1921 to January 13th, 2013
1921 to January 13th, 2013
"Alfred Mann, physics professor"
January 23rd, 2013
Alfred K. Mann was known to the public for his decorated career in particle physics, and to his family members as a student of history and literature who quoted Cicero at the dinner table.
More than a decade after retiring from the University of Pennsylvania, Dr. Mann, who died Sunday, Jan. 13, at age 92, added another line to his resumé: protester.
In 2003, Dr. Mann helped organize a campaign against the proposed closure of an 8,000-foot-deep South Dakota gold mine that was seen as an ideal site to measure the subatomic particles called neutrinos.
Enough people took up his cry a decade ago that experiments in the mine are now under way. His efforts in advocating to keep the mine open were recognized by a proclamation from the governor of South Dakota, said Eugene Beier, a Penn physics professor who collaborated with Dr. Mann on numerous occasions.
A longtime resident of Bala Cynwyd who lived most recently in Jenkintown, Dr. Mann was born in New York and attended the University of Virginia for both his undergraduate and graduate studies. He spent two years working on a way to enrich uranium - an effort he later learned was part of the Manhattan Project, the U.S. effort to build the first atomic bomb.
A different uranium enrichment method was ultimately used to make the bombs that were dropped on Japan, yet Dr. Mann was nevertheless shaken when he learned of the purpose of the research, his son Brian said. The physicist heard about the first bomb from a newsboy hawking papers on the street, his son said.
"He said he stopped and grabbed the paper, and literally felt like he was going to pass out," Brian Mann said. "The effect of what that meant to the world really struck him."
Dr. Mann joined the faculty at Penn in 1949 after a stint at Columbia University. He was perhaps best known for his discoveries of fundamental properties of neutrinos, which are essential to the process of fusion.
"The stars could not burn without them," said Beier, who joined Dr. Mann on several of his findings.
Neutrinos are emitted in countless numbers by the sun and other stars. The South Dakota mine was seen as a good place to detect them because the earth acts as a filter. Most cosmic radiation is blocked from reaching that deep into the Earth, whereas neutrinos can slip right through.
During their careers, Dr. Mann and Beier helped make the first direct measurements of neutrinos emitted by the sun, and also measured the particles coming from a supernova, an experience Dr. Mann recounted in the 1987 book, Shadow of a Star.
Brian Mann said his father was not openly affectionate but rarely became angry. Rather than give his children the answer to a problem, he would urge them to seek it on their own, offering guidance by quoting Lincoln, Jefferson, and Franklin.
"That's just the kind of intellectual property that was being thrown about the house routinely," Brian Mann said. "It was not, 'Hey, how'd the Phils do today?' "
From the University of Pennsylvania...
Shared in Asahi Prize, Japan (1987)
Rossi Prize of the American Astronomical Society (1984)
Guggenheim Fellow (1981-82)
Fulbright Fellow, Australian National University (1955-56)
Fellow, Americal Physical Society
Phi Beta Kappa
Ph.D., University of Virginia (1947)
M.S., University of Virginia (1946)
B.A., University of Virginia (1942)
Experimental Particle Physics
Alfred K. Mann is an emeritus professor of physics whose present interests are in elementary particle physics and astrophysics. In particle physics, emphasis is on the properties of neutrinos, in particular their masses, and whether nature allows different neutrino flavors to mix, or rigorously maintains separate lepton number conservation. In astrophysics, his interests are in Supernovae and the Sun, and most recently in the energy generating mechanisms of the extraordinarily luminous objects Gamma-Ray Bursters and Active Galactic Nuclei as possible sources of the highest energy cosmic rays and UHE neutrinos. Recent papers are concerned in particular with how to search for such UHE neutrinos.
"Observation of a Neutrino Burst from the Supernova SN 1987A," K.S. Hirata et al., Phys. Rev. Lett. 58, 1490 (1987).
"Experimental Study of the Atmospheric Neutrino Flux, K.S. Hirata et al., Phys. Lett. B 205, 416 (1988).
"Experimental Limit on the Flux of Relic Antineutrinos from Past Supernovae," K.S. Hirata et al., Phys. Rev. Lett. 61, 385 (1988).
"Observation in the Kamiokande-II Detector of the Neutrino Burst from the Supernova SN 1987A," K.S. Hirata et al., Phys. Rev. D. 38, 448 (1988).
"Observation of Boron Eight Solar Neutrinos in the Kamiokande-II Detector," K.S. Hirata et al., Phys. Rev. Lett. 63, 16 (1989).
"A Lunar-Based Detector to Search for Relic Supernovae Antineutrinos," A.K. Mann and W. Zhang in Proc. of the NASA Workshop on Physics and Astrophysics from a Lunar Base, Stanford, CA, 1989, Comments on Nuclear and Particle Physics XIX, 295, 1990. Also published under AIP Conference Proceedings 202. AIP, p 128.
"Solar Neutrinos," R. Davis, Jr., A.K. Mann and L. Wolfenstein, Ann. Rev. Nucl. and Particle Science 39, 467 (1989).
"Real-Time, Directional Measurement of Boron Eight Solar Neutrinos in the Kamiokande-II Detector," K.S. Hirata et al., Phys. Rev. D 44, 2241 (1991).
"Neutrino Astronomy," R.J. Davis, Jr. and A.K. Mann in Encyclopedia of Physical Science and Technology, Second Edition, Academic Press, 1992.
"Atmospheric Neutrino Data and Neutrino Oscillations," W. Frati et al., Phys. Rev. 48, 1140 (1993).
"Atmospheric Muon-type Neutrino to Electron-type Neutrino Ratio in the Multi-GeV Energy Range," Y. Fukuda et al., Phys. Lett. B 335, 237 (1994).
"Measurement of the Reaction Muon-type Neutrino Onto Carbon Twelve Near Threshold," M. Albert et al., (LSND Collab.) Phys. Rev. C 51, 1067 (1995).
Shadow of a Star: The Neutrino Story of Supernova 1987A
Alfred K. Mann
Alfred K. Mann