Samuel MacDowell (1929-2020)

Samuel MacDowell, Professor Emeritus of Physics (1929-2020)
December 2, 2020

On November 30, 2020, Samuel MacDowell, professor emeritus of physics, passed away at the age of 91 after a long illness. MacDowell had a very prominent career in particle theory, retiring in 2002.  Several long-serving members of the Yale Physics community still remember him as a dear colleague and outstanding physicist. Our heartfelt condolences go out to his family.

R. Shankar, J.W. Gibbs Professor of Physics, shares the following memories.

When Uma and I first came to Yale in 1977, Sam and Miriam were one of the senior couples who welcomed us and made Yale a special place.

Sam, whose name I knew from the famous MacDowell symmetry, was a lovable, absent minded colleague with a perpetual smile and no capacity for guile. He loved his work on supergravity and went about it with great enthusiasm. Sam would have to be reminded each time we had a seminar in the 4th floor of Gibbs lab, a call for Sam went out routinely before each seminar began. On one occasion he had to be reminded to attend because it was his own student’s thesis defense.

One by one the elders like Bob Adair and Jack Sandweiss, who I knew, loved and admired over the years, are passing away and this is cause for great sorrow. But I do have wonderful memories of their kindness to young fellows like me when it mattered most.”

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