Wayne Hazen (1914-2010)


Wayne Hazen, professor emeritus of physics, died Aug. 30, 2010 at the age of 96. A native of Michigan, he received his Bachelor of Science from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in 1936 and his doctorate from the University of California at Berkeley in 1941 in cosmic ray physics as a student of Wallace Brode. He served on the Berkeley physics faculty until coming to U-M in 1947, where he remained for the rest of his career. Although he retired to emeritus status in 1984, he continued to be an active contributor to the Department of Physics. He chaired the doctoral thesis committees of 14 students, many of whom have gone on to prominent roles in space physics and other areas of science.

Hazen’s early research at Berkeley involved determining the mass, spin and other properties of the then-recently discovered mu meson (muon). Working at the research station on Mount Chacaltaya in Bolivia he, together with Professor Alfred Z. Hendel, determined the polarization and spectra of the radiofrequency pulses (10-100 MHz) produced by cosmic ray air showers. Another of Hazen’s significant research results was to refute the Australian claim for the discovery of free quarks in a cloud chamber.

Hazen continued his studies of cosmic ray air showers at many sites around the world, enjoying his professional interactions with colleagues his opportunities for travel that frequently included his family. He held a Guggenheim Fellowship at M.I.T. in 1947, and again at Imperial College (London) in 1954; he was also a Fulbright Scholar at the Ecole Polytechnique (Paris), 1953-54. In 1958-59 he was the Smith-Mundt Professor at the American University in Beirut, Lebanon, and in 1966 he served as a consultant to the Agency for International Development Summer Institute in India. In 1972 he was a Visiting Professor at the University of Leeds (England), where he began a collaboration with Professor A.L. Hodson. In the 1980s he undertook an experimental collaboration with cosmic ray physicists in Western China.

Hazen’s love of adventure and exploration were unsurpassed; he was energetic and on the move well into his 90s. An enthusiastic amateur naturalist and occasional daredevil, he enjoyed hiking, skin-diving, underwater photography, windsurfing, skydiving, and skiing. Both he and his wife were licensed pilots and flew small aircraft in the US as well as abroad. He constructed a significant portion of his family home and cottage, and also three wooden boats; his household engineering exploits were legendary. He is survived by his wife of 71 happy years, Jean (Shearer) Hazen (Ann Arbor, MI) and his children Sue Lillie (Denver, CO), Gretchen Hazen (Anchorage, AK), Virginia Hazen (Casper, WY), and Eric Hazen (Brookline, MA); grandchildren Deborah Lillie, Annette Fortune, Heidi Philippi, Elizabeth, Nathan and Rebecca Hazen; and great-grandchildren Nicholas, Daniel, Jack, Sam and Kate.

Annette Fortune has written a note of recollection describing adventures with her grandfather; …. we hope to get a copy for this memoir.













We invite readers to contribute their recollections of Wayne Hazen.

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