Otto Bergmann

Faculty Senate Tribute to Professor Otto Bergmann On His Retirement

Spring, 1998

Professor Bergmann is retiring this year to become Emeritus Professor of Physics. Professor Bergmann joined GW as an Associate Professor of Physics in 1962, and was promoted to the rank of Professor of Physics in 1968.

He has had a continual and deep interest in many areas of physics, and has the distinction of having contributed through his theoretical work to many of these areas. At the same time, he has shown a deep concern for the proper pedagogical aspects of physics curricula, and in particular, educating students to the broad philosophical and historical underpinnings of our current state of understanding of physics.

Professor Bergmann earned his Ph.D. in Physics at the University of Vienna in 1949. Following the award of this degree, he served as an assistant at the Institute for Applied Physics at the Technical University in Vienna, from 1949 to 1951. He then took a position at the Institute for Advanced Studies in Dublin, Ireland, where he was a scholar from 1951 to 1952. Following his stay in Ireland, he moved to South Australia to become a Senior Research Fellow at the University of Adelaide's Department of Physics from 1952 to 1955. He then joined the Physics Department at the University of New England in Armedale, New South Wales, Australia for the following two years.

In 1958 he came to the United States to become a Research Scientist at RAIS in Baltimore, Maryland. This was followed in 1959, by an appointment at the University of Alabama, first as a Visiting Associate Professor, and then as Associate Professor through 1962, at which point he joined the Department of Physics at The George Washington University.

During Professor Bergmann's tenure at GW, he served in 1967 as Visiting Professor at the Institute for Theoretical Physics, at the University of Graz, Austria, and then at the Institute for Theoretical Physics at the University of Vienna, both in 1973-74 and 1981.

Through Professor Bergmann's wide-ranging interests in physics, he has produced publications in such fields as particle physics, special and general relativity, plasma physics, and material science. During his time at GW, he directed two Master's of Science students and five Ph.D. students in their thesis and dissertation work.

He has maintained professional memberships in the American Physical Society, the New York Academy of Sciences, Sigma Psi, the Washington Academy of Sciences, the Philosophical Society of Washington, and Osterreichischer Ingenieur und Architektenverein.

Professor Bergmann served one term in the Faculty Senate, beginning in May, 1970. In addition, he served on several Faculty Senate committees, including several times on the Research Committee.

We expect that Professor Bergmann's wide-ranging interests in physics will continue into his retirement. It should be a special opportunity for him to have the time to explore more deeply those things that have interested him throughout his career, and for us to continue to enjoy his humor and insights.

1998, W.C. Parke