In Memoriam: Jack Smith (May 4, 1938 - July 16, 2017)

Tuesday, 18 July 2017 08:57 administrator

Our long-time colleague and friend, Jack Smith, passed away Sunday, July 16.

A native of Scotland and graduate of the University of Edinburgh, John Smith, whom everyone knew as Jack, joined the Institute for Theoretical Physics at Stony Brook as research associate in the Institute's second year, 1967, and he subsequently joined the faculty of the Institute and Department of Physics and Astronomy. He was a key member of our faculty for over three decades.

Jack was a master of elementary particle theory, whose often-legendary calculations in perturbative quantum chromodynamics contributed mightily toward establishing the contemporary Standard Model, including a landmark 2003 calculation of the Higgs boson cross section. His work over many decades influenced the development of the field world-wide, and he was recognized with a Humboldt Award and as a fellow of the American Physical Society. In 2005, he received the Stony Brook President's Award for Excellence in Scholarship and Creative Activities. After thirty seven years on the faculty, Jack retired in 2006, but kept active as Professor Emeritus.  In 2013, he attended the ceremony at which his doctoral advisor, Peter Higgs received the Nobel Prize in Physics.  Last September he joined us for the fiftieth anniversary of the C.N. Yang Institute for Theoretical Physics, in whose development he played such an important role. Although his health declined in recent years, even into his last months he was working with former student Eric Laenen and with Bernard de Wit, both of NIKHEF in Amsterdam, on a new edition of his text in quantum field theory.

Jack was known as a dedicated teacher and a generous coworker, whom we were proud to count as a colleague. His doctoral students have themselves succeeded in research, education, and in fields beyond. Jack will be missed by his friends at Stony Brook, and across the globe by many in the community of science.