The Faculty History Project documents faculty members who have been associated with the University of Michigan since 1837. Key in this effort is to celebrate the intellectual life of the University. This Faculty History Website is intended as a component of the effort to document the extraordinary academic achievements of Michigan’s faculty in building and sustaining one of the world’s great universities. It provides access to a comprehensive database of information concerning the thousands of faculty members who have served the University of Michigan.
Find out more.

The Bentley Historical Library serves as the official archives for the University.


Robert R. Lewis
Regents' Proceedings 23

Robert R. Lewis, Jr., professor of physics, retired from active faculty status on May 31, 1992, after a notable career as a teacher and researcher.

Born in New Haven, Connecticut, Professor Lewis attended the Massachusetts Institute of Technology as an undergraduate before transferring to the University of Michigan where he received his B.S. (with a double major in mathematics and physics), M.S., and Ph.D. degrees in 1950, 1953, and 1954, respectively. He became an assistant professor of physics at the University of Notre Dame in 1954. In 1956, he was given a visiting appointment in the School of Mathematics in the Institute for Advanced Study at Princeton University, where he was well-regarded by some of the most distinguished physicists in the world, including C. N. Yang, A Pais, and R. Oppenheimer. Professor Lewis joined the University of Michigan Department of Physics in 1958 as an assistant professor he was promoted to associate professor in 1960 and to professor in 1965.

Professor Lewis is a theorist whose work has focused on problems in atomic physics, low-energy physics, and the physics of weak interactions. His contributions are notable for their range and depth, particularly in the use of symmetries to attack very fundamental problems. He has long been noted for effective collaborations with experimentalists, and even now continues to be a valued member of several collaborations with atomic, molecular, and optical experimentalists at the University of Michigan and elsewhere.

As a researcher, Professor Lewis made important advances in the study of parity violating interactions, in neutrino physics, in optical pumping and level crossing spectroscopy, and most recently in the study of anapole moments. As a teacher, he was for many years a mainstay of the department's introductory graduate curriculum. He served on a variety of departmental and University committees, including the Physics Executive Committee. He has held visiting appointments at Brookhaven National Laboratory, Rutherford Laboratory, Argonne National Laboratory, the University of Geneva, and the Institute of Theoretical Physics at Stony Brook. In 1990, he was chair of the 12th International Conference of Atomic Physics.

The Regents now salute this accomplished theorist for his dedicated service by naming Robert R. Lewis, Jr., Professor Emeritus of Physics.