Sam Treiman

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Sam Treiman
Born (1925-05-27)May 27, 1925
Chicago, USA
Died November 30, 1999(1999-11-30) (aged 74)
New York, USA
Residence United States
Nationality American
Fields Physicist
Institutions Princeton University
Alma mater Northwestern University
University of Chicago
Doctoral advisor Enrico Fermi
John Alexander Simpson
Doctoral students Curtis Callan
Stephen L. Adler
Nicola Khuri
Steven Weinberg
Carl Albright
Kenneth Edwards
Young Suh Kim
John Bronzan
Binayak Dutta-Roy
Paul B. Kantor
Alfred Goldhaber
Jonathan Rosner
Porter Johnson
Rein Uritam
Herbert Chen
Stephen Schutz
Kazuo Fujikawa
Glennys Farrar
William Shanahan
Bennie Ward
Robert Schrock
Evelyn Monsay
Cornell Chun
Dean Preston
Michael Ramsey-Musolf
Known for Goldberger-Treiman relation
Callan-Treiman relation
Notable awards Oersted Medal (1985)

Sam Bard Treiman (May 27, 1925 – November 30, 1999) was an American theoretical physicist who produced important research in the fields of cosmic rays, quantum physics, plasma physics and gravity physics. He made major contributions to the understanding of the weak interaction and he and his students are credited with developing the so-called standard model of elementary particle physics.[1] He was a professor of physics at Princeton University, a member of the National Academy of Sciences and member of the JASON Defense Advisory Group. He was a student of Enrico Fermi and John Alexander Simpson Jr. Treiman published numerous articles on quantum mechanics, plasmas, gravity theory, condensed matter and the history of physics.

Background[edit]

Treiman's parents, Abraham and Sarah, were Jewish immigrants from Eastern Europe who emigrated to Chicago. Sam had a brother, Oscar, who was six years older. Sam was educated in the Chicago public school system and, after graduating high school in 1942, he entered Northwestern University, electing to study chemical engineering. After two years at Northwestern he joined the navy, training as a radar repair technician and he spent the last year of the war as a petty officer in the Philippines, doing, in his words, "a prodigious amount of reading in the peaceful jungles - novels and science".[2] After the war he went to the University of Chicago, receiving a B.S. (1949) and M.S. (1950), having changed his major to physics. He received an Atomic Energy Commission predoctoral fellowship and in 1952 he was granted a PhD by the University of Chicago.[3] His doctoral thesis dealt with the physics of cosmic rays, and the work was done under the supervision of John Alexander Simpson. While at the university, Sam met his wife, Joan Little, an educational psychologist. They have three children - Rebecca, Katherine and Thomas.

Sam began teaching at Princeton in 1952 as an instructor. He spent his entire career at Princeton - associate professor (1958–63), professor (1963–77) and Eugen Higgins Professor of Physics (1977–1998). He served as chair of the physics department (1981–87) and chair of the University Research Board (1988–95). Probably his best known student at Princeton was Steven Weinberg, recipient of the Nobel Prize in physics in 1979. Other well known students are Nicola Khuri (1979), Curtis Callan (1964), and Stephen L. Adler (1964).

When Fermilab was set up in 1970, the founder, Robert R. Wilson, invited Treiman to direct the theory group. Rather than leave Princeton permanently, Treiman took a number of extended leaves of absence, in order to get the group started. As a member of the National Academy of Sciences and JASON Defense Advisory Group, he was a key advisor to the U.S. Government in the fields of plasma physics, physics education and strategic planning. Treiman and his wife were active members of CUSPEA - a program conceived by T.D. Lee to facilitate the admission of mainland Chinese students to graduate education in the U.S. The couple visited China in 1981, 1982 and 1988 to examine and interview prospective candidates.

A feature of Treiman's work was his ability to devise simple, unambiguous experimental tests for theoretical predictions and phenomena. In addition to his own work, Treiman was widely recognized as a teacher and mentor, supervising more than two dozen graduate students over three decades. His Socratic teaching style enabled his students to gain valuable insights without having been spoon fed the results. He was known for his general wisdom as well as his expertise. One of his more paradoxical sayings is known as Treiman's theorem: "Impossible things usually don't happen."[4] Treiman was awarded the Oersted medal by the American Association of Physics Teachers in 1995. He was a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the American Philosophical Society.

Sam Treiman died of leukemia on November 30, 1999.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Biographical memoir for the National Academy of Sciences by Steve Adler, pg. 1.
  2. ^ Adler, op. cit. pg 2
  3. ^ Adler, Stephen L. (August 2000). "Obituary: Sam Bard Treiman". Physics Today 53 (8): 63. doi:10.1063/1.1310130. 
  4. ^ Frank Wilczek and Betsy Devine, Longing for the Harmonies: Themes and Variations from Modern Physics (1987)

Publications of Sam Treiman[edit]

  • Sam Treiman's publication records in SPIRES [1]
  • Treiman, Sam B. (1999). The Odd Quantum. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press. ISBN 0-691-00926-0. 
  • Photonics: Managing Competitiveness in the Information Era, Commission on Physical Sciences, Mathematics and Applications, Vice Chairman S. Treiman, Board on Physics and Astronomy, National Academy of Sciences (1988)

Major scientific achievements[edit]

Publications about Sam Treiman[edit]

External links[edit]