called her Chewbacca. It was at this time that they
were getting their home ready for the adoption process. It's Ramey's arrival that
I recall the most. Richard and Lori worked so hard to get everything ready for him
and to ease his transition to Houghton and to school. Last Winter, I was at their
house working on Ski Tiger stuff. Prabha was working on her science fair project.
Richard's comment was that she had a good project and that her write-up would be colorful
with many font types. When I think of Richard, Lori's name is always attached, along
with his children. I will miss his quiet and gentle presence at Tech and within the
Gretchen Hein, Calumet, MI
Richard and I were in grad school together at Carnegie Mellon University when he was there in 1984-85. Once, the night before he was to depart for a summer of fieldwork in Greenland, I made him a departure dinner – Lori was away working at a summer job at a national park. Richard didn’t make it to Greenland that trip – he ended up in the intensive care unit of the local hospital with acute pancreatitis. (I’ve never allowed any connection between my home-cooked meal and his hospitalization – but I think he forgave me anyway!). We kept in touch over the years, although I regret not having been to Houghton in 13 years. Fortunately, Richard’s tremendous professional accomplishments allowed him to occasionally come to Washington for work and we saw each other periodically. My heart goes out to all who feel his loss directly and acutely. He and the world deserved each other for much longer. We’ll all have his smile to remember. (And I had to rewrite this to change all my present tenses to past tense - very sad.)
John Borrazzo, Washington DC
I first paddled the L’Anse area rivers with Rich and Dave about 15 years ago. One could tell that these guys were fast friends as well as good kayakers. Rich always had a relaxed, at-peace sort of vibe that made him really enjoyable to paddle with. Impressive in his generosity, he once spontaneously invited our entire Minnesotan entourage of about 8 (smelly) boaters bivouacking at Silver Falls to stay at his place in Baraga. He was unusually knowledgeable scientifically, and yet he seemed quite humble and approachable in his academic capacity. I would have liked to have had more time to know him. It is obvious that his loss is a unique tragedy for your community. Please accept my sincere condolences.
Paul Everson St Paul, Minnesota
The days that I saw you parking your bike, even on days like today with ridiculous weather, always brought me joy and admiration to see someone who loved and respected the atmosphere enough to study its chemistry and spare it from auto exhaust whenever possible.
Karl Peterson, Houghton, MI
Richard was the best uncle anyone could ask for. From helping me with my math homework in school (any A's can be directly attributed to him) to dishing about my latest boyfriend, he was always able to relate and make me laugh. Reading the comments from his former students and colleagues reminds me how incredibly accomplished and gifted he was in his career, but with his family he had a knack for stripping that all away and just having fun and being silly. It seems like yesterday that we all sat down for Christmas dinner and it is hard to believe that I won't see him again in a few months. My uncle was the kindest, gentlest, funniest, and most genuine person you could ever hope to meet. He will be so missed by so many.
Jessica Ransdall, San Francisco, CA
I know I am speaking for many of Richard’s colleagues at the NOAA Earth System Research Laboratory in Boulder when I say he was a good friend to us and a first class scientist who made great contributions to our field of
research. We have valued our collaborations with Richard and his students (especially Chris Owen and Maria Val Martin) over the years and will sorely miss his comradery and insight. My thoughts are with the Honrath family whom I had the pleasure of meeting when Richard invited me over for a cookout on a visit to Michigan Tech. I'll miss you Richard
Owen Cooper, Boulder, Colorado
I'm very sad to hear of Richard's passing. He was a remarkable person and delightful to talk to. Last year peer-reviewed one of his papers. It's very rare that a paper can bowl you over the way this one did. It was easily one of the finest papers I have ever reviewed, and I remember commenting on Richard's exceptional ability to make complex ideas accessible. A great loss, my thoughts are with Richard's family and friends.
Isobel Simpson, Medicine Hat, Alberta
Richard, You will be sorely missed. Always someone to go to when the math/chemistry
got hard, you will leave behind a void, personally and professionally. I hope friends
and family can find some small comfort in the fact your died doing something you loved.
Lenny and I will remember you on the East Branch.
Matt Watson, GMES, Houghton
I will never forget Richard's positive attitude towards his work and his life. He always had a smile to share when I spoke with him. Richard possessed a great intellect and took on new challenges and succeeded. We will miss you Richard. The world is definitely a better place because you were in it.
I had the privilege of working with Richard when he first came to MTU - he as a Professor and I was the administrative aide for the Civil & Envir. Engr. Dept. This is a big loss for his family, his extended MTU family, and anyone who ever had contact with him. He was a nice man. I am sorry for the loss to all of you, and the universe at-large. Be strong!
Katie Paxton, Lexington SC
It is always difficult to put feelings into words, but I just needed to write something, after hearing the news about Richard's passing. I had the honor and privilege of being his student twice, for Atmospheric Chemistry and for the Atmospheric Science seminar, a few years ago, when I was a GMES Ph.D. student. He was definitely one of the best teachers I ever had in my life and I thank him for that. It is only too sad that others won't have the opportunity I had to be in his classes. He will be missed so much.
Lizzette A. Rodriguez, Mayaguez, Puerto Rico
I still couldn't believe it's true. Actually I just saw him three weeks ago in a seminar. He was always such active and positive. Although I just took one class from him last year, I think he's one of the greatest and respectable people I've ever known. He's always smiling.nice to everybody. You can feel his love towards people and the world through his eyes. And he's a great teacher, too. He had beautiful notes for every single lesson. His homework was tough but very inspiring. He could always find a way to make complicated things simple and understandable. I really learned a lot from him. I hope he's at peace now and his family and all the friends will get through this. We'll miss you, Dr. Honrath.
Na Hu, Houghton, MI
Few months ago, we had Richard over for dinner and talked about his love for kayaking. I had another colleague who oo died living the saying of Helen Keller “Life is nothing if it is not an adventure”. Though I am sad about passing away of Richard, I shall remember him for his adventurous spirit in the intellectual and the physical world.
Madhukar Vable, ME-EM Department, Michigan Tech
I knew Dr. Honrath since I took his class Atmospheric Chemistry last spring. He's such a great professor that he made this class so interesting and we are all very eager to learn. At first, I was somehow very behind, and he talked with me, and helped me out. And he also helped us a lot in how to reading papers, which is very important to a graduate student. He inspired me how to study if you are really interested in some research area. I love his class. I still remembered, just a couple weeks ago, i saw him in a seminar, and he asked questions. And Now, I cannot believe what just happened to him. I am gonna miss him forever. We are all gonna miss him forever.
One of the hardest working persons I have ever met.
Koko, Calumet, MI
Richard was a wonderful mentor who had this amazing ability to describe any complex, confusing problem in a very simple way, till it became very clear, but without being oversimplified. He would do this high-level, internationally-acclaimed research, but he could explain its importance to any middle-school student. He was truly one of those scientists who could communicate science to the general public. He was the most responsible person I have ever known. He couldn’t tolerate sloppy work from anyone, and he was always perfect in whatever he was doing. He was very serious about his responsibilities as an adviser of his students. He could always find time for us, no matter how busy he was, how many projects he was working on, how many hours of sleep he had. He was always there for you if you get stuck with your research or have a question that you don’t know how to approach. He would never answer it for you, but he would lead you to the point where you knew exactly what to do. He was very passionate about his research, and working with him was sometimes challenging, but always rewarding and exciting.
Kateryna Lapina, Fort Collins, CO
Summer 1979 or so. Dick's parents headed out on a long summer trip and left Dick at home that summer with a supply of travelers checks for food, gas, etc. This was, of course, a High School student's dream. Dick and I took that little Spider Fiat out and had a wonderful time. That summer we headed down to San Franciso and went to see the Mood Blues at the Cow Palace and went to find our friend Tom in San Francisco who parents had a house near Mount Davidson. I remember all summer long Dick's line at every story was, "do you take travelers checks?" Cashing them was never easy. I figured I would see him again at some point and we would go out for a run, maybe 3 or 4 miles. You never know when the last time you will see a person is and for me it was way too long ago. How I wish I could go on one last run with him....Dick, I shall forever hold you in the light. Your friend,
Paul Silberstein, Dulles, VA
I've known Richard since he was eleven. I was twenty when I met him. I married his sister and in return he helped me with calculus. I quickly got over that he was younger and smarter. I showed him how to downhill ski and he didn't like it. The outfits were too flashy for him. That was the 80's. He will so be missed.
James T. Ransdall, Pleasanton, CA
Gladys and I are shocked to learn of this awful tragedy!! We knew dear Richard and respected him so much for his gentle manner and for his brilliance. I was with him all through graduate school in Alaska as one of the professors in the department. He was always so eager to learn and appreciative of everybody’s efforts. He was liked by his fellow students and by all the people in the Geophysical Institute. It was such a pleasure to have such a peaceful, thoughtful and quite extraordinary student. Later, I was so pleased to learn that Richard was working with my son Raymond Shaw at Michigan Tech. Raymond constantly spoke of how much he loved working with Richard and how he admired his friendly, peaceful manner. They got to be friends and they were close friends and colleagues. I cannot quite believe that my friend Richard as passed away and in fact I can sense his spirit, still alive, and all the way over here in Japan where I am currently visiting. He was one of the most unselfish persons I have known. I pray that all his loved ones and friends will find peace in knowing that Richard was so wildly loved and admired and we will all continue to profit from his example.
Glenn and Gladys Shaw, Fairbanks, AK
The news came as a shock to me. I can't believe Richard is no more. He was a wonderful human being, a great father, and a dear friend. Always smiling, willing to help others and full of life. What a terrible tragedy. My sincere condolences to the family. I can't imagine what they must be going through. I wish I can say time will heal everything, but one will only learn to cope with the passing of time. The sweet memories of his wonderful life on this planet will hopefully keep us marching on....
Mohan Rao, Houghton, MI
Richard, scientist, teacher, paddler, skijoring machine-father... husband... good guy... you leave us all with something more than we had... see you on the other side,
Drew Pilant, Chapel Hill, NC
Robert A. Janke, who loved cross-country skiing, indulged a pronounced sweet tooth, mainly in the form of pies, and devoted himself to his work at Michigan Tech and on Isle Royale, died Wednesday, Dec. 22, 2010, at Portage Pointe. He was 88. Janke taught at Tech for more than 40 years—first physics, then biology. His specialty was plant ecology, in particular the identification of the flora of Isle Royale, where he also studied forest succession–from both natural change and from fire–as well as the effects of moose on the forests.
Colleagues recall Janke as physically fit, intellectually solid, and socially inclined. “He just liked people,” said Ken Kraft, a colleague. “He loved to lead a group on weekend cross-country skiing outings.”
Kraft, a former associate professor, first met Janke in 1961. Kraft described Janke as both a park naturalist and a scientist on Isle Royale, where he worked every summer, beginning in the 1940s. “He had an affection for Isle Royale,” Kraft recalls. “He’d still be there if he could.”
Professor Emeritus Rolf Peterson, who first met Janke in 1967, recalls him as “a very cheerful guy who was helpful and reliable.” Peterson didn’t work with Janke, but they both worked extensively on Isle Royale, so they crossed tracks often. Peterson described Janke as a man of integrity and accomplishment–“known for his work in forest ecology for many decades, and one of the first two forest ecologists at Tech.”
Janke, who retired in the early 1980s, earned a bachelor’s degree in physics from the University of Michigan, a master’s in physics from Michigan Tech, and a doctorate in biology from the University of Colorado.
Janke attended Portage Lake United Church, in Houghton, where he was active in the choir. He also enjoyed singing in the Copper Country Chorale and the Ecumenical Choir, and he enjoyed folk dancing.
In 1944, he married the former Nadine Key. The couple lived first in Houghton and then Boston Location. His wife preceded him in death in 2006.
Surviving are four children, seven grandchildren and six great-grandchildren.
"Charles Earle Mandeville III, educator, administrator, and experimentalist in low-energy
nuclear physics, died in Socorro, New Mexico, on January 14, 2003 of complications
from a stroke.
Born on September 3, 1919 in Dallas, Texas, Mandeville was valedictorian of his class at Adamson High School. He served as a private in the Texas National Guard 112th Cavalry band from 1936 to 1937 while attending Rice University, where he received a BA in 1940, MA in 1941, and PhD in 1943, all in physics. His PhD thesis, “The Energies of Some Nuclear Gamma-rays,” was under the supervision of Harold A. Wilson. He was a fellow in physics at Rice while a graduate student. Until the end of World War II, he was a staff member at MIT’s Radiation Laboratory, where he assisted in the advancement of American military radar. He returned to Rice as an instructor after the war, continued his earlier research involving gamma-ray spectroscopy, and expanded his pursuits to include neutron scattering.
In 1946, Mandeville began his professional research career as a nuclear physicist with the Bartol Research Foundation of the Franklin Institute in Swarthmore, Pennsylvania. He participated in a unique program that allowed students from India who had an MSc in physics to conduct their doctoral research at Bartol and then submit their theses to their respective universities in India. More than a dozen students under his guidance benefited from that program. From 1950 to 1956, Mandeville was a visiting lecturer in radiological physics at the Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine; he spent the summer months consulting with the US Naval Ordinance Test Station in China Lake, California. He served as an assistant director of Bartol from 1953 to 1959.
His research interests involving alpha-, beta-, and gamma-ray spectroscopy led to his determination of properties of nuclear energy levels. His early pioneering work on beta decay of nuclei, from low Z to high Z elements, helped in calculating comparative half-life values, which were important in the formulation in 1949 of the single-particle shell model of nuclei. One aspect of his research was the use of photosensitive Geiger—Mueller counters to detect scintillation induced by gamma and beta rays, a precursor to the sodium iodide—photomultiplier combination for gamma-ray spectroscopy. Other work along that line included storage of energy in some activated alkali halide phosphors, luminescence of beryllium oxide, and phosphorescence of thorium oxide.
Yearning to return to his beloved South, he accepted the position of head of the physics department at the University of Alabama at Tuscaloosa in early 1959. For the next two years, he concurrently served as a consultant to the Army Rocket and Guided Missile Agency at Redstone Arsenal in Huntsville.
Mandeville subsequently took a job as a professor of physics at Kansas State University in Manhattan, working in that position until 1967. His research group used the university’s Triga teaching reactor to produce short-half-life radioactive sources from isotopically enriched materials. While at KSU, he initiated efforts that culminated in the acquisition of a tandem Van de Graaff accelerator. He consulted during summers with the US Naval Radiological Defense Laboratory in San Francisco and with Kaman Nuclear, a division of Kaman Aerospace, in Colorado Springs, Colorado.
Mandeville then joined Michigan Technological University in Houghton as head of the physics department and, in 1975, became the director of special projects of the MTU energy research committee. At MTU, he continued his lifelong research interest in gamma-ray emissions. He also worked on a semiclassical model of ferromagnetism and taught basic physics until his retirement in 1984. Following his retirement, Mandeville and his wife relocated to Houston and later moved to Phoenix, Arizona, for three years before finally settling in Socorro.
A fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, Mandeville served as a consultant, at various times, to a congressman, a nuclear power utility, and several other energy-oriented companies. He received a patent in 1957 for a device that determines the intensity of nuclear radiations.
Throughout his life Mandeville enjoyed playing the piano and was an accomplished percussionist who was proficient in all the section instruments, including the xylophone and the spoons. He was lead percussionist of the Swarthmore Symphony Orchestra for eight years. His other interests included collecting coins; precious and semiprecious stones; 19th- and 20th-century American art glass; antique buttons; European hard-paste porcelain; art objects of gold, silver, and platinum; and original Japanese woodblock prints by Hokusai. He was an avid collector of Bakelite jewelry in his later years. He was also a budding novelist; his book University (Exposition Press, 1973) was based on his academic experience.
For both of us he was our teacher and guide. We remember him as a man of high ethical standards."
-Vasant R. Potnis and Gary P. Agin, 2003
Dr. Marshall was a Professor of Physics at Michigan Tech from 1981 to 1995. He passed away in October 2008 in Arlington Heights, Illinois. Marshall had a long and distinguished career in experimental physics, resulting in a Michigan Tech Research Award and more than 60 publications. His research interests spanned many areas of solid state physics, including magnetic defects, electron spin resonance, nuclear magnetic resonance, crystal field theory, and hyperfine interaction.
Marshall came to Tech in 1981 as a full professor, after working at Argonne National Lab in suburban Chicago for about 18 years. He earned a bachelor’s degree from the Illinois Institute of Technology, a master’s from the University of Michigan, and a PhD from Catholic University in Washington, DC. He worked as a physicist for the National Bureau of Standards, the U. S. Naval Ordnance Lab, and the IIT Research Institute. Marshall was born in Chicago. He is listed in American Men and Women of Science and Who’s Who in Science. He retired in 1995 and was granted emeritus status in 1996.
Memorials from our Alumni, Students & Friends
"Sam served as a “seed” for the development of the Physics department’s experimental Ph.D. research program. He had a number of hurdles to overcome in getting his laboratory (the first one in the new program) up and functioning. He found ways—several of them humorous—around these hurdles. One episode involved having to tighten up the bolts on the cargo portion of the truck he had rented to transport some of his lab equipment from Chicago to MTU, during the trip. Fortunately, he was travelling with our machinist.
I remember his submitting a paper to a journal and getting it back to referee! He wrote the editor that it was an excellent paper, but that he was biased, as he was its author. Don Yerg, Jim Waber, he and I went to lunch together quite often. On occasion, a younger colleague attended—who named us the “Golden Girls”. I’m not admitting to any grey hair at that time, though!
Sam had good judgement and was good at spotting people who were “faking it”. He trained several Ph.D. students at MTU, whose theses are listed on our departmental site. He treated them fairly and thoughtfully.
I think he would be proud of what the MTU Physics Department has become."
—Don Beck, Professor MTU Physics
"The last time I visited him in Chicago (2007 or so) he wasn’t doing very well. This was after his second quadrupole bypass surgery. He refused to go for a walk and didn’t want to sit in the evening in his open garage, drink wine with me and look at beautiful Chicago women. This used to be his favorite evening activity each time I would show up.
However, he felt good enough to take me for a ride in his car to the nearest Dunkin-Donuts where I had coffee (black) and he had few of the greasiest donuts out there. On the way back he insisting on stopping at IHOP and eating a helping of fries. All of this was a great secret because Janet wouldn’t let him eat that stuff. He would just tell me that he wants to die happy."
—Jacek Borysow, MTU Physics
"Sam had a wonderfully strange sense of humor and an ability to tell you just about anything with a straight face, no matter how outrageous. One time I went to a dinner get-together and saw that Sam was there without his wife, Janet. This was unusual and so I asked him about it. He leaned toward me, looked me straight in the eyes and with a most serious tone said “Janet left me.” He continued to look at me with a most serious look for several seconds while I squirmed with discomfort at my faux pas. Then he broke a small smile, sat back, and completed his sentence “…to go to Chicago for the weekend.” He knew he had gotten me once again."
—Bryan Suits, MTU Physics Dept
"Sam gave me a chance as a grad student and started me on the path to becoming a true experimentalist. He provided me with the skills that enabled me to achieve what I have accomplished today. He also had a humor that was his own. I will never forget his pet squirrels. He was so proud of them, in a weird sort of way. If he had ever shown them to you, you would understand what I mean.
Mark Parent, Naval Research Laboratory, Wash D.C.
Sam had his office down the hall from mine. It was always fun to stop by and talk to him about everything, latest news, science, politics, culture. He was widely read and had a wicked sense of humor. Sam would take on everything, especially what he perceived as nonsense, trivialities, and stupidities emanating from administrative authorities. He made sure that later, when I became dean, I would not lose sight of what’s essential in a university.
Max Seel, MTU Physics, Prvost and VP for Academic Affairs (interim)
As a fresh MTU graduate student from China back in 80’s, I used to respectfully address him as “Professor Marshall”. Soon, I was fortunate to have him as my advisor and he insisted that I called him Sam. At first, he gave an impression of very serious and straight physics professor and did not smile much, but deep down, as I spent more and more time with him, he was a very kind and caring advisor and perfect gentlemen.
So many times when we had to stay late in the lab because of an unexpected glitch in an experiment, we would be pleasantly surprised by Uncle Sam’s personal delivery of wonderful, greasy supreme pan pizza from Pizza Hut. That’s why Pizza Hut is still my favorite pizza restaurant till today. Sam used to take us to Argonne National Laboratory in Chicago for some experiment. Almost every time, he would treat us at his favorite Chinese restaurant, “Red Cotton”, in the Old Chinatown. His favorite one was always “hot and sour soup” and we would share a big bowl of soup each time. He claimed that the soup at that Chinese restaurant was so unique that one could find nowhere else.
After graduating from Michigan Tech, I was fortunate to work with him again at Argonne National Laboratory as the postdoctoral fellow. He was spending his Sabbatical leave from MTU. He was very proud to see that my experimental physics training at his lab was making an important contribution to the success of our Photosynthesis projects at Argonne. During that time, my wife and I visited his Chicago home. Sam proudly demonstrated his puppy dog talent playing as “a peace maker” between Janet and him (by “faking an argument” with Janet in front of his dog). To this day, we still vividly remember that scene and all that seemed to be not very long ago.
Sam used to walk daily as part of Doctor’s exercise order. He had this special type of hat to wear because of cold Houghton weather and we called it KGB hat. He loved that name and every time he would tell his walking buddies that he had to get his KGB hat before going out with them. He said that made him feel like a KGB agent in the movies. He was always proud of his energy and keen sense of his surroundings. He always reminded me that one is really too old when he stops noticing beautiful women around him. Sam was always young at heart.
Above all, Sam was a true experimental physicist. As his graduate student, I spent long hours working with him in his EPR laboratory to assemble different waveguide configurations and to design various experiment. The experimental physics skills I learned through that hands-on experience working with him on various physics instruments benefit me throughout my career. Even today, I still see myself approaching the problem solving the way I was trained in his lab. Sam was a kind and intelligent teacher, a dear friend, and a humble human being. He will forever live in our hearts and truly be missed by many."
—Yuenian Zhang, Clinical Radiation Oncology Physicist, Indianapolis, IN
"I remember Sam not only as a terrific scientific mentor who really helped me develop professionally during the early stages of my career, but also as a warm father figure who made me feel welcome as a recently immigrant from China still adjusting to a new environment.
Sam’s compassion extended well beyond the way he treated his students. One morning in the late 1980’s, we were driving to the Argonne National Laboratory when a puppy jumped out into the road in front of us on the high way 141 near the Crystal Falls. Fortunately, when we hopped out and checked under the car, we found the puppy uninjured, but it was apparently quite traumatized from the near accident. Even though we were in a rush, Sam took the time to calm the puppy, caressing it tenderly in his arms, before we resumed our trip.
I am forever indebted to Sam for giving me the opportunity to work in his lab. I am a better person for having known him, and I am truly saddened to learn of his passing."
—Cheng Yu, Prof. Radiation Oncology, Keck School of Medicine, USC
Professor Emeritus Robert H. “Bob” Mount, a longtime member of the physics faculty, passed away July 2, 2014 at his home in Hancock. He was 86 years old.
Mount came to Michigan Tech in 1954 from Cleveland Cliffs Iron Co., where he was employed as the chief geologist. He retired from the University in 2000. For much of his career, he taught introductory physics courses. “His 46 years of service is the second-longest in department history—the longest being James Fisher,” said physics professor Bryan Suits.
His colleagues remember Mount as health conscious. “His extensive early-morning exercise routine was very important to him,” Suits said. “He would retire early so he could get up at 3 or 4 a.m. to do his workout. Hence, he often passed when it came to attending the department’s evening events—they were past his bedtime.”
Professor Don Beck also remembered his physical fitness—and his motorcycle, which he rode to campus whenever weather permitted. “He was an amiable colleague,” said Beck, “and he had an extensive collection of college-level books that he managed to fit into one of our smallest offices.”
Mount donated most of that collection to the Society of Physics students upon his retirement. “Fourteen years later, those books are still in the undergrad physics room and are consulted and used on a regular basis, sometimes even by grad students and professors,” said Professor Raymond Shaw.
Professor Robert Nemiroff remembers Mount as a cheerful sort, before and after his retirement. “He always seemed in good spirits and had kind words or a humorous story for me, and I would expect for his students as well,” he said.
Mount was also an animal lover with a big heart, said Professor Jacek Borysow. “Bob took all the ugliest dogs from the animal shelter and took care of them,” he said. “I think there were times when he had something like six dogs, and they all had missing legs, ears or tails, and they were very old.”
Mount served in the army at the end of World War II and went on to earn a bachelor’s degree from Ohio State University and an MS in Geophysics from Michigan Tech.
Philip Norman Parks passed away on September 17, 2019 at home surrounded by his loving family. He was born in his family home in Newberry, Michigan in 1932. He was the son of Philip Grant and Anna Louise Parks. He graduated from Newberry High School in June 1951. He then attended Michigan Technological University and graduated in 1955 with a Bachelor of Science degree in physics and later with his Master of Science degree in nuclear physics. He also did additional graduate work at the Kansas State University.
Following graduation from MTU, he worked for five years at NASA in Cleveland and then returned to MTU to teach physics for 35 years. Following retirement, he and his wife enjoyed traveling and visiting family all of whom were very precious, and much loved by him.
Phil published several physics articles in professional journals, conducted research for the US military, and contributed to the writing of a book that prepared engineers for their professional exam. He was interested in genealogy and served as a zone leader for a number of years for the Parks Society. His family first came from England in 1630 aboard the Arabella. He was also a member of the Sons of the Union of the Civil War and served as an officer for several terms.
Phil has always been active in Christian Service. As a student at MTU, he was active in the Inter Varsity Christian Fellowship and served in various capacities in the churches wherever he lived. He had served over 50 years as a deacon, Sunday school superintendent, and youth leader. He also served with the Gideon Bible Society for many years.
Physics professor emeritus Vasant Potnis, who retired from Michigan Tech in 1996, passed away Sept. 15, 2012 in Gwalior, India.
Potnis was born in 1928 in India and earned Bsc, MSc and PhD degrees from Agra University before traveling by boat to the US in 1954.
He came to the University in 1968 from Kansas State University, one of a nuclear physics research group that included Gary Agin. Potnis’s research focused on low-energy nuclear physics, beta and gamma ray spectroscopy, and time variations of cosmic radiation, and he published numerous papers.
“Vasant was easy going and very agreeable,” remembers Agin, professor emeritus of physics, who retired from the University in 2008.
Physics professor Don Beck agreed. “Vasant’s pleasant personality contributed significantly to the department while providing a much-needed external visibility as a fellow of the American Physical Society,” he said.
David Lucas earned an MS in Physics from Michigan Tech in 1977 under Potnis’s direction and later received Tech’s first PhD in Physics in 1986. Now chair of the physics department at Northern Michigan University, Lucas called Potnis “one of the nicest people.”
“He was always encouraging and helpful. I never had to worry about asking him anything,” Lucas said.
Mechanical engineering professor emeritus Sudhakar Pandit was both a colleague and a friend. “He was an avid lover of bridge, and after retirement, we used to play quite regularly,” he says. “Vasant was a very rational individual and took great pride in physics, in thinking scientifically.”
He also loved art, said Pandit’s wife, Maneesha. “He took art classes and enjoyed doing sketches and paintings, from life and photographs,” she said. “He had a good collection of his own work, and he appreciated art in general.”
“He also exhibited in the spring art show on campus,” Agin said.
The Potnises split their time between Houghton and Gwalior, where Vasant owned a casting business. After retiring, he continued to teach classes within the physics department. He was a Fellow of the American Physical Society and a member of the American Association of Physics Teachers, the American Association for the Advancement of Science, Sigma Xi and Sigma Pi Sigma.
Potnis is survived by his wife, Kusum.
Max Seel, professor emeritus of physics and former provost and vice president of academic affairs at Michigan Tech, passed away Sept. 14, 2022 at the age of 72.
Seel was a beloved member of the Michigan Tech community, leaving his native Germany in 1986 to join the University faculty as an associate professor of physics. Over the course of his three-decade career, Seel served as dean of the College of Sciences and Arts (CSA) from 1991 to 2008, as interim provost in 2009, and as provost and vice president of academic affairs from 2010 to 2015. Seel was a scholar-teacher, publishing more than 85 research papers related to electronic structure theory, several of which were published after he stepped down as provost and returned to the physics faculty.
Max is remembered by his colleagues for his sharp intellect and great sense of humor. Many have expressed that he was a calm, steady presence in rough times and someone who helped people talk through issues to reach the best possible outcome. Max is an integral part of our Husky legacy, and we will miss him.
Read Seel’s full obituary here.
Ian Wingate Shepherd died quietly, January 24, 1978, at his home, of cancer at the age of 39.
Dr. Shepherd had been chair of the physics department at Tech less than a year, having been named to the post starting August 1977 after a very long and difficult search.
Shepherd was born January 8, 1939 in Bristol England. He spent his youth in England, attending Ley’s school in Cambridge and later graduating with his Bachelor’s degree in physics from Manchester University.
He came to the United State, receiving his master’s and Ph.D. degrees, both in solid state physics, at the University of California at San Diego. Afterward, he remained long enough to work both for Cornell University in Ithaca, New York, and later for Dupont in Wilmington, Delaware.
Shepherd then returned to Manchester University to become senior lecturer in physics. He taught several courses, among them Vibrations and Waves, Optical Spectroscopy Techniques, Vibrational Molecular Spectroscopy, Biophysics and Techniques in Molecular Physics.
During his career he was invited to make presentations at seminars held at Bell Telephone Laboratories, Case Western University, Midland Macromolecular Institute, and the University of Michigan.
Dr. Shepherd was intensely interested in polymer spectroscopy, and the use of pulsed Raman equipment in polymer study. That was to be his area of research at Tech. He also wanted to interest others in the work, and gave three presentations on Raman spectroscopy to students and faculty at the Thursday afternoon colloquiums held by the department.
It was his dream to make Michigan Tech one of the finest Raman spectroscopy laboratories in the country. With his untimely death, the future of such a dream may have also passed away.
An annual award recognizing superior performance by a graduating senior was established in his name.
The Ames Tribune, Ames, Story County, Iowa, Friday, July 18, 2008.
Dean W. Stebbins, a physicist and university administrator at Iowa State University and Michigan Technological University, died Thursday, July 17, at Northcrest Community in Ames. He was 95. The cause was pneumonia complicating a brief series of illnesses, his son, Robert, said. A celebration of life will be at 2 p.m. Monday, July 21, at Northcrest Community.
Mr. Stebbins began his science career after listening to radio station KDKA in Pittsburg while growing up on a farm in Montana. He wanted to learn how radio waves could travel such long distances, and as a college student he enrolled in the engineering program at Montana State College, where he achieved top honors. He subsequently took a doctorate degree in physics at Iowa State College before entering service in the World War II.
After serving in Australia and the Philippines, he returned briefly to Lehigh University and then moved to Iowa State University where he taught physics and administered a research program in the developing field of operations research. That experience led to a term of service at the RAND Corporation in Santa Monica, Calif., followed by his moving to Michigan Technological University where he served as physics chairman, academic dean, and university vice president. He retired upon the death of his first wife, Jane.
In retirement he engaged his passion for family history, compiling a complete genealogy of 16 generations of his Stebbins line from the 1634 arrival in Massachusetts of his English ancestor Rowland to his great-grandchildren Jaron and Devin in Arizona. His bibliographic research was supplemented by extensive travel explorations with his first wife, Jane, and then even more fully with his second wife, Jayne. These trips also frequently included travel, preferably by ship, to watch solar and lunar eclipses and visits to many of the world's historical sites. He was an avid amateur astronomer who proudly retained the photographic plate of a distant star he recorded while operating the large telescope at Palomar Observatory in California when he visited there in 1952.
Mr. Stebbins was an Ames and Iowa State booster. He served on the boards of the Ames International Festival of Music and the Octagon, and for several years he sat at the information desk in City Hall. He was particularly proud of teaching English to foreign students who came to Ames to study. In his later years at Northcrest, he and Jayne watched nearly every Iowa State athletic contest on television, always cheering and hoping for the home teams.
Dean W. Stebbins was born Jan. 14, 1913, in Billings, Mont. His father was a farmer who moved from Illinois in 1907 to a newly developing Montana homestead; his mother was a school teacher. In 1936, Mr. Stebbins married Florence Jane Buchner. She died in 1974. Their son, Bruce, died in 1967. In addition to his second wife, Jayne, whom he married in 1974, Mr. Stebbins is survived by his other son, Robert, granddaughter Kirstin and her husband Rajiv, and two great-grandchildren, Jaron and Devin.
Mr. Stebbins was devoted to his family and to the love of discussion of ideas with
them and his friends. He relished helping others and was known for his warm smile,
gentle humor, and his willingness to listen attentively to those whom he helped or
who helped him.
"He was very proud of growing up on a farm and always felt that was the most wonderful way to be a boy," Robert said of his father's youth.
b. April 8, 1920
d. May 7, 2006
Per Andrew WABER, James Thomas Waber, was a nuclear physics professor. He worked during the 1940's on the Manhattan Project.
Jim Waber, was born 1920 in Chicago, IL. Shortly after earning his doctorate at Illinois Institute of Technology he secured a position as a scientist for Los Alamos National Laboratory in 1947. In 1968, Jim moved to Evanston, IL to become a professor at Northwestern University. Then, in 1985 he moved to Houghton, MI to be a professor for Michigan Tech University. In 1999, after the death of his wife, Santi, he retired to Santa Fe, NM. Last year Jim moved to a retirement resort in Phoenix, AZ. He died at the age of 86 on May 7, 2006. He is survived by his son, John, and daughter, Sue.
Professor Emeritus Michael Wertheim passed away on September 24, 2021 in Madison, Wisconsin. Dr. Wertheim was a well-respected scholar and teacher in statistical physics. He was a deep thinker, making fundamental advances in the theory of simple and polar fluids. His foundational paper, published in Physical Review Letters (1963), is still well-cited by the scientific community.
Dr. Wertheim received his Ph.D. from Yale University in nuclear physics in 1957 and began his professional career at Los Alamos National Laboratory. He joined Michigan Tech in 1990 as a professor of physics and retired in 2003. Prior to joining Michigan Tech, he also worked at Universität Frankfurt, Germany; University of New Castle, U.K.; University of Alberta, Canada; and Rutgers University, U.S.
Dr. Wertheim was on the editorial board of the Journal of Statistical Physics and was a Fellow of the American Physical Society. Besides physics, Mike will be remembered for regularly swimming in Lake Superior at McLain State Park during the summer months.
Dr. Doug Wilken, Instructor and Laboratory Associate in the Physics department, passed away on January 28, 2022 in St Cloud, Minnesota. Doug taught laboratory courses in optics, electronics, and modern physics. He also provided all of the demonstration support for a variety of physics classes, managing a group of undergraduate students for assistance (his Demo Crew).
Doug received an MS (Physics) in 1988 and a Ph.D. (Physics) in 1993, working in Professor Bryan Suits’ laboratory at Michigan Tech. His thesis was on a nuclear magnetic resonance study of surface oxides on aluminum metal particles. After completing a postdoctoral fellowship at the University of Florida, Doug joined the corporate world for twenty years working in Minneapolis. He returned to Michigan Tech in 2016.
Doug was a gifted musician, playing piano and sharing his beautiful singing voice on many occasions, including at church and family gatherings. He loved to read and carry on discussions across a myriad of topics. His personal library of books spanned countless technical volumes, history, political science, biography, science fiction, fantasy novels—to name just a few of his favorite subjects.
One of Doug’s true passions was sharing his knowledge of experimental physics with students. This was an endeavor that Doug would continue to self-examine and improve, finding better ways of getting across main ideas and techniques that students would be able to utilize no matter where they would find themselves later on in scientific and engineering disciplines. Doug’s greatest passion, however, was spending time with all of his family, and, in recent years, he especially enjoyed being “Grandpa” for his granddaughter for as much time as he could.
Doug will be deeply missed in the department. Memorial Service will take place at Gustavus Adolphus Lutheran Church in Foley, Minnesota (https://www.foleyfuneralhome.net/obituary/Douglas-Wilken).
Donald G. Yerg, 86, died July 23, 2011 in Minneapolis. He was born in Lewistown, Pa., and received a PhD in Physics/Meteorology from Pennsylvania State University. He joined the faculty of Michigan Tech in 1955, after several years of conducting research and teaching at the University of Alaska, Fairbanks, and in Puerto Rico.
At Michigan Tech, he taught graduate and undergraduate courses in the physics department and was the University’s first Dean of Graduate Studies (now the Graduate School), helping to build Tech’s master’s and doctoral programs.
Professor emeritus Don Daavettila recalled working with Yerg as a graduate student before they became colleagues in the physics department.
“He was very helpful to us as students, always explaining what he was doing,” Daavettila said. “I enjoyed that. He was a fine person. He loved to talk physics, and he loved to talk politics, too.”
Yerg remained active in upper atmosphere research by publishing and presenting at various national scientific and academic conferences. For several years, he hosted a program on Michigan Tech’s radio station, WGGL, where he interviewed scientists on how their research impacted everyday life.
An avid reader of political, social and foreign journals, and historical works; a student of the Spanish language, the recorder and acoustic guitar; and a writer of progressive letters to the press–he was a man of inquisitive mind and critical thinking.
He was happiest on the shores of Lake Superior or on backwoods trails of the Keweenaw, whether it was sailing, hiking, biking or skiing. His ashes will be spread over Lake Superior in a family ceremony.
He is survived by wife, Mary Jane, children George, Mark, and Suzanne Yerg, and four grandchildren.
I was one of Yerg’s sailing/XC skiing, hiking,& biking partners from 1979 until a few years before his death. His life off campus is probably not well known. Frequently, along with Prof. Gene Ortner, we skied trails from the Horoscope Rd. (outside of Tapiola) to Schlatter’s Lake, Smith Fisheries to Horseshoe Bay, & the hills of Oskar to Rabbit Bay. Yerg pored over U.S. Geological Survey maps to determine routes on logging and snowmobile trails. In 1984 he and I purchased the first mountain bikes in the Keweenaw (bright red Peugeots weighing over 35 lbs.) and biked the same trails we had skied. Wherever he went Yerg “lectured” on politics (progressive),the philosophy of science, and academia. He tackled any opposing views with astute, ethical, and devastating argument, willingly taking on people of power. This alienated many and eventually affected his career. But he could also disarm folks by quoting Scripture, singing (off-key) Lutheran hymns, and telling off-color jokes. He was a memorable character!