Physics celebrates remarkable careers

Temple professor Dieter Forster

Physics Department is honoring the contributions—and celebrating the well-deserved retirements—of two long-time faculty members, Theodore Burkhardt and Dieter Forster. 

After earning his PhD from Stanford University in 1967, Burkhardt taught at Lincoln University for four years and then spent several years as a researcher at the Institute Laue-Langevin in Grenoble and the Jülich Research Center in West Germany. He joined Temple as an associate professor of physics in 1981. Burkhardt, who was part of the statistical physics group, became a professor in 1987.

The productive researcher also taught a range of course, including a musical acoustics course he tailored specifically for students in Temple’s Ester Boyer College of Music and Philadelphia’s renowned Curtis Institute of Music. From 1996 to 2015, he was the department’s graduate advisor.

Forster, who earned his PhD from Harvard University in 1970, taught for several years at the University of Chicago before he came to Temple as an associate professor of physics in 1974. His 1975 book, Hydrodynamic Fluctuations, Broken Symmetry, and Correlation Functions, was published as part of W.A. Benjamin’s Frontiers in Physics series and reissued in 1990 by Addison-Wesley in its Advanced Book Classics series.

A professor since 1977, the statistical physics group member also regularly taught one of the introductory physics courses for the Temple University Honors Program. This ultimately led to his appointment as director of the program from 1995 to 2002. In addition, in 1992 he was the first recipient of the Honors Professor of the Year Award and, in 2014, was again selected for that honor by the student-led Honors Activities Board.