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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Jacquelyn Savani (609) 258-5729
Date: March 4, 1997
Princeton Physicist Robert Dicke Dies
PRINCETON, N.J.--Robert H. Dicke, Princeton University physicist,
died today of complications from Parkinson's disease at his home in
Princeton. Dicke, 80, was the Albert Einstein Professor of Science,
emeritus, at Princeton University.
Dicke is widely known for his leadership in developing experimental
tests of gravity physics and of the standard gravitational model for
the large-scale evolution of our universe. He was responsible for the
famous 1965 paper which proposed that radiation detected near one
centimeter wavelength is left over from the hot Big Bang start of
expansion of the Universe. Dicke invented the instrument used to
detect this radiation (the Dicke radiometer, now a standard
astronomical tool) that has been key for transforming cosmology from
a theoretical to a more experimental science. The Microwave Theory
and Techniques Society awarded him its Pioneer Award in 1991 "for the
invention of the microwave radiometer."
In 1970 Dicke received the U.S. Medal of Science, the nation's
highest award for achievement in science. In 1973 he received the
NASA Exceptional Scientific Achievement Medal in recognition of "his
outstanding contributions to the success of the Apollo Moon Landing
Program." Also in 1973 the National Academy of Sciences bestowed on
him its Comstock Prize, given once every five years for "the most
important discovery or investigation in electricity, magnetism or
radiant energy." Awarded the 1974 Elliot Cresson Medal by the
Franklin Institute, he received the American Astronomical Society's
1992 Beatrice M. Tinsley Prize for his "outstanding role in the
introduction of diverse and pioneering methods of measurement applied
in the fields of microwave radiation, radio astronomy, gravity
physics, lunar science and cosmology."
Dicke, who obtained numerous patents, has been credited with
important contributions to the development of radar and to laser
Born May 6, 1916, in St. Louis, Dicke received his A.B. degree from
Princeton in 1939 and his Ph.D. two years later from the University
He joined the staff of MIT's Radiation Laboratory in 1941 and came to
Princeton as an assistant professor in 1946 and was promoted to
associate professor the following year. Dicke, who advanced to
professor in 1955, chaired the Princeton Physics Department from 1967
to 1970. He held the Cyrus Fogg Brackett Professorship of Physics
from 1957 until he was named the first Albert Einstein University
Professor of Science in 1975. He transferred to emeritus in 1984.
Elected to the National Academy of Sciences in 1967, Dicke was also a
member of the American Physical Society, the American Geophysical
Union, the American Astronomical Society and the Royal Astronomical
Society. He was awarded honorary doctorates by the University of
Edinburgh, the University of Rochester and Ohio Northern
He is survived by his wife, Annie Currie; three children, Nancy J.
Rapaport of Amherst, Mass., John R. of Wrightsville, Pa. and James H.
of Ewing, N.J.; five grandchildren; and a great-grandchild.
A memorial service will be scheduled later in the Princeton
University Chapel. Memorial contributions may be sent to the Robert
H. Dicke Fund, Princeton University Physics Department, PO Box 708,
Princeton, NJ 08544.