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Memoir

Homer A. Neal
Regents' Proceedings

Homer A. Neal, Ph.D., interim president emeritus, vice president emeritus for research, Samuel A. Goudsmit Distinguished University Professor of Physics, and professor of physics in the College of Literature, Science, and the Arts, retired from active faculty status on May 31, 2018.

Professor Neal received his B.A. (1961) degree from Indiana University and his M.S. (1963) and Ph.D. ( 1966) degrees from the University of Michigan. He joined the University of Michigan faculty as a professor and chair of the Department of Physics in 1987. He served as the vice president for research (1993-97), interim president (1996-97), and director of the UM ATLAS Collaboratory Project (1997-2016).

Professor Neal had a long, distinguished career and is a world-leading expert in the studies of particle spins and polarizations. He pursued his research at the SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory, the Fermilab, and for the past 20 years at the Conseil Europeen pour la Recherche Nucleaire (CERN). He had important roles in the discoveries of the two fundamental particles in the last quarter century: the top quark in 1995 at the Fermilab and the Higgs boson in 2012 at CERN. Professor Neal formed a research group to join the DZero experiment at the Fermilab when he returned to Michigan as the chair of the physics department. Among his achievements are the top quark discovery and the observations of the 3b and nb baryons. After the U.S. Congress canceled the super collider, Professor Neal led a group of Michigan faculty to join the ATLAS Experiment at the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) at CERN. Under his leadership, the group has grown into one of the largest and most productive university groups researching at the LHC. The group made critical contributions to the discovery ofthe Higgs boson. He was also a pioneer in the development of collaboratory tools and led the initial design of the computing architecture ofthe ATLAS experiment. While serving on the National Science Board, Professor Neal played a pivotal role in the establishment of the National Science Foundation's widely popular and effective Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REU) program in the U.S. At Michigan, he initiated and coordinated the CERN REU program for U.S. students to participate in cutting-edge research at CERN every summer.

The Regents now salute this distinguished scholar by naming Homer A. Neal, interim president emeritus, vice president emeritus for research, Samuel A. Goudsmit Distinguished University Professor Emeritus of Physics, and professor emeritus of physics.