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In Memoriam — Roger Dittmann

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Updated Jan. 14: A celebration of life for Roger Dittmann will be held at 1 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 18, at the Unitarian Universalist Church, 511 S. Harbor Blvd., Anaheim, CA 92805.

Roger Dittmann, a long-serving physics educator who also spoke out on such issues of Middle East peace, died Dec. 5 at the age of 86 following a long illness.

During his 34-year tenure on campus, Dittmann taught not only about nuclear energy and its impact on society and the philosophy of physics, but also elementary, mechanical and mathematical physics. The title of emeritus was conferred in June 1998 in recognition of his wide-ranging service, which included campus and department committee involvement.

While he had been trained as a nuclear physicist, his research focused on the impact of science on society. The physicist was a visiting professor and conducted research at institutions around the world, including the Max Planck Institute in Germany and the Rutherford High Energy Lab in England.

Alumnus and campus supporter Dan Black ’67 (B.S. physics) often reported that he was inspired by four physics faculty members who he said changed his life. Dittmann was one of those educators.

Beyond teaching, he served as national coordinator of the U.S. Federation of Scholars and Sciences and on the executive boards of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, Pacific Division; the Southern California Federation of Scientists; and the American Civil Liberties Union. In the 1970s, he was U.S. representative on the Disarmament Committee of the World Federation of Scientific Workers.  

Dittmann, who earned his doctorate in physics from the University of Southern California, will be honored during a memorial service in January.