In Memoriam

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Henry William Wyld Jr. ’49

Henry William Wyld Jr. ’49, October 16, 2013, in Urbana, Illinois. A Portland native, Bill was a month shy of 17 when he entered college. At Reed, he met Jeanne-Marie Bergheim ’49—whom he married in 1955—and developed a lifelong interest in mathematics and theoretical physics. He earned a BA in physics, graduating Phi Beta Kappa. On a fellowship from the Atomic Energy Commission, he went on to the University of Chicago, where he earned a PhD, completing a doctoral thesis on quantum field theory. He was an instructor in physics at Princeton University in 1954–57 and worked on research in particle physics. Bill, Jeanne-Marie, and their first child then moved to Urbana, Illinois, where Bill joined the faculty in physics at the University of Illinois, where he taught for 38 years. During his career, he also served as a consultant for the Ramo-Wooldridge Corporation, Space Technology Laboratories, and Gulf Oil. He worked in plasma physics, in fluid mechanics, and with the early mathematical development of tomography. He took sabbaticals at Oxford University in England and at CERN in Geneva, Switzerland, where he worked on theoretical studies in high-energy particle physics. He also worked at the Los Alamos Laboratory in New Mexico. He published numerous articles on theoretical physics and wrote the book Mathematical Methods for Physics. Bill also enjoyed history, biology, languages, music, and travel. His kindness and generosity, his delightful sense of humor and love of life, are greatly missed by family and friends. Bill was predeceased by Jeanne-Marie, and a daughter and son. He is survived by a daughter and grandson. A cousin, Garrard E. Wyld ’41, also graduated from Reed.

Appeared in Reed magazine: March 2014

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