Founder of TRIUMF
A Personal Odyssey through Six Decades of Physics - Oct 27, 2012
It has been my good fortune to have been involved in the creation of TRIUMF, forty seven years ago, and in the evolution of its science. My talk will focus on the climate of ideas from which the project emerged and on its major accomplishments using its intense beams of protons, pions and muons, and more recently, on its world-leading role, with its new radioactive beam facility, in the understanding of the evolution of stars, of the generation of the elements in the evolving stars and in the violent events which take place in our universe. TRIUMF also had a major role in the discovery, at CERN, of the Higgs. There are many open questions in the post-Higgs world and there should be many opportunities for physics in Canada for the next generation of physicists, if they make those opportunities happen.
Dr Vogt was born in Steinbach, Manitoba on November 12, 1929 and he received his academic degrees at the University of Manitoba (B.Sc. Honours 1951, M.Sc. 1952, D.Sc. hc 1982); at Princeton University (Ph.D. 1955); Queen's University (D.Sc. hc 1984); the University of Regina (LL.D. hc 1986); and Carleton University (D.Sc. hc 1988) Simon Fraser University (D.SC. hc 1995) University of British Columbia (D,Sc. hc, 1998) From 1956-65, Dr Vogt was on the staff of the Chalk River Nuclear Laboratory as a theoretical physicist where he published a large number of papers in the field of nuclear reactions and was heavily involved in the creation of the first CANDU reactors for Canada. Since 1965, Dr Vogt has been a professor at the University of British Columbia and was a founder and one of the prime movers behind the TRIUMF project (Canada's National Meson Sciences Research Facility) which is located on the campus of the University of British Columbia. Between September 1974 and April 1980, Dr Vogt was Chairman of the TRIUMF Board of Management, and since 1981 was the Director of TRIUMF until his retirement in March, 1994. From 1975 until 1981, Dr Vogt was VicePresident, Faculty and Student Affairs at the University of British Columbia.
Dr Vogt was also President of the Canadian Association of Physicists (1970-71). In June 1988 this association awarded Dr Vogt the 1988 CAP Medal for Achievement in Physics. In 1951 he was awarded the Gold Medal in Science upon his graduation from the University of Manitoba. He received the Centennial Medal of Canada in 1967, and was elected to fellowship in the Royal Society of Canada in 1970. In 1976, Dr Vogt was appointed an Officer of the Order of Canada and in 1977, was awarded the Queen Elizabeth Silver Jubilee Medal, and also the Queen Elizabeth Golden Jubilee Medal in 2002 and the Diamond Jubilee Medal in 2012 . In 1978, Dr Vogt was appointed as the first Chairman of the Science Council of British Columbia, a position which he held until 1980. In October, 1998, he received the Chairman's Award for Career Achievement from the BC Science Council. In May 1991, a physics laboratory at Tel Aviv University (Israel) was named in Dr Vogt's honour, the "Erich Vogt Laboratory for Data Analysis". In 2006 he was appointed to the Order of British Columbia and in the same year he received the UBC Faculty of Science Achievement Award for Teaching. He continued to teach first year physics, until his 80th birthday, in 2009, and in 45 years has taught more than 5000 students.
Dr Vogt has served as a member of the Physics Advisory Committee, Los Alamos National Meson Physics Facility (LAMPF) 1976-79; as a member of the U.S. Government's Nuclear Science Advisory Committee (NSAC) 1982-85; as Chairman of the Nuclear Science Advisory Committee of the Stanford Linear Accelerator (SLAC) 198487; as Chairman of the Advisory Committee for the Indiana University Cyclotron Facility (IUCF) 1983-87; as Chairman of the Accelerator Science Advisory Committee for the Lawrence Berkeley Laboratory (LBL) 1984-87; as a member of the University of Chicago Review Committee for the Physics Division for Argonne National Laboratory 1986-89; as Chairman of the Princeton University Physics Department Advisory Council 1985-92; as Chairman of the Visiting Committee of the Laboratory for Nuclear Sciences of MIT 1987-94; as a member of the Commission of Nuclear Physics for the International Union of Pure and Applied Physics (IUPAP) 1990-93; and ViceChairman of this Commission 1993-96 and Chairman 1996-99; as Chairman of the Scientific Advisory Committee for the COSY accelerator at the Kernforschungsanlage, Juelich, Germany 1989-95; and as a member of the Advisory Committee for Nuclear Physics of the same laboratory; as a member of the Advisory Committee for the Department of Physics and the Department of Space Physics & Astronomy at Rice University; and as a member of the Scientific Advisory Committee of the Paul Scherrer Institute of the ETH in Zuerich, Switzerland. For 1994-2012 he was a member of the Joint IUPAP and IUPAC Working Group for the evaluation of claims for the discovery of new elements. He was also coeditor, along with Professor John Negele of MIT, of the prestigious international series "Advances in Nuclear Physics" published by Plenum Publishing Co., in New York (first volume in 1968 continuing through the 27th volume in 2004).
Dr Vogt lives in Vancouver, BC, with his two daughters and three sons, all of them graduates of the University of British Columbia and with sixteen grandchildren, the oldest seven of whom are studying at UBC. His wife of 54 years, Barbara, died in 2006.