Cover photo for Jack Richard Leibowitz's Obituary
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1929 Jack 2023

Jack Richard Leibowitz

July 21, 1929 — November 4, 2023

Santa Fe, NM


Jack R. Leibowitz, PhD, passed away Saturday, November 4, 2023 at the age of 94. The elder of two sons of Leon and Ida Leibowitz, Jack was born in Bridgeport, Connecticut on July 21, 1929. Jack was deeply affected by the hardships he witnessed as people struggled to survive during the decade-long Great Depression and, thereafter, during WWII. This became the foundation for a deep, lifelong empathy that he felt for the plight of others.  

Jack and his younger brother, Gordon, were the first in their family to attend college. Before full-time graduate school, Jack worked for six years in government and industrial laboratories. In this period he married Natalie E. Levine. They had two children, Jane and Jon. Jack received the PhD degree in Physics from Brown University. As a physics professor, he published widely on experimental and theoretical condensed matter physics research in refereed physics research journals, and was elected a Fellow of the American Physical Society. He was also elected a Fellow of the Washington Academy of Sciences. 

Jack told of a life-changing experience while on the physics faculty at the University of Maryland early in his academic career; in a five-week retreat with his family at the Aspen Center for Physics, he first deeply encountered the beauty of the Rocky Mountains. The Rockies later became Jack’s retirement setting when he and his then wife, Ariel Lavi McQuillan, moved to Santa Fe, New Mexico, on his retirement from academia, and hers from NASA. There Jack was a book author and painter, and remained a dedicated reader of progress in physics research, especially in cosmology. In this period, he authored “HIDDEN HARMONY, the Connected Worlds of Physics and Art” (Johns Hopkins Univ. Press). The book was recognized as among the serious looks at what art and physics as creative processes have in common. Jack was an early member of the Santa Fe Alliance for Science, made up primarily of retired scientists dedicated to introducing young students to scientific exploration. 

He is survived by his wife, Ariel; his daughter Jane M. McCreadie, of Alexandria, VA; his son Jon D. Leibowitz (Amy), of Needham, MA; grandchildren Alison and Zachary, daughter and son of Jon and Amy; brother, Dr. Gordon A. Leibowitz (Lynne), of Milford, CT; nephew, Dr. Larry Leibowitz (Lisa), parents of Maia and Ben, of Redding, CT; nephew, Dan Leibowitz, father of Remy and Cyrus, of Kentfield, CA; Mother of his children, Natalie Brenner; and is pre-deceased by niece, Jennifer Antonier, of Hamden, CT, daughter of Gordon and Lynne.  

Memorial contributions in Jack’s name can be made to the Santa Fe Conservation Trust.    

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