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SFU PHYSICS DEPARTMENT 50 YEAR REUNION

By Charles Rhodes, P.Eng., Ph.D.

BACKGROUND:
When SFU opened in September 1965 the physics department had 1st year, 2nd year and graduate students. At that time in the 1st year physics class there were approximately 700 students enrolled in two lecture hall classes of about 350 students each. One class was taught by the then Physics Department head Rudi Haering. The other class was taught by Klaus Rieckhoff.

The first year physics lectures were modelled on a lecture series originally offered by nobel lauriate Richard Feynman.

Classes were taught on the trimester system, although not every subject was offered every semester. The scheduling issues in combination with academic exhaustion and financial pressures led most students to take at least one semester off during their undergraduate years. Another consequence of the trimester system was that a student who completed his/her degree requirements at Christmas time did not have the degree conferred until the following June, by which time he/she was often working or taking post graduate studies in a far away city.

Math was a requirement for physics. Physics was a requirement for chemistry. Chemistry was a requirement for biology. In 1965 SFU had no Faculty of Applied Science. Hence some of the physics students were really seeking careers in chemistry, biology or high technology engineering.

The standards were high. Approximately 70% of students enrolled in 1st year physics failed at Christmas. Another 30% of the remainder failed at Easter, so the number of students successfully completing 1st year was about 20% of the original enrolment.

During the years 1965 to 1968 there was considerable interest in application of lasers to communications. This matter was studied at length within the SFU physics club, which was a route by which many physics department students came to know each other socially. Wideband laser communications acttually came into widespread use a decade later after the development of low loss single mode fibre optic cable.
 

REUNION ORGANIZATION:
In the early spring of 2015 the SFU Alumni Association set in motion a celebration of the SFU 50 year anniversary. The SFU Alumni Association chose September 9, 2015 as its main celebration date. Many SFU alumni now living in far away places adjusted their personal schedules and travel plans to meet the September 9, 2015 celebration date.

In August 2015 the current SFU physics department indicated that it would have a departmental celebration on September 17, 2015. Charles Rhodes, a SFU charter student and a SFU honors physics graduate now resident in Ontario immediately raised the issue of date inconsistency between the SFU departmental celebration and the alumni association organized celebration. The 8 day separation was incompatible with most remote alumni's vacation and travel plans, for which reservations had already been booked. The current physics department was inflexible with respect to the September 17, 2015 date.

The solution was simple. Persons who were associated with the SFU physics department in its early years (1965-1968) would have their own 50 year physics department reunion. Since SFU facilities were already heavily booked during the week of September 9, 2015 it was decided to hold the 50 year physics department reunion at an off campus location. After considering various possibilities the home of Leigh and Evelyn Palmer beside Deer Lake in Burnaby, B.C. was chosen and the date and time were set as September 10, 2015 fom 2:00 PM to 10:00 PM. In this respect Leigh and Evelyn Palmer generously provided, free of charge, the use of their home, front porch, large garden deck and chairs and tables from a neighbouring facility.

It was decided to charge $20 per person attending to defray the cost of catered food and incidental expenses. As it turned out cash receipts exceeded actual expenses by $210, so the excess revenue was donated to the Evelyn and Leigh Palmer Endowment Scholarship Fund.

During the last 2 weeks of August 2015 Charles Rhodes attempted to assemble an email and telephone number list of surviving persons who he and others remembered as being associated with the SFU Physics Department during the period 1965 - 1968. This list was not limited to physics students and faculty. The list included chemistry students who shared 2nd year classes with physics students, math and chemistry department faculty who taught physics students and physics department technicians and clerical personnel. In this matter he relied on his own and others dim recollection of peoples names and on Canada 411 to find them. Today people with unususal surnames are relatively easy to find via internet searches, but persons with common surnames like Bennett or MacDonald are difficult to locate because there are thousands of them in North America. There was an additional complication that some Christian names listed on SFU Alumni records did not match the Christian names used while that person was at SFU. There were others for whom, try as we might, we simply could not remember their names. Nevertheless, with our best efforts a list was prepared and is set out on this web page. Additions to this list would be welcome.
 

DATA POSTING:
Due to work pressures related to urgent climate change and fast neutron reactor issues almost four months elapsed between the September 10, 2015 reunion and posting reunion related data on this website. The data collection was a bit chaotic, so it is possible that some mistakes have occurred. Please check the posted data and photographs and advise me of any errors. You can contact me at CSLRhodes@gmail.ca or at 905 473-1704. If you possess further information or photographs that might be relevant to this web page, please forward them to me.
Regards,
Charles Rhodes
December 29, 2015

 

SFU PHYSICS DEPARTMENT REUNION September 10, 2015 VERSION 10 INFORMATION:
NAMECONTACT INFORMATIONWILL ATTEND?PHOTO
Tony Arrottarrott@sfu.cayesPhoto, Photo, Photo, Photo
David C. Baileydbailey@physics.utoronto.cano response
Janice Banks via Leigh Palmer?
Stanley BanisterSquamish?
- need contact information
Peter Alexander BarnesUSA - need contact information
Inder Paul Batraneed contact information
Supervisor R.R. Haering
Chris Baudat nusmata@me.com no responsePhoto
Rosario Beaudet Hydro Quebec
- need contact information
Mike Billanysmiggets@shaw.ca
John Betts jebetts@shaw.ca (student of Rieckoff)no
D Baileydbailey@physics.utoronto.cano response
Lorna Bennettneed contact information
Wellington P. Chenneed contact information
Chen(student of Colbow) Vancouver area
- need contact information
Chinneed contact information
Siva Chinniah604 939-8914maybe
Patrick Washington Chungneed contact information
John Cochrandeceased 2014
T Cockrellneed contact information
Konrad Colbow colbow@sfu.ca 604 926 2730 yesPhoto
Michael John Collier604 886 1946? need contact information
Randy Collinsneed contact information
Jan Conradineed contact information
Supervisor R.R. Haering
Daryl Croziercrozier@sfu.cayesPhoto, Photo
Albert Curzoncurzon@sfu.ca yesPhoto, Photo
Gregory Robert Davidsonneed contact information
Mark Dowding mark@windgod.ca 604 506 6916 yesPhoto
Fred Einstein einstein@sfu.ca 604 777 9460probable
Judy Einstein judy_einstein@sfu.ca 604 777 9460probable
Richard Ennsrenns@sfu.cano response (deceased?)Photo
Brian Farnworthbfarnworth@shaw.ca
250 717 3381, 250 826 3381
camping in Alberta
Stephen Flachphyscsec@sfu.ca 778 782 3154 no
Robert Frindtfrindt@sfu.cayesPhoto, Photo
Jane Frindt wife of Robert Frindt yesPhoto
Peter Garnett pmgarnett18@gmail.com 604 922 7458no
Pat Goldberg whoopieg@gmail.com 604 984 2179sickPhoto, Photo
Om Guptaneed contact information
Suso Gygaxs_gygax@sfu.ca 604 926 9528no - deafPhoto
Rudi Haeringhaering@telus.netno - conflicting wedding commitment
Olav Hansendeceased after career in astrophysics
Ronald Brian Hansenneed contact information
Currie George Harbour cgharbour@aol.comon vacation in Alaska
Ronald Harrop harrop@cs.sfu.ca no response (deceased?)
Bob Holdombob.holdom@utoronto.ca no response
Dave Huntleyhuntley@sfu.cayesPhoto
Chuck Irwinirwin@sfu.cayesPhoto
Sandy Irwinwife of Chuck IrwinyesPhoto
Per Joensen joensen@telus.net no
Dieter Juergens deceased after career in geophysics
Dr. Jeanne Keegan-Henry
(AKA Jeanne Ganry)
jeanne.ganry@gmail.comyes
James Lacomb jlacombe@shaw.ca 250 656 7613yesPhoto
Alex Peter Laksaza@lynx.net 604 669 9117car problem
Margaret Linquist604 298 1797 maybe
Ken Lyallken.lyall@shaw.cano response
Mike MacDonaldsubmarine construction
- need contact information
Howard Malm howard@malm.cayesPhoto
Philip Mandersflyermanders@gmail.comyesPhoto
James Gordon McCallum(604) 858-2225?no response
John McKilliganCdn Ice pairs champion with sister Betty
- emigrated to Australia
- need contact information
Vivian Merchantv7491e@telus.net 250 549 2913yesPhoto, Photo
Ron Ninnisdeceased - cancer 2014
Donald Walter Nybergneed contact information
Supervisor K. Colbow
John Francis O'Hanlonneed contact information
Supervisor R.R. Haering
Roland OlundHusband of Margaret Linquistmaybe
J. Oxtonneed contact information
Barbara Anne Paine250 717 3381, 250 826 3381 camping in Alberta
Evelyn Palmerevelyn@sfu.ca 604 299 3731 yesPhoto
Leigh Palmerpalmer@sfu.ca 604 299 3731yesPhoto, Photo
Brian Patebpate@telus.netdeclining health
Christian Platteelneed contact information
Murray Pressmurraypress@shaw.caconflicting wedding commitment
Thomas Coin Predigerneed contact information
Michael Alexander Purvesmapurves@yahoo.ca 250 370 5567 yesPhoto
Rosie Redfield
(AKA Rosemary Gagne)
redfield@zoology.ubc.ca conflicting UBC commitmentPhoto
Charles Rhodescslrhodes@gmail.com 905 473 1704 yesPhoto, Photo
Heather Rhodeshrhodes1@telus.net 604 988 4998yesPhoto
Bermie Rieckhoffvia Klaus RieckhoffyesPhoto
Klaus Rieckhoffk_rieckhoff@sfu.ca 604 987 5655yesPhoto, Photo
Marianna Rieckhoffvia Klaus RieckhoffyesPhoto
Ian RobbLaurentian University, Sudbury?
W. Sieversneed contact information
Bhim Sain Sharmaneed contact information
Supervisor K.E. Rieckhoff
Leonard John Smithneed contact information
Sheila Sorensen(too many S Sorensens in BC)
-need contact information
Jane Teare
(wife of Daryl Crozier)
crozier@sfu.cano
Clement Harold Trenholmctrenhol@telusplanet.netno in Calgary
K. S. Viswanathankviswana@sfu.cano responsePhoto
John Walkleyjwalkley@shaw.ca 604 929 6532maybe
Walter Hugh Woollamneed contact information

 

TABLE FOR IDENTIFYING PERSONS IN PHOTOS

PERSON #PHOTO LINKNAME
PERSON #3PhotoVivian Merchant
PERSON #8PhotoAlbert Curzon
PERSON #9PhotoMike Purves
PERSON #10PhotoPhilip Manders
PERSON #11PhotoVivian Merchant
PERSON #12PhotoEvelyn Palmer
PERSON #13PhotoMarianna Rieckhoff
PERSON #14PhotoKlaus Rieckhoff
PERSON #15PhotoBernie Rieckhoff
PERSON #16PhotoJim Lacombe
PERSON #17PhotoLeigh Palmer
PERSON #18PhotoDr. Jeanne Keegan-Henry
PERSON #19PhotoEilidh Keegan-Henry
PERSON #20PhotoDave Huntley
PERSON #21PhotoKonrad Colbow
PERSON #22PhotoRobert Frindt
PERSON #23PhotoJane Frindt
PERSON #24PhotoHoward Malm
PERSON #25PhotoHeather Rhodes
PERSON #26PhotoSandy Irwin
PERSON #27PhotoTony Arrott
PERSON #28PhotoTony Arrott
PERSON #29PhotoTony Arrott & Chuck Irwin
PERSON #30PhotoChris Baudat
PERSON #31PhotoMark Dowding
PERSON #32PhotoDaryl Crozier
PERSON #33PhotoPat Goldberg
PERSON #34PhotoPat Goldberg & husband Frank
PERSON #35Photo, PhotoCharles Rhodes

 

OTHER PHOTOGRAPHIC MATERIAL:
Lasers in the Physics Department Simon Fraser University 1969-1971
by V.E. (Vivian) Merchant, October 2014
Lasers at SFU
SFU Physics Solid State Summer School At Whistler 1967
provided by by Ken Lyall
Photo
SFU Physics 50th Anniversary Photos
as edited by Vivian Merchant
Photo Collage
SFU Physics 50th Anniversary Photos
as edited by Vivian Merchant
Photo Collage

 

TEXT MATERIAL:

LASERS AT SIMON FRASER UNIVERSITY 1969-1971
Vivian Merchant was a SFU charter physics student (started in 1965) who remained at SFU for a Master's Degree in Physics during the period 1969 to 1971. He took a number of photographs which show the sophistication of the metal, glass, silica and Al2O3 experimental apparatus that SFU shops fabricated during the late 1960s. These same shops also fabricated sophisticated cryogenic apparatus. Regretfully, due to budget cuts, much of this sophisticated in-house apparatus fabrication capability was lost in subsequent years. This paper, written by Vivian Merchant in October 2014, also references various persons present at SFU and their roles during the period 1969-1971.
 

SFU Physics Club 1965-1966
This document is a collection of notes relating to 1965-1966, believed to originate from the files of Vivian Merchant. At that time Randy Collins was president of the SFU Physics Club. His girl friend was Lorna Bennett. Charles Rhodes, a SFU charter student in physics, was one of the youngest students on the SFU campus. Charles Rhodes received his drivers licence in 1965 just a few days before SFU opening. During the 1966 spring term Randy Collins and Charles Rhodes attended a Canadian Association of Physics undergraduate conference in Toronto. That trip was to have long term implications on the Canadian nuclear power industry that continue 50 years later. That trip, together with the war in Vietnam, led Charles Rhodes to take post graduate work in electrical engineering at the University of Toronto. In 2016 Charles Rhodes is a leading figure in promotion of liquid sodium cooled fast neutron reactors for arresting climate change.
 

Pat Goldberg Story
During the period 1967-68 Pat Goldberg was a stunning young blond woman who was the only female in SFU advanced physics classes. Due to a sudden illness she was unable to attend the Physics Department 50 year reunion. However, she provided the following email text concerning her family and her work:

I am married (to Frank) for almost 20 years. We have three sons (Pete (and Tracey) in Stevston, Matt (and Delia) in Winnipeg, Matt (and Jaymie) in North Vancouver) and 5 grandchildren (Justice, Riley and Maya in Winnipeg; Carleigh in Steveston; Griffin in North Vancouver) ranging from almost one to 18 years old. We have two dogs Monty (Westie) and Zoomie (Cairn x Westie).

I taught Science 10, Physics 11, Physics 12 and Physics AP-C in Vancouver at Prince of Wales and King George Secondary and took early retirement in 2009. I am currently working on my Photography and Photoshop.
 

LASERS AT SFU 1969-1971
Vivian Merchant was a SFU charter student (started in 1965) who remained at SFU for a Master's Degree in Physics during the period 1969 to 1971. During that period he took a number of photographs which illustrate the sophistication of the metal, glass, silica and Al2O3 experimental apparatus that SFU shops could fabricate in the late 1960s. These same shops also fabricated sophisticated cryogenic apparatus. Regretfully, due to budget cuts, much of this sophisticated apparatus fabrication capability was lost in subsequent years.
 

This web page last updated March 4, 2016.

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