Jeff Schweitzer passed away unexpectedly last year on May 31, 2022 in his home in Ridgefield, CT. Jeff was a faculty member in the physics department for 25 years (1997-2022). Jeff earned his B.S. in Physics from the Carnegie Institute of Technology (1967), and his M.S. (1969) and Ph.D. (1972) in physics from the Purdue University conducting research in low-energy nuclear physics. After his postdoctoral research at the California Institute of Technology (1972–1974) he worked as scientific advisor at Schlumberger-Doll Research (1974–1996) where he employed his expertise in nuclear experimental techniques to applications in geology and developed several patents. Jeff served for 35 years on the editorial boards of the Journal of Nuclear Geophysics (1987-1993) and Applied Isotopes and Radiation (1993-2022). A skilled nuclear experimental physicist, Jeff applied his expertise to a wide variety of fields: from fundamental experimental nuclear physics, to astrophysics, to studies of the nanoscale kinetics in cement chemistry, to instrumentation development with applications in medical physics, forensic science, and planetary mission satellites and landers.
Jeff taught at the Waterbury campus for several years, and was a devoted mentor for his students. At UConn, he was the PhD advisor for Nada Jevtic (Phd 2003) who is now faculty at the Bloomsburg University, Tim Spillane (PhD 2008) who works now as data scientist at Hiya Inc, and James Zickefoose (PhD 2011) who is now Senior Research Scientist at Mirion Technologies, Inc. in Meriden, CT. Jeff was the mentor and co-advisor for many more PhD students including Fridah Mokaya who was Jeff’s most recent advisee. Jeff also mentored junior UConn faculty including Howard Winston and Peter Schweitzer (not related to Jeff despite the same last name).
Howard Winston recalls that Jeff went out of his way to help him during his early days at UConn. He was extraordinarily generous with his time explaining his teaching philosophy and sharing course materials. While doing so, Jeff was never overly didactic. He enjoyed talking about areas where his approaches could be customized or improved. Jeff loved to keep in touch to see how things were going. In common with others, Howard misses his warm smile and sage advice.
Fridah Mokaya recalls: “I will forever treasure this memory as it is a constant reminder of Jeff’s dedication as an advisor and mentor. Jeff greatly influenced the career path I took, I remember when I was not certain of what to do or which path to take post graduation, his words of wisdom and guidance enabled me Identify my strength and passion. He was not only an advisor and mentor but also a great friend, who would constantly call, text, email and visit to check on how everything was progressing. I will greatly miss his advice and words of wisdom.” The picture taken after Fridah’s PhD defense shows Jeff Schweitzer (second from the right) together with Fridah, her husband and daughter (middle), Richard Jones (left, main advisor) and Peter Schweitzer (right, associate advisor).
More information about Jeff can be found in the news article of the Institute of Materials Science, in Jeff’s obituary and in the article in the journal Applied Radiation and Isotopes. Many of Jeff’s articles and scientific contributions can be found on the Research Gate website.