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Murray Slotnick
LSA Minutes

Memorial to
Murray Slotnick
1927 - 1951

Dr. Murray Slotnick, Assistant Professor of Physics, was drowned on October 5, 1951, in a sailing accident. His sudden death, abruptly ending a brilliant career at its very beginning, came as a great shock to all of his colleagues and friends. Despite his brief association of only one year with the University, he had already impressed both students and faculty with the friendliness of his manner and the high order of his intellectual ability. All of his associates, both within and outside of his own department, liked and respected him.

Dr. Slotnick was born in New York City on July 26, 1927. There he attended public schools, graduating from the New Utrecht High School in 1943. After one year at the College of the City of New York, he completed his university studies at Columbia, receiving the B.S. in 1946, the M.A. in 1947, and the doctorate in February, 1949. After spending a few months as guest physicist at Cornell and at the University of California, he was appointed Member of the Institute for Advanced Study at Princeton. The following summer was spent in research at the Columbia cyclotron laboratory. Beginning as Instructor in Physics at this University last year, he was promoted to Assistant Professor shortly before his death. He is survived by his father and mother, and by one sister and one brother.

While at Columbia Dr. Slotnick worked on various theoretical problems closely related to the experimental program there. During this period he published several papers on molecular structure, and on the quantum theory of fields. His doctoral dissertation was concerned with the electromagnetic properties of nucleons as derived from meson theory. At Princeton he continued his work on quantum fields; this culminated in a paper on pair production. Upon coming to the University of Michigan be began an investigation of certain problems connected with the solid state. His last paper, published shortly before his death, reports a theoretical study of the scattering of neutrons in antiferromagnetic media.

This is a truly astonishing record of productivity for a man of only twenty-four years. Even the brief summary given here may indicate how exceptional was the promise of the career so suddenly interrupted by the untimely tragedy of his death. With his passing the University and the Department of Physics have suffered a great loss.

Kenneth M. Case
H. Chandler Davis
Ernest F. Barker, Chairman