Milton A. Rothman

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Milton A. Rothman
Born November 30, 1919
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Died October 6, 2001 (aged 81)
Wyncote, Pennsylvania
Pen name Lee Gregor
Occupation Nuclear physicist, academic, science fiction fan, science fiction short story writer
Nationality United States
Genre Science fiction
Notable works Heavy Planet and Other Science Fiction Stories, The Laws of Physics

Milton A. Rothman (November 30, 1919 – October 6, 2001) was a United States nuclear physicist and college professor.

He was also an active science fiction fan and a co-founder of the Philadelphia Science Fiction Society. An occasional author as well, he published stories usually with the pseudonym "Lee Gregor".

Biography[edit]

Rothman was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and attended Central High School. He attended Oregon State University, where he received a bachelor's degree in engineering, and graduate school at the University of Pennsylvania, receiving his doctorate in physics in 1952.[1]

Rothman died at Wyncote, in 2001, of heart failure, from complications due to diabetes and Parkinson's disease.

His complete science fiction stories were published posthumously in 2004 by Wildside Press with the title Heavy Planet and Other Science Fiction Stories edited by Darrell Schweitzer and Lee Weinstein.[2]

Milton Rothman's son is science fiction writer Tony Rothman. His daughter, Lynne Lyon, LCSW, is an Attachment Therapist, and founder of the Attach-China-International Parent's Network.

Professional career[edit]

After receiving his doctorate, Rothman spent the next seven years investigating nuclear energy at the Bartol Research Foundation in Swarthmore, Pennsylvania. From 1959 until 1969, he worked at the Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory on Project Matterhorn, which studied methods of heating ionized gas to very great temperatures.[1] In 1963, while working in the laboratory, he wrote The Laws of Physics.

In 1969, Rothman joined the faculty at Trenton State College (now the College of New Jersey). He retired from teaching in 1979.

Fandom[edit]

He was an active science fiction fan from an early age. Besides co-founding the Philadelphia Science Fiction Society, Rothman also organized the first Philcon science fiction convention in October 1936. The event consisted of 9 people, including future science fiction author/editors Frederik Pohl and Donald A. Wollheim, and was held, in part, in Rothman's home. Rothman published his fanzine "Milty's Mag" sporadically over a few years in the early forties. Rothman later chaired the 1947 and 1953 Philcons. The first Hugo award was presented at the 1953 Philcon.

In honor of Dr. Rothman's lifetime of work in science fiction fandom, his name was voted into the First Fandom Hall of Fame in 1998.

Skepticism[edit]

Rothman was a member of the Committee for Skeptical Inquiry and published articles in the Skeptical Inquirer.[3] In his book A Physicist's Guide to Skepticism (1988) Rothman applied the laws of physics to paranormal and pseudoscientific claims to show why they are, in fact, impossible.[4] He wrote that proponents of pseudoscience like to claim "Anything's possible" but this claim is false as there are things which are logically impossible as they are self-contradictory and physically impossible because they violate well established laws.[5]

Publications[edit]

  • Plasma Physics (1962)
  • The Laws of Physics (1963) ISBN 0-4650-3860-3
  • Recent Events in Relativity (1965)
  • Cybernetics: Machines that Make Decisions (1972)
  • Discovering the Natural Laws: The Experimental Basis of Physics (1972) ISBN 0-486-26178-6
  • A Physicist's Guide to Skepticism (1988) ISBN 0-87975-440-0
  • The Science Gap: Dispelling the Myths and Understanding the Reality of Science (2003) ISBN 0-87975-710-8
  • Heavy Planet and Other Science Fiction Stories (2004)

References[edit]

External links[edit]