Richard Azuma, 1930 – 2013

I was saddened to learn that Richard “Dick” Azuma, who was a professor in the University of Toronto Physics department from 1961 to 1994 and emeritus after that, passed yesterday. He was a nuclear physicist par excellence and chair of the department when I was there as an undergraduate in the early 80’s. I was in the Engineering Science (physics option) program, which was an enriched engineering program at UofT. I took a class in nuclear physics with Professor Azuma during my third year. He brought great energy and intuition to the topic. He was one of the few professors I would talk to outside of class and one day I asked if he had any open summer jobs. He went out of his way to secure a position for me at the nuclear physics laboratory TRIUMF in Vancouver in 1984. That was the best summer of my life. The lab was full of students from all over Canada and I remain good friends with many of them today. I worked on a meson scattering experiment and although I wasn’t of much use to the experiment I did get to see first hand what happens in a lab. I wrote a 4th year thesis on some of the results from that experiment. I last saw Dick in 2010 when I went to Toronto to give a physics colloquium. He was still very energetic and as engaged in physics as ever. We will all miss him greatly.


5 thoughts on “Richard Azuma, 1930 – 2013

  1. Carson, on my family’s behalf, thank you very much for your kind remembrance of my dad. His students meant the world to him and we’re so comforted to know that the legacy he cared so deeply about lives on in those he had the privilege of teaching and working with.

    With appreciation,
    Katie Azuma


  2. i wonder if you ever came across l e h trainor who i think was at toronto.
    he wrote in JTB.

    i did meet lumsden at torotno—gave me his book with e o wilson (genes mind culture—correct math, wrong interpretation) (also met the other wilson d.s. binghampton I stayed at his house) who had a paper withe eo wilson on group selection in QRB). e o wilson iis known for ants and getting water poured on his head for sociobiology.
    i figured no way would i get in so i spent my grad application money elsehwere. lumsden told me go to soctland with n barton, ds wilson suggested uc davis since that was my view (vs dugatkin, who i met) see ‘edge’ magazine online on group selection.


  3. thanks for response. trainor had a paper with b c goodwin on morphogenesis as phase transitions. (renee thom and e zeeman had similar stuff). could be wack. i notice my writing looks like dyslexia. so it goes.


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