Lincoln Lab's Foner, 82, and Sandholm, 76

Simon Foner


Simon Foner, 82, experimental physicist

Simon Foner, experimental physicist in magnetism and superconductivity, died Oct. 2 in Cambridge, Mass. He was 82.

Born Aug. 13, 1925, in Pittsburgh, Simon took a position as staff physicist at the MIT Lincoln Laboratory in 1953, where he developed the idea for and eventually patented the vibrating sample magnetometer. His name will forever be associated with that versatile and widely used method for magnetism measurements.

In 1961, he became one of the founding staff members of what would become the Francis Bitter National Magnet Laboratory (FSNML). Until 1977 he was a project leader for the FBNML, later becoming its chief scientist. He served for two years as associate director of the lab and, after 1982, was a senior research scientist affiliated with the MIT physics department.

During his tenure, FBNML was a pioneer in high-field pulsed magnet technology; Simon's advances in this area underpin much of the currently used modern pulsed field magnet technology.

Foner's honors included fellowship in AAAS, IEEE (winning the Millennium Medal in 2000) and the American Physical Society (APS). He was honored for his invention of the vibrating sample magnetometer in 1999 by winning the Joseph F. Keithley Award on the occasion of the 100th anniversary of the founding of the APS. Foner was chosen Distinguished Lecturer for the IEEE Magnetics Society in 1995-97.

In addition to his wife, Brenda, he is survived by two sons, Joel and Leonard Foner; two grandsons; two brothers and three sisters.

Ronald G. Sandholm, 76, Lincoln Labs engineer

Ronald G. Sandholm, longtime engineer at MIT's Lincoln Laboratory, died Aug. 11. He was 76.

A native of Worcester and a resident of Westfield, Sandholm retired in 1996 after more than 40 years at the Institute.

He was a principal engineer in the development of the airborne Traffic Collision Avoidance System (TCAS), now adopted worldwide. The author of more than 80 reports on missile defense, air traffic control and airplane collision avoidance, he worked with radar experts nationally and internationally to coordinate standards for TCAS.

He is survived by his wife, Luise, three children, three stepchildren and eight grandchildren.

A version of this article appeared in MIT Tech Talk on November 28, 2007 (download PDF).


Topics: Obituaries, Staff

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