Melvin Lax (March 8, 1922 – December 8, 2002) was a distinguished Professor of Physics at City College of New York and was elected a member of the National Academy of Sciences in 1983, and notable for his contributions to research of random processes in physics. He was also a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the American Physical Society, the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and the Optical Society of America. Lax was awarded the Willis Lamb Medal for Laser Science and Quantum Optics in 1999. He was also chairman of the Theoretical Physics Department at Bell Labs from 1962 to 1964.
Lax received his B.A. in Physics from New York University (summa cum laude) in 1942, and M.S. and Ph.D. from Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1943 and 1947, respectively. He was a professor at Syracuse University (1947 to 1955). Mel joined the new Theory Department at Bell Laboratories in Murray Hill, New Jersey in 1955. He worked first as a member of the technical staff from 1955 to 1962, as then as chairman of the Theoretical Physics Department from 1962 to 1964. Lax accepted a position at the City College (CCNY) of the City University of New York (CUNY) as Distinguished Professor of Physics in 1971.
- Alfano, Robert R.; Cummins, Herman Z.; Sarachik, Myriam; Birman, Joseph L. (May 2003). "Obituary: Melvin Lax". Physics Today 56 (5): 78–79. doi:10.1063/1.1583545.
- paid CUNY obituary in The New York Times, Paid Notice: Deaths LAX, MELVIN December 21, 2002
- National Academies Press, V.87-2006
- Oxford University Press:Random Processes in Physics and Finance
- The Willis E. Lamb Award for Laser Science and Quantum Optics