Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Deceased--Stuart Freedman

Stuart Freedman
January 13th, 1944 to November 9th, 2012

"Stuart Freedman - renowned physicist - dies"


David Perlman

November 21st, 2012

San Francisco Chronicle

Stuart Jay Freedman, a Berkeley nuclear physicist renowned for his pathbreaking investigations into the physics of the universe, died unexpectedly on Nov. 9 in Santa Fe, N.M., where he was attending a science conference. He was 68.

Dr. Freedman's inquiries into theory took him from exploring the nature of particles like quarks and axions to the nature of quantum mechanics, but he was also noted as an experimentalist for his work resolving the nature and mass of the fundamental particles called neutrinos.

"We have lost a great physicist," said James Symons, director of the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory's nuclear science division. "Stuart was a truly remarkable scientist, with extraordinarily diverse interests, and he was still very much at the height of his powers."

Dr. Freedman joined the laboratory and the UC Berkeley faculty in 1991, following an early career that began at Princeton University in 1972 immediately after he had earned his doctorate in physics at UC Berkeley.

He joined the physics faculty at Stanford in 1976, and then moved to the Argonne National Laboratory near Chicago as a staff physicist in 1982. While at Argonne he was also a professor in the University of Chicago's Enrico Fermi Institute.

Dr. Freedman retained his connections to Argonne and the Fermi Institute after joining the Berkeley lab.

"Stuart was not only a brilliant experimentalist but a wise person who gave sage advice gently, often using his wonderfully wry sense of humor," said Michael Turner, a noted cosmologist at the Fermi institute. "We will sorely miss Stuart's scientific contributions, his friendship and wise counsel."
Dr. Freedman once recalled that in his early days as a graduate student in theoretical physics he had looked at the Berkeley lab as "big science," and said he wanted nothing to do with it.

"I believed that scientists should work alone in their laboratories," he said.

But he later changed his mind. From the Lawrence Berkeley lab, he led a team of physicists at 10 American universities in a historic "big science" Japanese project called KamLAND. It involved burying a huge nuclear detector deep in a zinc mine inside a mountain. Like a telescope, the nuclear detector successfully captured neutrinos zipping through Earth and down from the sun. It was a first for science.

For his work with that project, Dr. Freedman was named a senior scientist at the Institute for the Physics and Mathematics of the Universe in Tokyo, a post he held until his death even while he remained at his Berkeley posts.

Dr. Freedman was a member of the National Academy of Sciences, and in his service to America's science community he chaired the National Research Council's 10-year survey of the state of nuclear physics in 2010. He also was a member of the academy's board on physics and astronomy.

In 1999, UC Berkeley honored him with the Luis W. Alvarez Memorial Chair in Experimental Physics.

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