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Philip Morrison, 1915–2005

MALE AFRICAN ELEPHANT



BRYAN CHRISTIE DESIGN

As book reviewer and later columnist for Scientific American, Philip Morrison traveled often from Boston to New York to attend the monthly meeting of the editors. He was always the star turn. Speaking at machine- gun speed, yet in complete sentences and even (to my ear) complete paragraphs, he held forth illuminatingly on a great variety of subjects. His incisive quips on topics that came up at the meetings drew many a laugh. He was also a font of ideas for new articles.

Polio in childhood limited Morrison's mobility but not his vast range of interests. An assembler of the first atomic bomb, he later spoke out forcefully for international arms control. He was a pioneer in launching the search for extraterrestrial intelligence. And he was a skilled popularizer of science through his book reviews, his courses on physics for poets, many of his books, and his appearances on television and radio.

Morrison made important contributions in quantum electrodynamics, nuclear theory and radiology. Later, shifting his interest to astrophysics, he worked on cosmology, the origin and propagation of cosmic rays and gamma-ray astronomy. He taught at Cornell University from 1946 to 1964 and thereafter at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where in 1973 he became institute professor, the university's highest academic rank. Morrison died at his home in Cambridge, Mass., on April 22. He was 89. Additional memorial information can be found at www. memoriesofmorrison.org

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