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In Memoriam

Norman H. March

Professor Norman H. March in the Marie Curie Library
Professor Norman H. March in the Marie Curie Library


ICTP was saddened by the news of Professor Norman H. March's death on 2 November; he was 93.

March played a crucial role in the creation of ICTP's Condensed Matter (CM) group, together with a group of physicists including John Ziman, Paul Butcher, Stig Lundquist, Federico Garcia-Moliner, and Lung Chi-Wei. He was a member of the Solid State Advisory Committee that ICTP founder Abdus Salam created to organize the first CM activities back in 1967-1968, and to run several CM Winter/Summer Colleges. He visited ICTP almost every year, for the entire month of August, until 2016 (at age 89).

March enjoyed attending the CM Postgraduate Diploma student defenses and asking sharp questions to the students. ICTP condensed matter scientist Sandro Scandolo recalled, "I remember one of the Diploma students almost fainted when he realized that the tall, lanky, and gracious old man asking questions from the back of the room was March, the very same March of Jones&March, the textbook the student had been thoroughly studying to prepare the exam."

Erio Tosatti, a co-founder and senior member of ICTP's Condensed Matter and Statistical Physics section, remembers March's generosity of his time spent with ICTP's scientific visitors from developing countries. "Using perhaps his experience as a vicar, he got every single scientist, no matter how young or irrelevant or disorganized, to give an informal talk, or at the very least to tell him leisurely about their research, problems, goals, doubts. That attention did our visitors a lot of good, an act of humanity that I am sure remains in the hearts of many," said Tosatti.

March will be sorely missed by many at the ICTP and elsewhere.

For more information about Professor March's important role during the early years of ICTP, see the publication "A guide to the early history of the International Centre for Theoretical Physics (1960-1968)" by A. M. Hamende, available through ICTP's Marie Curie Library.