In Commemoration of Max Goodrich

photo: goodrich

1905 - 1999


circa 1927, B.S. in Mathematics, Westminster College, Fulton, Missouri
1935, Ph.D. in Physics, University of Minnesota

The following tribute to Max Goodrich was written by Professor A.R.P. Rau1 and read to the audience attending the March, 1989 lecture presented by Professor Maarten Schmidt in connection with the Max Goodrich Distinguished Lectureship Series.

Max Goodrich was born in 1905 and grew up in rural western Missouri, his education spanning the range from one-room schoolhouses to a baccalaureate degree from Westminster College. After teaching in high school for a while, he went to the University of Minnesota for graduate study in physics under Professor John Tate, a noted physicist at that time and then editor ofPhysical Review. Theirs was one of the most prominent groups in experimental studies of low energy electron impact phenomena. Unaware of this, I still recall the nice feelings evoked inside me when some years ago in the course of some work of mine on electron-hydrogen collisions, I came across a 1937 paper of his (Phys. Rev. 52, 259) on this subject and then found that it is the same Max Goodrich to whom I now have a connection through the LSU Department of Physics and Astronomy.

From Minnesota, Max Goodrich came to LSU in 1937. It was a very different LSU and a very different physics department from now. With only four faculty in the department and no tradition of research, it was left to him and some of his colleagues to develop that culture of research here. In a year spent at Oak Ridge National Laboratory after WWII, Max Goodrich got into scintillation spectrometry of radioactive rays, and back in LSU, established a laboratory in this area, remaining active until after he became Dean of LSU's Graduate School in 1961.

After that, administrative tasks increasingly took up his time but here again he had a significant achievement. He played a key role in bringing to LSU in 1965 a large National Science Foundation Development Grant which changed the complexion of the mathematics and physical science departments here. He served as Dean of the Graduate School until his retirement in 1973, taking a year off in between to go to the U.S. Office of Education in Washington, D.C. as Chief of their Graduate Academic Program. After his retirement, Max Goodrich has kept his close contacts with LSU, particularly through the Friends of the LSU Library and the Museum of Natural Science, and now also through this annual lectureship series which bears his name. We are very happy to have him with us at these events and it is a pity that he was unable to come today.

A.R.P. Rau, Professor
LSU Department of Physics and Astronomy
March 1, 1989

1In putting this tribute together, Ravi had access to "A Brief Resume" that Max Goodrich had typed himself, signed and presented to Jerry Draayer (Chairman of the Department of Physics and Astronomy) in December, 1985. As of March, 1998, the department still has in its files a copy of this brief resume. (J.E.T.)

List of Previous Max Goodrich Distinguished Lecturers


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