John Allen Schmidt, born January 31, 1940 in South Dakota, died February 13, 2013, when a cerebral hemorrhage ended his ongoing battle with cancer.
Schmidt, whose profound and wide-ranging contributions to the U.S. Department of Energy’s Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory (PPPL) made him a highly respected leader in the worldwide quest for fusion energy, won wide acclaim for heading the design of cutting-edge facilities or tokamaks for magnetic fusion research.
After receiving his doctorate from University of Wisconsin in 1969, he began his 36-year career at PPPL, leading the design of controls for the Floating Multipole Experiment, one of the most advanced superconducting plasma confinement systems of the era. He subsequently became the first head of the Physics Group for TFTR, a tokamak which set world records for producing plasma heat and fusion power — over 10 million watts — while operating from 1982 to 1997.
Schmidt later headed the Advanced Projects Department at PPPL, where he nurtured a series of nascent projects including the National Compact Stellarator Experiment (NCSX), an innovative fusion facility that successfully installed some of the most complex electromagnets ever designed before construction of the project halted in 2009.
Schmidt’s accomplishments were also felt overseas. As head of the Applied Physics Division at PPPL in the 1980s, he played a key role on an international team that developed a conceptual design for a fusion power plant called INTOR which laid the foundation for the design of ITER, the world’s largest magnetic facility now under construction in France, a joint project involving European, Russian, and Japanese researchers. Also launched on Schmidt’s watch was collaboration between PPPL and South Korea on the design of K-STAR, an advanced fusion device that began operating in South Korea in 2008.
In 1996, Schmidt was named interim director and successfully led PPPL through a transition period from large fusion power producing experiments to smaller less expensive plasma research facilities including the National Spherical Torus Experiment (NSTX), a design intended to reduce the size and cost of future fusion machines.
Schmidt’s concern for the consumption and depletion of earth’s energy sources is evidenced in his broader energy research and papers analyzing penetration of fusion power into the commercial market, and his work regarding wind energy. He was also interested in broader application of plasmas and received a patent on the use of plasmas to sterilize bottles during manufacturing.
When not designing fusion facilities, Schmidt was enthusiastically engaged in fishing and rooting for the New York Yankees with his beloved son; sailplaning, and cross-country skiing. He was a master cabinet maker who designed and built all the woodwork plus bath and kitchen cabinets for his Stowe, VT home, as well as furniture for both his Vermont and New Jersey homes.
Still, among all his accomplishments, his most endearing and enduring legacy is his kind and generous gift of friendship to so many around the globe. John Schmidt was to his core a humble and good man.
Schmidt was predeceased by his parents, Delbert and Beryl Kingsburry Schmidt, and his first wife, Kathryn Phillips Schmidt. He is survived by his wife, Helen Wise; his son Michael of Newark, DE; his stepchildren, Katharine Wise (Bill Pinches), Ryan Wise (Leslie Brunner), Jenny Borut (Jeff), Mary Wise, Matthew Wise; his grandchildren Andrew, Colin, Timmy, Sam and Caleb Wise; Taylor and Stella Borut; his brother Robert (Delores); his nieces, Karen Shaw and Sue Schmidt; and nephew Curt Schmidt.
Memorial gifts may be made to the Cancer Institute of NJ Foundation, 120 Albany St., Tower 2, 2nd floor, New Brunswick, NJ 08901 or online: cinj.edu; or Fox chase Cancer Foundation, Attn: Development Office, 333 Cottman Ave., Philadelphia, PA 19111 or online: fcc.edu.
Royal Archer, former Princeton resident, passed away after a short illness in Pueblo, Colorado on February 21, 2013. He was 83.
Royal is preceded in death by his parents Major Herman N. Archer and Alice W. Archer. He is also preceded in death by a niece Alice “Lili” Archer.
Royal was born in Princeton, New Jersey, April 12, 1929, to Major and Mrs. Herman Archer. Royal spent his early years there with the exception of four years spent in the Philippines during his father’s posting there. During World War II his father, Major Archer spent three years as a prisoner of war at Camp Bilibid, Phillipines. Royal lived in Florida for two years during his father’s final illness.
Royal’s mother, Alice Archer, was a teacher at Sorbonne University in Paris, France. She also taught French at schools in Princeton including Princeton Day School where her favorite student was the late actor Christopher Reeve.
Drafted in 1951, Royal served two years with the Army artillery in Germany. After his military service, he joined David Sarnoff Research Center in Penn’s Neck, N.J. as a draftsman. He later worked for RCA Space Center at Hightstown as a technician. He spent the remainder of his working career in the aerospace industry as a space shuttle mechanic at Vandenberg Air Force Base, California and at Cape Canaveral, Florida.
Royal Archer and Rosetta Trani of Princeton, were married in Basil, Switzerland in 1962. They enjoyed many happy years travelling the world together.
Royal was an avid scuba diver and used his skill as a volunteer diver for Water Search and Rescue in Princeton. As a world traveler, he had climbed the Matterhorn in Zermatt, Switzerland. Royal was also a skilled horseman and loved his Champion Jumping paint horse named Skipper.
Upon retiring in 1994, Royal and Rosetta settled on a small ranch in Westcliffe, Colorado where he spent his last years. Royal will be remembered by the folks in Westcliffe as the “big cowboy.”
He is survived by his wife Rosetta, his brother Herman, Jr., two nephews, a niece, and nine great nieces and nephews.
A graveside service will be held at a future date upon the interment of his ashes at the Princeton Cemetery in Princeton. Memorial contributions may be made to Sangre de Cristo Hospice, 1107 Pueblo Blvd. Way, Pueblo, CO 81005.
Morton Lewin died unexpectedly but peacefully in his sleep on February 20, 2013. He was 81.
Mort grew up in the Bronx, oldest of 3 siblings. Childhood included a successful stickball career (he was a member of the “Hawks,” many of whom remained in touch well into adulthood), followed by four years at Stuyvesant High School in Manhattan. Mort excelled both academically and athletically in high school, graduating as salutatorian of his class and as a wingback and play caller of the football team. He is immortalized in a cartoon in his senior yearbook, wearing a football uniform, cradling a football in one hand and holding out a textbook in the other. During these years, he also began a lifelong passion for music, as both performer and arranger. During the summers, Mort escaped New York City to work as a bus boy and waiter at Camp Boiberik, a Yiddish summer camp in Rhinebeck NY. He met his wife, Suki, at Boiberik in 1948, and all four of their children (Cherie, Brandon, Julie, and Gene) happily continued the family tradition there in the 1970s.
He was awarded a scholarship at Princeton University, where he began as a freshman in the fall of 1950. After a semester, Mort enlisted in the army band during the Korean War and was stationed in the Panama Canal Zone (where Suki spent the second half of her childhood). When he returned to Princeton in 1954, he and Suki were married and expecting their second child. He graduated with a BS in electrical engineering in 1957, and soon added an MS in 1958 and a PhD in 1960.
Mort worked at RCA for 14 years, during which he was awarded more than ten patents and received the “Outstanding Young Electrical Engineer” award from the national electrical engineering society, ETA KAPPA NU, in 1966. In 1972, he transitioned to an academic career as a full professor at Rutgers University, where he remained until his retirement in 1999. During this phase of his career, Mort published two books: “Logic Design and Computer Organization” and “Elements of C.”
Music remained an important part of his life; he played saxophone and piano and ended up focusing primarily on jazz flute. He played in and around Princeton for years, including a 2-year stint at the Yankee Doodle Room in the Nassau Inn in the early 1970s, which he called “the best gig I ever had.” He also continued to flex his athletic muscles as an avid tennis player, playing twice a week into his 80s.
Mort is survived by his wife of more than 60 years, Suki, his four children, two younger sisters Ruth and Sondra, and eight grandchildren. He will be remembered for his love of jazz, his devotion to his family, and his brilliant mind. Contributions to honor Mort’s memory may be made to Jazz House Kids: (973) 774-2273 or www.jazzhousekids.com.