David Rowe, distinguished UofT theoretical physicist, CAP and Rutherford medal winner, passed away 8 May 2020

David J. Rowe, Emeritus Professor of Physics at the University of Toronto, passed away from a brief and sudden illness on May 8th (unrelated to the current pandemic).

 Professor Rowe pioneered (with his then graduate student George Rosensteel) the symplectic shell model, based on the Lie algebra sp(6,R), which anchors the microscopic description of collective rotational bands in nuclei. 

 To make practical calculations, Professor Rowe developed the vector-coherent- state theory of sp(6,R).  He refined his approach and expanded it with his graduate students and with mathematician Prof. Joe Repka, also from the University of Toronto, making significant contributions to the applications of group theory in nuclear physics and other areas.   

Post retirement he continued to work on representation theory and nuclear physics, publishing in 2010 “Fundamentals of nuclear models: foundational models” with his long-time friend and collaborator Prof. John Wood of Georgia Tech.  Prof. Rowe remained active in research, and kept writing until his passing, authoring by himself or in collaboration journal articles and reviews, all written in the clear and insightful style common to all his 260 or so research papers.

 David Rowe was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada in 1986.  For his contribution to theoretical physics in Canada, he received the CAP/CRM Medal in 1999.  Amongst other honors, he also received a Sloan Fellowship, and the Rutherford Memorial Medal of the Royal Society of Canada.  David Rowe also served for 3 years as Chair of the IUPAP Commission for Mathematical Physics and was a regular plenary speaker at topical conferences.


Hubert de Guise

Lakehead University