© The Nobel Foundation
Melvin Schwartz

American Jewish Recipients of the Nobel Prize


Melvin Schwartz: Nobel Prize Recipient of the Nobel Prize in Physics-1988
by Seymour “Sy” Brody

Melvin Schwartz was an American Jewish recipient of the Nobel Prize in Physics, 1988, which he shared with Leon M. Lederman and Jack Steinberger for the neutrino method and demonstration of the doublet structure of the leptons through the discovery of a muon neutrino.

He was born on November 2, 1932, in the Bronx, New York. He attended the Bronx High School of Science. He then went to Columbia University and received his B.S. Degree, in 1953, and his Ph.D. in physics, in 1958. He became a professor at Columbia University in 1958 through 1966.

He decided to take a position as a professor in Physics at Stanford University 1966-1983. Stanford had just built a new and large accelerator and he was anxious to utilize it for research. He was involved in the research investigating the charge asymmetry in the decay of long-lived neutral kaons.

Schwartz founded a major computer security company, Digital Pathways, Inc., in Mountain View, California. At the same time, he rejoined the Columbia University faculty. In 1994, he was appointed the I. I. Rabi Professor of Physics. He retired as Rabi Emeritus in 2000.

He was married to Marilyn Fenster and they had three children, David, Betty Marcon and Diana Bodell. He died in Ketchum, Idaho, from complications of Parkinson’s disease, on August 28, 2006.

Melvin Schwartz received many awards and honors:
● John Jay Award for Professional Achievement, 1989
● The Alexander Hamilton Medal, 1995
● A member of the National Academy of Sciences
● A member of the American Physical Society


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