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David Rowe

1936 - May 8, 2020
David Rowe

Professor Rowe had a long and distinguished career in the Department of Physics at the University of Toronto, and was internationally known for his work in theoretical nuclear physics and understanding nuclear dynamics in terms of interacting neutrons and protons. 

After getting his DPhil from the University of Oxford in 1962, David held positions at the Niels Bohr Institute in Copenhagen, the Atomic Energy Research Establishment Harwell Laboratory in Oxfordshire, and the University of Rochester, before joining UofT as an Associate Professor in 1968.  He became a Fellow of Trinity College in 1989 and Professor Emeritus in 1998.  David was a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada, and received multiple honours, including a Sloan Fellowship, the Rutherford Memorial Medal and Prize of the Royal Society of Canada, and the CAP/CRM Medal and Prize for Theoretical and Mathematical Physics.

David was active in professional service.  He was Director of several Summer Institutes in Theoretical Physics and member of the organizing committees for multiple national and international conferences.  He served on committees of the Royal Society of Canada, the Canadian Association of Physicists, and NSERC, and as a member of the Editorial Boards of Physical Review C and the Journal of Physics G.  He chaired the IUPAP Commission for Mathematical Physics from 1999 to 2002.  David supervised 20 M.Sc. students and 19 Ph.D. students over his career, and published more than 260 papers.

David found the application of modern mathematical methods to the solution of physical problems fascinating and rewarding, particularly the ways in which the particles of many-body quantum systems interact to produce a variety of highly correlated collective phenomena. On his website, David wrote that: “My students, colleagues, and I have shown, for example, that the properties of a powerful hydrodynamic model of the nucleus, which exhibits vibrational and rotational dynamics with a variety of possible quantum fluid flows, can be embedded in many-nucleon quantum mechanics. The model can then be derived using the mathematical techniques of analysis by changing the neutron and proton variables to collective and intrinsic variables. It can be understood in geometrical terms, by factoring the multi-dimensional many-nucleon space into products of collective and intrinsic submanifolds, and also by algebraic methods that focus on the symmetries of the model and the expression of its algebra of observables in terms of many-nucleon observables.”

According to David's wife Una: "His great joy was that he had published a paper on May 1st which he considered to be one of the most important of his career."

By: Kimberly Strong

David's Physics Department web site: