Martin Israel, professor of physics and longtime administrator, will be retiring at the end of June.
Israel joined the Washington University faculty in 1968. As head of the Cosmic Ray Group and a fellow of the McDonnell Center for the Space Sciences, Israel has spent much of his research career studying galactic cosmic rays. “Cosmic rays are not really ‘rays,’” he explained. “They are charged particles, mainly atomic nuclei stripped bare of the electrons. They give us a direct sample of material from elsewhere in our galaxy.” One of many successful cosmic ray experiments, dubbed SuperTIGER, involved sending innovative instruments on a record-breaking, 55-day flight over Antarctica on a high-altitude balloon.
From 1987–1997, Israel served in university administration, including seven years as dean of the Faculty of Arts & Sciences followed by three years as vice chancellor for academic planning. After returning to teaching and research, he continued serving on multiple committees. In recognition of his years of service, Israel was awarded the 2018 Dean’s Medal in Arts & Sciences.
“The best thing about being dean of Arts & Sciences was getting to know many of our outstanding faculty members and learning about their exciting research,” Israel said. “A&S is such a wonderfully diverse organization, including areas with which I was already familiar, like physics and other natural sciences, as well as areas in which I had much to learn – from philosophy and economics to performing arts and music, to name just a few.”