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  • In Memoriam:Joan Lisa Bromberg, 1929–2015

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Joan Lisa Bromberg passed away in October 2015 at the age of 86, in Baltimore, Maryland. Since 2000 she had been Visiting Scholar in the Department of History of Science and Technology at the Johns Hopkins University, where she worked on projects in the history of physics and participated in the weekly departmental colloquium. Joan was born on October 5, 1929. She had three degrees: an AB in Physics from Vassar College (1951), MS in Physics from the University of Connecticut (1953), and PhD in History of Science from the University of Wisconsin (1966). She briefly held faculty positions at the University of Hawaii (1965–67) and Polytechnic Institute of New York (1967–1969) but after that made her career mostly as an independent scholar and contract historian. Several short-term research and lecturing appointments took her to Copenhagen, Israel, Boston, Washington, and Venezuela. She was contract historian to the U.S. Department of Energy from 1977–1981, Director of the Laser History Project from 1982–1989, and contract historian to the National Aeronautics and Space Administration from 1993–1998.

A highly respected historian of physics and technology, Joan published three books: Fusion: Science, Politics and the Invention of a New Energy Source (MIT Press, 1982), The Laser in America, 1950–1970 (MIT Press, 1991), and NASA and the Space Industry ( Johns Hopkins University Press, 1999). Her scholarly articles since the mid-1960s included work on the history of Maxwellian science, atomic theory, quantum mechanics, the development of the laser, superconductivity, and finally, her work on coherence and noise that appears in this issue of Perspectives on Science.

Joan had a strong sense of social justice and was committed to helping the disadvantaged. This help took various forms, ranging from sending much needed books and journals to her academic colleagues in Cuba, to tutoring English-as a-second-language and mathematics to young people in Baltimore. [End Page 144]



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