In Memoriam

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Robert E. Holzer ’26

Robert E. Holzer ’26, May 19, 1994, in Los Angeles. He was a noted geophysicist whose career spanned six decades. After graduating from Reed, Robert studied at the University of California, Berkeley, and earned a PhD in physics in 1930. He was a National Research Fellow at the University of Chicago for two years, and then taught at Fenn College and the University of California, Berkeley, before joining the faculty of the University of New Mexico, Albuquerque, in 1936. There, he conducted pioneering research in atmospheric dynamics and cloud electrification. His need to analyze data from his research led him to design a special analog computer. Robert remained in Albuquerque for 11 years. After World War II, he returned to California to take a post as head of the physics department at Pomona College. He transferred from Pomona to UCLA in 1947, joining the newly created Institute of Geophysics. He remained at UCLA as professor of geophysics until his retirement in 1974. Robert's research there moved from thunderstorm phenomena and atmospheric electricity to space plasma physics at the beginning of the space age. He designed instruments for rocket flights and conducted research into the waves within and around the earth's atmosphere, working with researchers at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory on a number of these projects. After retirement, he continued his research in space plasma physics with funding from the National Science Foundation. He was a fellow of the American Physical Society and the American Geophysical Union. Survivors include his wife, a daughter, and two sons.

Appeared in Reed magazine: February 1995

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