††††††††† On Saturday, June 3, 2006, a great and world-renowned scientist, humanitarian, environmentalist, and naturalist passed away. Dr. Leopold Ernst Halpern, died in Tallahassee after a long and valiant struggle with cancer.
††††††††† Leopold Halpern was born in 1925 in Vienna, Austria. When Hitlerís armies invaded that country in 1938, he escaped with his parents to Palestine. After World War II, he returned to Austria to aid concentration camp survivors and returning prisoners of war. Most of his own family had been killed in the Holocaust. He is survived by one niece, Mrs. Alisa Lustig, of Toronto, Canada.
††††††††† In 1952, he received his Ph.D. in physics from the University of Vienna. From 1953-1956, he was named a Fullbright Scholar at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy, NY. In 1956, Dr. Halpern returned to Vienna to become the Research Assistant to Nobel Laureate Erwin Schroedinger until 1959. Dr. Halpern† became well known in the field of gravitational physics through his research at CERN in Geneva, the Niels Bohr Institute in Copenhagen, and at other prestigious institutes and universities in Europe, Canada and the US.
††††††††† In 1974, Nobel Laureate Paul Dirac invited Dr. Halpern to collaborate with him as his Senior Research Associate at Florida State University, where he then worked for the next 30 years. In 2003, Dr. Halpern was chosen by his peers to be a Fellow of The American Physical Society, an honor which is bestowed only to its most meritorious members. In the autumn of 2004, Stanford University invited Dr. Halpern to join its Gravity Probe B Project to help interpret data gathered by Earth satellite mounted gyroscopes which are currently testing unverified predictions of Einsteinís general theory of relativity. He actively worked on this Project at Stanford until three weeks before his death.
††††††††† Over the course of his lifetime, Dr. Leopold Halpern was a passionate environmentalist and was actively engaged locally and globally in preserving the environment and wildlife for future generations. He was also an extraordinary naturopath and traditional healer and was inducted into the African Medicine Manís Society in recognition of the medical care he provided during his time in Africa. Dr. Halpern also initiated and participated in humanitarian works throughout the world, such as providing food to the most needy. His energy, brilliance and kindness will be missed by many friends and colleagues in every part of the world.
††††††††† Dr. Halpern died peacefully at the home of his friends, Gabriele Plendl and Kathleen Kirwin. According to his wishes, they will scatter Dr. Halpernís ashes in the eastern plains of Africa. A celebration of his life is being planned, the details of which will be publicized as soon as they are finalized.
†††††††† If anyone is so moved to do so, donations can be made in Leopold Halpernís memory to Big Bend Hospice, 1723 Mahan Center Blvd. [Tallahassee, FL 32308-5428], an organization of outstanding individuals who empowered Dr. Halpern to die with the extreme dignity with which he lived.