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Memorial will be held for physicist Max Dresden

A memorial service will be held at 1 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 15, to celebrate the life of Max Dresden, professor emeritus of physics. He died Oct. 29 at age 79 as the result of a fall and a long battle with cancer.

Dresden's career as a theoretical physicist spanned several decades, several countries and dozens of centers of higher education and scientific research. At the time of his death, he was an active professor emeritus, working at both the Stanford Linear Accelerator Center (SLAC) and in the Program in History and Philosophy of Science at Stanford. dresden.GIF

The service will be held at 1 p.m. Nov. 15 in the SLAC auditorium complex at 2575 Sand Hill Road, Menlo Park.

Dresden was born in Amsterdam in 1918. He earned his doctorate from the University of Michigan in 1946 and became a U.S. citizen in 1949. Beginning with his first paper on the condensation of gases published in 1944, he made important contributions in statistical mechanics, superconductivity, quantum field theory and elementary particle physics.

He also was interested in the history and sociology of modern science, and his lectures on this subject were infused with personal knowledge of the great scientists of the 1920s and 1930s. He published articles in more than 35 scientific journals and was the author of a 1987 biography of H.A. Kramers titled Between Tradition and Revolution.

Dresden was a member of the faculty at the State University of New York at Stony Brook from 1964 to 1989. While there he helped to found, and served as the executive director of, the Institute for Theoretical Physics. Dresden also worked at Fermi Lab, the University of Iowa, Northwestern University, Argonne National Laboratory, Johns Hopkins University and the University of Kansas. He lectured, gave papers and conducted research around the world, from the Philippines to the Neils Bohr Institute in Copenhagen, to CERN in Switzerland and many other centers.

He was a Fellow of the American Physical Society and the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

Dresden was known as a gifted and inspiring teacher. He was a thesis adviser for 63 doctoral students, many of whom became his friends for life.

He is survived by his wife of 49 years, Bertha Cummins Dresden, and their two children, Janna Dresden of Athens, Ga., and Danielle Dresden, of Madison, Wis.; by two sons from his first marriage, Bram Dresden and Ben Dresden, both of Novato, Calif.; and by his brother, Sem Dresden of Leiden, the Netherlands, nine grandchildren and one great-grandchild.

Friends and family are invited to contribute to the Max Dresden Memorial Fund, supporting activities to bring together physicists and physics teachers. Contributions may be sent to the Max Dresden Memorial Fund at the American Association of Physics Teachers, 1 Physics Ellipse, College Park, MD 20740-3845.


By David F. Salisbury

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