Sad News - Professor Emeritus Bob Schrieffer

August 23, 2019

Dear Members of our Campus Community,

I regret to share the sad news that Professor Emeritus Bob Schrieffer, 1972 Nobel Laureate in Physics, passed away on July 27.

Professor Schrieffer joined our physics faculty in 1980 and was named Chancellor Professor in 1984. He was the director of our Institute for Theoretical Physics (now the Kavli Institute for Theoretical Physics) from 1984 to 1989. Prior to coming to UC Santa Barbara, he was a professor of physics at the University of Pennsylvania. He obtained his Ph.D. from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and did postgraduate work as an NSF Fellow at the University of Birmingham and the Niels Bohr Institute in Copenhagen, Denmark. He also served on the faculties of the University of Chicago, the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and Cornell University. After retiring from UC Santa Barbara in 1992, he went to Florida State University and served as the chief scientist of the National High Magnetic Field Laboratory in Tallahassee. 

Together with John Bardeen and Leon Cooper, he developed what became known as the “BCS” theory of superconductivity, for which he and his colleagues were awarded the Nobel Prize in 1972. Other high honors included election to the National Academy of Sciences, the Oliver E. Buckley Condensed Matter Prize from the American Physical Society, the Comstock Prize in Physics from the National Academy of Sciences, and the National Medal of Science. He was President of the American Physical Society and Chair of the Scientific Council of the International Centre for Theoretical Physics in Trieste.

Our Physics colleagues Professors Doug Scalapino, Jim Hartle, and Bob Sugar shared their recollections of Professor Schrieffer as "a true colleague in the effort to establish a leading Physics Department on our campus. Beyond this, those fortunate to have known him will remember his patience, kindness, and the ever-present twinkle in his eye."

We send our condolences to his family, colleagues, and friends. Our campus flag will be lowered in his memory on August 28.


Henry T. Yang