Sherman Frankel, Physics

Sherman Frankel, emeritus professor of physics at the University of Pennsylvania, died May 30. He was 96.

Dr. Frankel earned his BA from Brooklyn College in 1943. From 1943 to 1946, he was a staff member at the MIT Radiation Laboratory, and then he earned his PhD from the University of Illinois at Urbana Champagne in 1949.

He joined the faculty at Penn in 1950 as an instructor in the physics department. Over the next decade, Dr. Frankel was promoted multiple times, reaching professor status in 1960. His work dealt with color transparency and nuclear transparency in nuclei and searches for the quark-gluon plasma; problems relating to magnetic monopoles and their connection with astrophysics and particle physics experiments; and physics and public policy, publishing articles on missile defense and new smart decoys. He studied efficacy and safety of new medical drugs and procedures and had an fMRI-cognitive test research program relating to distinguishing between aging and dementia, as well as a Penn collaboration, placing cognitive tests on the web.

He was a John Simon Guggenheim Fellow in 1956 and in 1978. He won University Research Foundation Awards multiple years and also won National Science Foundation funding. He went on leave in 1974 to perform research at CERN (The European Organization for Nuclear Research). Dr. Frankel also served on the University Senate Committee, the Committee on Research, the Committee on Administration and the Committee on Overhead.

Outside of Penn, Dr. Frankel was the principal investigator for the federally-funded high-energy physics Atomic Energy Commission (AEC) research contract, which maintained the Princeton-Pennsylvania Accelerator (PPA) in the 1960s and early 1970s. He also served as associate editor for the Review of Scientific Instruments; guest scientist at the Niels Bohr Institute; guest fellow at the Stanford C.I.S.A.C.; senior fellow for the MIT Security Studies Program; visiting bioengineering professor at the University of California, Berkeley; and guest physicist at the Lawrence Radiation Laboratory in Berkeley.

He retired from Penn in 1993 and earned emeritus status at that time. Dr. Frankel is survived by his wife, Ruzena Bajcsy, professor emeritus of computer science and engineering; his son, Walter; his stepchildren Peter Bajcsy and Klara Narstedt; and his longtime friend and caregiver Patricia Stewart.