Biography:Melvin Schwartz

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Short description: American physicist
Melvin Schwartz
Melvin Schwartz.gif
Born(1932-11-02)November 2, 1932
DiedAugust 28, 2006(2006-08-28) (aged 73)
Twin Falls, Idaho, U.S.
EducationColumbia University (BA, PhD)
Known forNeutrinos
AwardsNobel Prize in Physics (1988)
Scientific career
FieldsParticle physics
InstitutionsBrookhaven National Laboratory
Stanford University
Columbia University
Doctoral advisorJack Steinberger

Melvin Schwartz (/ʃwɔːrts/; November 2, 1932 – August 28, 2006) was an American physicist. He shared the 1988 Nobel Prize in Physics with Leon M. Lederman and Jack Steinberger for their development of the neutrino beam method and their demonstration of the doublet structure of the leptons through the discovery of the muon neutrino.[2]


He was Jewish.[3] He grew up in New York City in the Great Depression and went to the Bronx High School of Science. His interest in physics began there at the age of 12.

He earned his B.A. (1953) and Ph.D. (1958) at Columbia University, where Nobel laureate Isidor Isaac Rabi was the head of the physics department. Schwartz became an assistant professor at Columbia in 1958. He was promoted to associate professor in 1960 and full professor in 1963. Tsung-Dao Lee, a Columbia colleague who had recently won the Nobel prize at age 30, inspired the experiment for which Schwartz received his Nobel. Schwartz and his colleagues performed the experiments which led to their Nobel Prize in the early 1960s, when all three were on the Columbia faculty. The experiment was carried out at the nearby Brookhaven National Laboratory.

In 1966, after 17 years at Columbia, he moved west to Stanford University, where SLAC, a new accelerator, was just being completed. There, he was involved in research investigating the charge asymmetry in the decay of long-lived neutral kaons and another project which produced and detected relativistic hydrogen-like atoms made up of a pion and a muon.

In the 1970s he founded and became president of Digital Pathways. In 1972 he published a textbook on classical electrodynamics that has become a standard reference for intermediate and advanced students for its particularly clear exposition of the basic physical principles of the theory.[4] In 1991, he became Associate Director of High Energy and Nuclear Physics at Brookhaven National Laboratory. At the same time, he rejoined the Columbia faculty as Professor of Physics. He became I. I. Rabi Professor of Physics in 1994 and retired as Rabi Professor Emeritus in 2000. He spent his retirement years in Ketchum, Idaho, and died August 28, 2006, at a Twin Falls, Idaho, nursing home after struggling with Parkinson's disease and hepatitis C.[5]

Awards and honors

  • The Nobel Prize in Physics (1988)
  • Golden Plate Award of the American Academy of Achievement (1989)[6]


See also

  • List of Jewish Nobel laureates


External links

  • 1988 Nobel Physics winners
  • Miss nobel-id as parameter including the Nobel Lecture, December 8, 1988 The First High Energy Neutrino Experiment