by Donald Lyons
February 1982 issue of Physics Today
Don Lyons knew Freda as a close colleague in the Physics
this page is at http://site.www.umb.edu/faculty/salzman_g/Freda/Lyons.htm
Freda Salzman, professor of physics at the University of Massachusetts (Boston), died on 1 April 1981 after a courageous struggle against cancer.
Born in Brooklyn in 1927, Salzman attended Brooklyn College, where she received her BS in 1949. She went on to do graduate work at the University of Illinois (Urbana), where she attained her PhD working with Geoffrey Chew on photoproduction of mesons from a single nucleon. Subsequently she held research positions at several institutions, including the universities of Illinois, Rochester and Colorado, where her husband, physicist George Salzman, was a member of the faculty. During this period, she and her husband studied single-particle exchange models for inelastic interactions at high energies. Her extension of this work to multiperipheral models was influential in early treatments of multiparticle production reactions. Boldly and successfully applying these models in kinematic regions in which the underlying approximations were difficult to justify, she nevertheless obtained significant results concerning the range of interactions at high energies. Later work by others on absorptive single-particle exchange models and Reggeized multiperipheral models was a logical extension of these early ideas. The Salzmans also made contributions to the theory of electromagnetic interactions of vector bosons during this period.
In 1965, the Salzmans both accepted positions at the newly opened Boston Campus of the University of Massachusetts. Here they were charged with the responsibility of establishing teaching and research programs in physics from scratch. Although her husband was appointed with tenure, Freda Salzman's appointment was only three-quarter time, in order to avoid a possible conflict beetween AAUP guidelines on tenure and the University of Massachusetts' policy on nepotism then in effect. Around this time, the Salzmans also presented a theory of time-reversal violation via electric dipole interactions.
In 1967, the Chancellor stated that a committee of the Board of Trustees reaffirmed as University of Massachusetts policy that husband and wife could not hold contemporaneous appointments in the same department, except under extraordinary circumstances. Subsequently the administration terminated Freda's appointment and the appointments of other wives of faculty. This action, condemned by many faculty and women scientists nationwide, led to a protracted but successful struggle by the Salzmans and the department to have Freda Salzman reinstated. The case was influential in the abolition of the nepotism policy at the university; she was reappointed to the faculty in April 1972. Despite these difficulties, which were an evident strain on her health and emotional energy, Salzman initiated research in general relativity on the dynamical content of the Schwarzchild metric. Together with previous work, it confirmed her reputation as a highly creative and versatile theoretical physicist.
Partly as a result of her difficulties as a woman scientist, Salzman became deeply involved with feminist issues and with the social consequences of scientific and technological policy. She also sought to be a model for other women engaging in scientific careers.
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