Recent Obituaries
In Memoriam Archive

Ronald Bryan ’53

October 22, 2018, in College Station, Texas.

The third of four children born to Robert and Gladys Leonards Bryan ’53, Ronald was raised in Portland and appreciated the education and classical music training received during his formative years. He attended Reed for one semester and then earned a bachelor’s degree in physics from Yale University and a PhD in theoretical nuclear physics at the University of Rochester, where he studied with Prof. Robert Marshak.

In 1968, Ron joined the physics faculty at Texas A&M University, where he taught, researched, and published until his retirement in 2011.

When he was studying at Yale, Ron made frequent forays to discover the wonders of Manhattan—in particular Greenwich Village, where he honed his skills as a jazz pianist. Music was a part of Ron’s life. Sometimes he used it to earn money, but mostly he loved it and the camaraderie of fellow musicians. In addition to music at home and at departmental parties, Ron was a member of the Unitarian Universalist Church of the Brazos Valley for 50 years, where he participated in the music services nearly every Sunday and at ceremonies and social gatherings.

In 1962, while a postdoc at UCLA, Ron predicted the existence of a scalar meson. After some 48 years, that particle was finally listed in the official particle data tables.  For many years he helped analyze nucleon-nucleon data in terms of phase shifts, facilitating construction of models of nucleon-nucleon reactions.  He proposed the first model of elementary particles in which the particles exist in a higher-dimensional space-time that stretches off to infinity in all directions.

Ron was a Fellow of the American Physical Society, elected for his research in nuclear physics. At Texas A&M, he received a Distinguished Teaching Award from the Association of Former Students, participated in the faculty senate, and in 2011 was granted emeritus status.

In recent years, Ron became interested in the possibility that distant healing, remote viewing, chi, and other such phenomena are mediated by a physical field like the electromagnetic field, but which does not weaken over distances and is not impeded by obstructions like walls and mountains.  He proposed an experiment to look for a higher-dimensional field; this work continues, funded by private donors, through his fellow researchers in Germany.

In his early years at TAMU, Ron gathered scientists and philosophers together to discuss shared issues such as determinism. More recently he gathered diverse academics and lay people together weekly for Monday lunch to discuss material and spiritual ideas and to share personal beliefs and experiences. Through these meetings, many ideas were shared and bonds formed that continue to blossom today.

Ron is survived by his wife of 55 years, Mary Lind Bryan; their two daughters, Phoebe and Penny; and two sons from a previous marriage, William and Scott.

Appeared in Reed magazine: June 2019

comments powered by Disqus