You are here

    • You are here:
    • Home > People > Recent In Memoriam (Obituaries)

Recent In Memoriam (Obituaries)

Alexander Dmitrievich Kovalenko

October 31, 1944 to April 30, 2021

A talented scientist with a worldwide reputation. Alexander Dmitrievich participated in the creation of electron accelerators LIU-3000 and SILUND-I, was one of the key leaders in the design, creation and launch of the world's first superconducting heavy ion accelerator - Nuclotron, he was one of the initiators and leaders of the NICA project at JINR.






Robert “Bob” Buhrman

April 24, 1945 to April 13, 2021
Robert “Bob” Buhrman (Photo: Cornell University)

(PO80).  Applied physicist Robert “Bob” Buhrman, M.S. ’69, Ph.D. ’73, the John Edson Sweet Memorial Professor of Engineering Emeritus and Cornell’s second senior vice provost for research, and vice president for technology transfer and intellectual property, who helped expand emerging science and engineering programs, and obtain funding for research, died April 13 in Rochester, New York. He was 75.

“Bob Buhrman was a visionary and effective leader for more than 50 years at Cornell, helping to organize numerous research centers, serving as director of Applied and Engineering Physics and as vice provost for research,” said Dan Ralph, Ph.D. ’93, the F.R. Newman Professor of Physics in the College of Arts and Sciences (A&S). “He was a valued mentor to countless students and young faculty, providing wisdom on how to succeed in science and engineering.”

Robert Alan Buhrman was born in Waynesboro, Pennsylvania on April 24, 1945, and he grew up on a small farm in Smithsburg, Maryland. He earned a bachelor’s degree in engineering physics at Johns Hopkins University in 1967 and his master’s and doctoral degrees in applied physics from Cornell.
Buhrman joined the Cornell faculty in 1973 as an assistant professor in the School of Applied and Engineering Physics. He became an associate professor in 1978 and a professor in 1983. He was named the John Edson Sweet Professor of Engineering in 1993.

Buhrman served as the associate director of the National Research and Resource Facility for Submicron Structures from 1980-83 and director of the School of Applied and Engineering Physics from 1988-98. He was the first director of Cornell’s Center for Nanoscale Systems in Information Technologies.

Buhrman led his field in developing methods to reorient nanoscale magnets (electrons) to make magnetic memories faster and more efficient. His innovations enabled spin-transfer-torque magnetic random-access memory, now in production at leading semiconductor foundries. His work was the first to demonstrate magnetic switching in a multilayer device driven by spin-transfer torque, and he also discovered a giant spin Hall effect in heavy metals, which can enable even more efficient magnetic switching.

Excerpt taken from the obituary written by Blaine Friedlander in the Cornell Chronicle on April 16, 2021

Read full obituary


Ryazanov Alexander Ivanovich

March 12, 1948 to March 23, 2021

The whole life of Alexander Ryazanov was connected with science. In 1972 he graduated from the Faculty of Experimental and Theoretical Physics of the Moscow Engineering Physics Institute. He worked at the Kurchatov Institute since 1972. He rose from an engineer-physicist to the head of a department. In 1998 he defended his Doctor of Science dissertation, and in 2000 he was awarded the title of professor. A.I. Ryazanov was a leading specialist in Russia in solid state radiation physics, as well as theoretical and experimental research in the field of radiation materials science for the development of nuclear power.





Sergey Igorevich Kopylov

February 24, 1956 to December 25, 2020

The Joint Institute for High Temperature, RAS Directorate informs with regret that on December 25, 2020, the head of the Laboratory of Superconducting and Converting Technology, Doctor of Technical Sciences, Professor, full member of the Academy of Electrotechnical of the Russian Federation, Sergey Igorevich Kopylov, suddenly died.

In 1979, S.I., Kopylov graduated from the Moscow Power Engineering Institute, worked in the department of applied superconductivity of the IVTAN USSR, where he began research and the creation of superconducting magnetic systems. In 1990, Sergei Igorevich was invited to the USA at the University of Madison, where he was engaged in computational and experimental research of superconducting cables and model superconducting magnets. The ultimate goal of all these works was the development of a record superconducting inductive storage with a winding diameter of 72 m. In 2005 he got his Doctor of Technical Sciences degree. S. I. Kopylov was a high-class leader and an established scientist who enjoyed the highest authority among professionals. He was a remarkable person, an outstanding scientist, teacher and organizer of science.

James Wong

October 9, 1927 to October 4, 2020
Dr. James Wong

(PO77). WONG, Dr. James From Wayland, MA, passed away peacefully on October 4, 2020 at the age of 92 surrounded by his family. He is survived by his beloved wife of 65 years, Lorinda (née Yung), and their seven children: Lesley Wong and husband Chris Grande (deceased) of Lexington, KY, Corinne Wong and husband Steve Wilson of San Rafael, CA, Marcy Zenobi-Wong and husband Renato Zenobi from Zürich Switzerland, Terence Wong and wife Amy Sullivan of Wayland, MA, Jamie Wong from Montreal, Canada, Jessie Harlin and husband Brian Harlin of New York, NY, and Lori Wong and husband Rick Miller of Los Angeles, CA. He was a loving grandfather to his 17 grandchildren who were a constant source of great pride and joy for him. James was born in New York City Chinatown on October 9, 1927, the youngest of eight children. Following his older brothers' lead, he entered MIT in 1944 and discovered his calling for engineering, earning his PhD in Material Science in 1955. In 1962, he founded Supercon, Inc., to which he remained dedicated, going to work every day until March 2020.

A renowned expert in the field of superconducting materials, Dr. Wong's passion for inventing led to numerous patents that advanced the manufacturing of specialty metal alloys. In 2011, he received the prestigious IEEE Award for Continuing and Significant Contributions in the Field of Applied Superconductivity for his pioneering work in producing commercial grade superconducting cables and conductors. The award has since been renamed "IEEE Dr. James Wong Award for Continuing and Significant Contributions to Applied Superconductor Materials Technology." James was dedicated to his wife Lorinda and their family. James had a green thumb and spent his free time tending his vegetable garden and flowering plants. The yearly tomato, corn, and chestnut harvests impressed everyone who had the pleasure of sharing this bounty. He was also a great lover of the ocean and spent many holidays fishing and clamming with his family. There was no food he loved better than a platter of fried clams.

Private services were held at the Lakeview Cemetery in Wayland. In lieu of flowers, gifts may be made to MIT for the Class of 1948 Student Financial Aid Fund in memory of James Wong '48. Checks may be made payable to MIT and mailed to: Memorial Gifts Office; 600 Memorial Drive, W98-500; Cambridge, MA 02139.

Obituary originally published in Boston Globe 6-11 October 2020.