In Memoriam Of James Spyros Kouvel

May 23, 1926 - January 4, 2008

Kouvel with studentsProfessor James S. Kouvel passed away on January 4, 2008 after a period of illness. An on-campus memorial service to commemorate publicly Jim Kouvel's life, achievements and many contributions to UIC took place on Monday, January 28 in Rm 302, Student Center East, 750 South Halsted Street. To celebrate the wonderful life and many influences of this great, generous man and true scholar, collected tributes, reminiscences, anecdotes, and pictures have been gathered in to a publication which is presented below. An online obituary has been posted to Physics Today.

The Physics Department has distinctly chosen to honor his memory and his outstanding research achievements in the field of magnetism by establishing The Distinguished UIC Physics Department James S. Kouvel Lecture Series. The Distinguished UIC Physics Department James S. Kouvel Lecture Series is expected to play an important role in the academic life of the UIC campus by providing faculty, students and the public with tremendous insights and stimulating innovations in research and education. It will feature a distinguished speaker once per year and will target physics scholars of international distinction. We hope that you will support this wonderful and fitting tribute to a man who has given so much to UIC and the Department of Physics. Donors can make their checks out to the University of Illinois Foundation and on the note line write James Kouvel Lecture Series. These checks may be sent to the Office of Advancement directly or through the Department of Physics.

It is with gratitude we now celebrate the life of Dr. James S. Kouvel and his distinguished creative achievements as a scholar in Physics.

James S Kouvel was born on May 23, 1926, in Jersey City, New Jersey. Combining his studies with service in the US Naval Reserve in the South Pacific from 1944 to 1946, he earned a bachelor's degree in engineering and a PhD, both from Yale University, in 1946 and 1951 respectively. He was a research fellow at the University of Leeds in England from 1951 to 1953 where he met his future wife, Audrey Lumsden. Returning to the United States, James and Audrey taught and studied respectively at Harvard (1952- 1956). Their daughter Diana was born in Cambridge, Massachusetts. From 1956 to 1969 James Kouvel was with the General Electric Research Laboratory in Schenectady, NY. Their son Alex was born there. Over the years James spent periods as Visiting Professor at the Universities of Paris and Amsterdam and the Atomic Energy Research Establishment at Harwell, England. He also was a consultant at Argonne National Laboratory (1969-1989).

He was a physicist for General Electric Company's Research and Development Center from 1955 to 1969 before he joined the physics faculty at the University of Illinois at Chicago. A respected national figure in the study of magnetism, Professor Kouvel won the Guggenheim Fellowship (1967-68), was elected to a fellowship of the American Physics Society in 1962 and to a fellowship of the American Association for the Advancement of Science in 1983. He was a member of the editorial advisory board of the Journal of Magnetism and Magnetic Materials since 1975. He was involved in committees with the National Science Foundation and National Research Council. His more than 154 publications received above 3600 quotations.

Joining the Department of Physics in 1969, he established a sustained and distinguished record of research, teaching, professional and administrative service. For many years he served as a Director of Graduate Studies. Dr. James S. Kouvel retired in the fall after a 38-year career at UIC. It is his dedication, hard work and many years support that provided the foundation for the current high status of the UIC Physics Department. Many of the students Dr. Kouvel mentored have distinguished themselves in many aspects of academic life. Dr. Harry Radousky who graduated with Dr. Kouvel in 1982 has been a Deputy Director of the University Relations Program in the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory since 1982.

Dr. Kouvel's many research contributions, which we will outline below, raised the visibility of the UIC Physics Department. Dr. Kouvel was one of the first persons to identify exchange anisotropy as being responsible for the very interesting properties of certain transition-metal alloys and compounds. Today, these properties are used extensively in the magnetic recording industry. More significantly, later work on this topic by Gruen and Fert was instrumental for them to receive this year's Nobel Prize. Another milestone in Dr. Kouvel's career was the discovery of "giant magnetic moments" in NiCu alloys. Until the time of this discovery the magnetic properties of alloys were understood in terms of the rigid band model, which predicted a spatially uniform magnetization density. Dr. Kouvel and his co-workers showed that this is not at all the case. Their neutron scattering results demonstrated that the magnetization density is very non-uniform and concentrated in so-called magnetic clusters or giant magnetic moments. This discovery started a flurry of activities involving many scientists world-wide, and eventually led to a complete change in our understanding of magnetic properties of Alloys. Dr. Kouvel also contributed extensively in our understanding of magnetic phase transitions. Together with M. Fisher he developed a novel way of analyzing the critical behavior near a ferromagnetic phase transition. This led to a better understanding of the scaling behavior of the magnetization near the transition. These new presentations are referred to in the literature as Arrot-Kouvel plots. His seminal 1964 paper with M. Fisher, which helped to establish an influential method of analysis of critical phenomena, received more then 400 citations.

Later in his career, Dr. Kouvel did significant work on a new class of materials, called Spin Glasses. With his students, he helped to elucidate the complex nature of the magnetic interactions in these materials. He developed a new experimental technique to investigate the anisotropy of the magnetic interaction by rotating the sample in a magnetic field and simultaneously measuring two components of the magnetization vector.

Dr. Kouvel's most recent research was on vortex pinning in superconductors. The classic property of a superconductor below its critical temperature namely, its zero resistance to electric current is operational only if the magnetic filaments (known as vortices) produced by the current are prevented from moving. Hence, the strength with which the vortices are pinned inside the material is an important practical problem. Dr. Kouvel's work led to new insight into the pinning mechanism based unconventional magnetic measurements on superconducting samples as they were rotated slowly in fixed magnetic fields. These rotational experiments have been carried out on the new high-Tc superconducting compounds and uncovered many unusual features of their vortex states. A notable feature of his support for the Physics Department was his philanthropic assistance which included establishing of a fellowship in physics for outstanding physics graduate students. He and his wife, Audrey L Lumsden- Kouvel, a fellow faculty member at UIC, have generously supported the University, especially through the James Kouvel Graduate Fellowship in Physics and the Audrey Lumsden-Kouvel Graduate Fellowship in the Department of Spanish, French, Italian and Portuguese.

Expressing his loyalty to the affairs of the University in 2000, Professor Kouvel became a member of the Presidents Council, a University donor recognition organization. That same year, he became a member of the Centuria Circle of the Presidents Council. In 2006, Professor James S Kouvel was elected to membership in the University of Illinois Foundation.

For his contribution to the continuing greatness of the University of Illinois as expressed through his personal character and sharing of resources, Professor James S Kouvel will be remembered with affection.
The physics department will inaugurate The Distinguished UIC Physics Department James S. Kouvel Lecture Series in 2009. Donations in support of this may be made to the University of Illinois Foundation Attn: James Kouvel Lecture Series

Winners of the James S. Kouvel Fellowship

  • B. Alexander King III, 1997-1998
  • Adam Kaminski, 1999-2000
  • Yuanyuan Lei, 2000-2001
  • Richard Hollis, 2001-2002
  • Utpal Chatterjee, 2002-2003
  • Dunja Skoko, 2004-2005
  • Jerald Kavich, 2006-2007
  • Stephanie L. Schieffer, 2007-2008

A Partial Listing of Professor Kouvel's PhD Alumni with their Thesis Titles

  • William Charles Muellner, 1973
    Magnetic Properties of Nickel-Rhodium Alloys Near the Critical Composition for Ferrounagutiser

  • Frederick William Korty, 1980
    Magnetic Interactions in DYSB and HOSB

  • Harry Brian Radousky, 1982
    Superconductivity and Magnetism in Rare Earth Ternary and Transition Metal Compounds
  • Tak-Choi David Cheung, 1983
    Magnetic States of Pd-Ni Alloys Near the Critical Composition for Ferromagnetism

  • James Alan Gotaas, 1984
    Quadrapolar Interactions in Prag1-x CUx

  • Ibrahim Othman Abu-Alijarayesh, 1986
    Structural Instability and Quadroplar Interactions in Pr (Ag, Cu) and (Ho, Y) Cu

  • Wathiq Abdul-Razzaq, 1986
    Spin Glassiness and Ferromagnetism in Disordered Ni-Mn and Au-Fe Alloys

  • Khahil Ali Alziq, 1989
    On the Rotational Magnetic Processes and the Induced Anisotropy in Spin-Glass Alloys (Ni-Mn, Cu-Mn, and Au-Fe)

  • Seong Jae Park, 1995
    Effects of Vortex Spinning on the Magnetic Properties of Superconductors

  • Hans Goeckner, 1995
    Rotational Magnetic Properties of a Type- II Superconductor

  • Mohammad-Khair A. M. Hasan, 1995
    Vortex Flux Pinning in Type II Superconductors

  • Ihab M. Obaidat, 1998
    Rotational Magnetic Studies of Vertices in YBa2Cu3O7-d

Many have sent remembrances and anecdotes to us. We have tried to include as many as possible here.

Harry Radousky
Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory Recruiting Programs Division Leader
UC-Davis Adjunct Professor of Physics

I have known Jim Kouvel since my first days as a graduate student in 1976, and he exemplifies to me everything that is good about professors of physics. As a lecturer, he is absolutely the best, with lectures that are clear, meaningful and funny. I took his course on solid state physics that first year, and when I returned to the notes in 1985 to teach the same course, they were as fresh as ever. Jim carried that same style of teaching over into his graduate advising. His discussions sessions were like mini-lectures as he would explain a point.

Jim has a broad range of interests which all revolve around magnetism. He is widely recognized as a world expert on the subject, starting from his early days at General Electric through his almost 40 years at UIC. As students of solid state physics using Kittel (5th Edition back then), we were always impressed to be learning form someone who was actually mentioned in the text. This particular work on the magnetism of Ni near it’s Curie point emphasizes his careful approach to data analysis (J. S. Kouvel and M.E. Fisher, Phys. Rev. 136, A1626 (1964). Jim’s ability to coax crucial information out of relatively straight forward data was a signature style of his career. If shown a very smooth set of magnetization curves, Jim would say, “now there’s some data you can really sink your teeth into.”

In the late 1970’s Jim became interested in magnetic effects in superconductors, in part due to a collaboration with researchers at Argonne National Laboratory. This was a very fruitful endeavor and formed the bulk of my own thesis work.

  • Radousky, H.B., G.S. Knapp, A.T. Aldred, and J.S. Kouvel. Superconducting and Magnetic Properties of Y0.9R0.1Rh4B4. Physical Review B27:4236 (1983).
  • Radousky, H.B., A.T. Aldred, G.S. Knapp, and J.S. Kouvel. Unusual Critical Field Behavior in Y1-xErxRh4B4. Physical Review B28:2850 (1983).

With the discovery of high Tc superconductors, Jim pioneered the technique of making magnetic rotation measurements to understand flux motion in various YBCO compounds. I recall him saying at the time that the advantage of being a tenured professor is that you can try new things which might not work out at all. In this case, the technique gave a unique set of flux motion information which he pursued vigorously for many High Tc materials.

  • Park, S. J., J. S. Kouvel, H. B. Radousky, and J. Z. Liu. Cross-Flux Effect as a Vortex Pinning Process in YBa2Cu3O7 and Y0.8Pr0.2Ba2Cu3O7 Crystals. Physical Review B48:13998-14000 (1993).
  • Hasan, M.K., J.S. Kouvel, H.B. Radousky, T.J. Goodwin, and R.N. Shelton. Vortex Pinning in Polycrystalline Eu1.5-xPrxCe0.5Sr2Cu2NbO10 from Rotational Magnetic Measurements. Physica C270:216-222 (1996).
  • Goeckner, H.P., Kouvel, J.S. Vortex pinning in MgB2 polycrystals Physica C-Superconductivity And Its Applications 444 (1-2): 77-80 Sep 15 2006.

To conclude, Jim Kouvel has had a wonderfully successful career in physics and I consider myself fortunate to have benefited from his wisdom and kindness. I believe it was always Jim’s goal to never stop pursuing his research interests. This is readily illustrated by the fact you can find his papers in magnetism spanning an amazing 50 year time frame.

Wathiq Abdul-Razzaq
Professor and Director
West Virginia University

I learned from Dr. Kouvel the secret of doing research. I learned from him that we did not understand many things around us including how fridge magnets worked; thus Dr. Kouvel taught me the courage to jump into any area of research that interested me. I studied NiMn disordered alloy for my Ph.D. Degree with Dr. Kouvel, and now I am studying the danger of cell phones and some environmental studies. I published a paper with two medical doctors in a health related journal. It is exciting for me to be able to contribute to studies related to our health and I thank Dr. Kouvel for that; the courage and the knowledge he gave me were very helpful.

I am now a full professor at West Virginia University and I met many researchers during my 20 years tenure. I found that there were only very few researchers and professors like Dr. Kouvel in their honesty and research capabilities.

Professor Kouvel said once to me that he would never retire; I was surprised that he did.

Date: Sat, 05 Jan 2008
From: George Crabtree
Subject: Re: Jim Kouvel
To: Henrik Aratyn


This is sad news indeed. I have very strong memories of Jim, who was a key member of the condensed matter faculty during my graduate school days, and a member of my thesis defense committee. Later he asked me to serve on several of his students' defense committees, and I always enjoyed the experience. Once when traveling in Europe we crossed paths in Paris, when a mutual friend lent he and his wife his apartment for a week while they were away. I needed a place to stay and he graciously offered me space, we had a great evening talking and cooking.

Jim was a great spokesman for science and a builder in the department and we will all miss him.


From: Brian Kay
To: Henrik Aratyn
Subject: Re: Jim Kouvel
Date: Sat, 5 Jan 2008

My condolences to his family and the Department.


From: John F Marko
To: Henrik Aratyn
Subject: Re: Jim Kouvel

Dear Henrik,

I'm sorry that the department has lost such a towering figure. Jim was a top researcher and teacher who I always enjoyed interacting with.

Jim's pioneering work on critical phenomena in ferromagnets provided some of the essential early data that led to the scaling and later renormalization-group description of 2nd order phase transitions developed by Ben Widom, Leo Kadanoff, Michael Fisher and Ken Wilson. I was always very impressed by the fact that Jim's work was written up in Eugene Stanley's classic 1968 (!) book on Theory of Phase Transitions, which was a kind of bible for condensed matter students of the 1970s and 1980s.

My sympathies, and keep me informed about the memorial service.


From: Montano, Pedro
To: Henrik Aratyn


I wish to give my most profound condolences to Jim's family and to the Department for the loss of such an important member of the scientific community.


From: Meena Rao
Subject: Re: Jim Kouvel
Date: Sat, 5 Jan 2008 13:33:54 -0600
To: Henrik Aratyn

Dear Henrik:

My deep condolences on the loss of your dear colleague, Prof. Kouvel. This is indeed a loss to Physics, the discipline, the department and to UIC.

With regrets,
Meena Rao

Mrinalini C. Rao, Ph.D.
Vice President for Academic Affairs
University of Illinois
Professor, Department of Physiology & Biophysics, University of Illinois at Chicago

From: Hayden, Janis
To: Henrik Aratyn

Thanks for letting me know of Dr. Kouvel's death, Dr. Aratyn. It seems like an era has passed, never again to come our way. It's been a bad year for the Department of Physics!


Date: Sat, 5 Jan 2008 14:10:17 -0600
To: Henrik Aratyn
From: Christopher Comer
Subject: Re: Jim Kouvel


My condolences to you and the department. Jim was an amazing man and important in the history of Physics at UIC. I will await word of memorial services.


To: Henrik Aratyn
From: Tim Keiderling
Subject: Re: Jim Kouvel

Henrik--thank you for the notice. It is sad that Jim stayed so long with us and then faded so quickly.

I would appreciate being on the notice list when a memorial is set up.



Arthur J. Freeman
Department of Physics and Astronomy
Morrison Professor of Physics

January 22, 2008

It is with great sadness that I write in celebration of the life of Jim Kouvel – a colleague and good friend. Jim epitomized all the good things of an outstanding scientist – a strong commitment to research and teaching, an eagerness to arrive at the truth, to not tolerate faddish acceptance of a point of view, the joy of close collaboration with colleagues and peers (in which he excelled). Jim was a pleasure to interact with, always eager to be able to answer questions. He was an optimistic professional in his approach to solving problems in his most competent way, with dry wit and good humor which he put to effective use as a member of the Editorial Advisory Board of the Journal of Magnetism and Magnetic Materials for many years.

We shared a love of physics and opera. I will miss him greatly.

Art Freeman


Khalil Ziq 
King Fahd University 
Department of Physics
Dhahran, Saudi Arabia
January 20, 2007

Dear Dr. Kouvel

Few words I would like to whisper, 
Shall not suffice
No matter how long I wonder 
For that knowledge you taught is deep and longer
You touched a soul, and left us to ponder

Take care of your family first; then come back and do physics. That was his normal practice, ever since I joint his research group back in 1984. In some occasions, when I stay late in the lab, my wife used to join me, he often kept checking that every thing is OK.

Dr. Kouvel, you are a master as confident builder. Back in 1985, few days after I finished building my experiment for my thesis. The measurements revealed new unexpected results. I showed Dr. Kouvel the results: very interesting indeed! But there is some thing not quite right. Why should a vector change its magnitude as it is rotating? He asked. He then asked me to do certain calculations. The results confirmed my earlier findings. Few days after that Dr. Kouvel went to a workshop in Indiana, and took along a copy of my result. When he came back, he was very excited. He was looking for me all over the place. He did not leave any graduate students without asking about me. Eventually I went and saw him. He was very excited about the results and about the discussion that he had in the workshop with old guards of magnetism. Dr. Kouvel said that someone commented that this is very simple and very basic results that should have been done thirty years ago! But one has done it before.

After that Dear Kouvel said, with that spark in his eyes: NOW I BELIEVE YOU. Go a head you can do what ever you want to do in the lab.

At a time I did not realized that few weeks after completing the set up that I have effectively completed most of my thesis’s work.

Later we spent good part of a time discussing various issues, beside Physics: civilization and culture, poetry, ethics and our responsibility towards society.

I will always appreciate the never ending stream of ideas and thoughts about life and how we all humans influence each other. The great many discussions on socio-political issues will always be cherished.

I shared with Dear Kouvel many old stories and poetry that are rotted in the desert of Arabia. In particular, he adored compassion and love poetry in its purist fashion.

Whenever any graduate student needed a father, a brother or a friend, we found him there ready as ever.

Rest in peace Dear Mentor, part of you is living in us all.

Subject: Professor Kouvel memorial service

Dear Stephanie, 
I am one of Professor Kouvel old Ph. D. students. I graduated under his supervision in 1998. I would like to give this message [below] to his family in his memorial service at UIC. I apologize for not able to attend his memorial services because a VISA to USA will take about one month to be issued.

Kind regards

Dr. Ihab Obaidat
Associate Professor
United Arab Emirates University (UAEU) 
Department of Physics

I have known Professor James Kouvel since 1995 when I was a graduate student at UIC. Professor Kouvel was my graduate and Ph. D. thesis advisor. Professor Kouvel was not just an academic advisor for me. He was an advisor in every aspect of my life in USA where I was a foreign student there. He was continuously advising me in many things in my life and encouraging me in pursuing my Ph.D. degree in physics. I learnt physics and many other things from him. We used to have long and nice conversations in politics, economy, social sciences, religion and many other issues. I learned a lot from his wisdom in looking at a particular issue from several angles. I learned from him how to accept and respect the opinions of the others and how many conflicting issues can be solved by constructive communication. We used to share a lot of jokes and funny topics.
Professor Kouvel had several graduate students, but I believe that I was his last graduate student. He used to talk about his previous students as they were part of his family. He was always ambitious to know their progress in their lives. I personally know four persons from the Middle East region who got their Ph. D. degrees from UIC under the supervision of professor Kouvel and now are very successful professors in their countries. As usual when we meet, most of our time will be about professor Kouvel and the nice time that each one of us had with him. We even keep talk about him with other people who never met him. I believe that most of the people that we know already know professor Kouvel. Professor Kouvel had very nice and strong impressions in our lives that that all of us kept contact with him even long time after we left USA.

Professor Kouvel died but he will always be alive in our hearts. 
Ihab Obaidat

Jim Kouvel: A Tribute and Recollections

Jim and Audrey joined UIC, or the Circle Campus as it was then called, at the beginning of the 1969 academic year. I believe that over many years Jim contributed more to the Physics Department than anybody. He was also active in LAS affairs. Audrey did much for the humanities, through her position as a Professor of Spanish. I first got to know Jim when he came to UIC in 1969 to consider joining the physics faculty. In the early phase of recruiting (circa 1964-70) there was much emphasis on particle physics, driven by the nearby construction of the Fermi Lab, and to a lesser extent an emphasis on molecular and nuclear physics. However it was clear quite early on that to have a more representative and balanced department would require a strong activity in solid-state physics – now known as Materials Science. To get there we decided it would be most effective if first we hired a solid-state theorist who could then guide us to some well established and productive experimentalist.

That theorist was Jim Garland who joined the faculty in 1967. It was he who guided us to Jim who was then with GE research in Schenectady in upstate NY. He and Audrey were both persuaded to join UIC. We had managed to get both a Masters and Ph.D. program approved by the State Board of Higher Education. A big break occurred after 1970 when new graduate programs were not approved for many years. Fortunately for physics at UIC the Board could not terminate programs it had previously granted. Jim quickly developed his lab and his research program and in subsequent years attracted a loyal following of many graduate students. He played a very active role in the departmental graduate program and was graduate advisor for many years. His favorite classes were in Thermodynamics and Statistical Mechanics which he taught with great insight and verve.

On a more personal note, Jim and Audrey were good friends from the time they came to UIC. Doris felt particularly close to Audrey and very much liked and admired her and she, as I did, savored Jim’s often caustic wit. The fourth of July at their house, watching the Oak Park fireworks, became an established tradition. Sadly, last year this tradition was perforce broken with Doris’ death last May and Jim’s stroke. His sharp mind, wide-ranging interests together with his lively personality have left an indelible imprint on me. It was a joy knowing you Jim. 
To Audrey, Alex, and Diane, my deepest sympathy on your great loss. 
Jim: RIP.

Arnold Bodmer

Date: Mon, 07 Jan 2008 07:28:22 +0500
From: Vasundara Varadan <>
Subject: Re: Jim Kouvel
To: Henrik Aratyn <>

Dear Prof. Aratyn: I am sad to hear that Prof. Kouvel passed away after a truly distinguished career. I remember him very well from my days at 
UIC 69-73. I took a class from him and also had the privilege of being invited to his beautiful house. When I went on to Cornell as a post doc, Prof. Kouvel's name was all I needed to get entrance into Prof. Michael Fisher's group seminars. My condolences to Prof. Kouvel's family and his larger family at UIC.

Vasu Varadan

Subject: Jim Kouvel
To: "Henrik Aratyn" <>

Dear Dr Aratyn,

I was very sorry to learn through your email that Jim had died. I will contact Audrey directly.

As it happens on the same day as the Memorial service for Jim there is a meeting in Orsay to celebrate Albert Fert's Nobel Prize. This is very apt as Jim made many early and important contributions to the physics of magnetic metals, in exactly the area which this prize is based on.

If I can be of help in any way please tell me.

Yours Ian Campbell

From: Adam Kaminski <>

To: Henrik Aratyn <>

Dear Prof. Aratyn,

Thank you for this very sad news. Prof. Kouvel by his excellent lectures and advice is a reason why I became a Physicist. 
Best Regards,


From: Burt Holzman [] 

Subject: Quotes from Jim

Hi Stephanie,

I took an E&M course from Jim back in 95-96; at the time, I had the habit to record quote snippets from professors that I found amusing or poignant. Jim had 20 times the amount of material that I got from 
Russell or Henrik!

- B

Burt Holzman and Adam Kaminski have kindly sent us quotes from Professor Kouvel’s 401 and 402 E&M lectures from 1995-96. A sampling is provided here.


“Nothing in this world is pure, no matter what you hear on Sunday”

“Even if you don’t recall it, it is true”

“Derive Newton’s Laws and you’ll win Nobel Prize”

On magnetic charges: “They always come in two, like the cardinals on my lawn”

On proving a mathematical problem that has been skipped over: “That will be something you can do in privacy of your own chamber” 

 “This angle is acute as a button”

On referring to a problem analogous to one done before: “Why work when we’ve already done the work?”

“We also will be dealing with time variances, which should probably be sent to a special home or something…”

On referring to a trivial matter in mathematics: “We have too many other things to waste our time, excuse me, spend our time on…”

“If it’s pure symmetry, it is a ho-hummer.”

On resistance of an LR circuit that creates an arc when opened: “That resistance would depend on how much of a bloody hand you have in the switch…”

“I don’t know why it’s always an LR circuit and not an RL circuit and why it’s called RC circuit and not a CR circuit. It is probably because there’s been engineers involved with this…”

 “Somebody loves us because two of these terms cancel.”

On canceling imaginary numbers: “An i for an i and they go out.”

“We have a switch to control things. We’re into control these days…”

“If I don’t know, I suspect you don’t know”

“As Clinton said: ‘Its jobs’. Here it is algebra.”

“When the head stops nodding that means it’s become very clear, or is totally blank”

“It’s always nice to say the same thing in several different ways because there’s chance you may understand one of them.”

“Cyrillic is like Greek, but it looks like Greek gone wrong”

“I've gotten into a priming jag... When I start priming, I don't know where to stop.” 

 “This has been done carefully. It may even be correct.”

“In circuits, I don’t think there’s anything sexier than resonances”

“In this country we use 110 volts, we’re soft. In Europe they use 220, so they have a lower survival rate. It gives curious kids a tingle.”

“Keep away from nuclei. The forces would destroy you.”

“It’s just straightforward algebra, which most of you should have conquered.”

“We seem to be going backwards, but never far.”

“Although I’ve been known to sleep standing up, I normally don’t.”

“There is nice thing about blackboard: you can freeze time.”

“EM waves can be understood as potentials that are retarded, just like the rest of us.”

“You should be a little suspicious – not too suspicious.”

“For your everlasting edification…”

“We don’t want to loose our propagation, otherwise the problem becomes much less fun.”

“It’s so dazzlingly obvious, but it may blind you.”

On hearing a beeper go off: “Are you all right? It’s not connected to your kidneys, is it?”

"A lot of things have bitten the dust" - on canceling constants

"You're not going to do anything, if you have a magnet in your pocket."

"Well, I've made a mistake there. You can always say, 'Don't!' That's what we used to tell our kids."

"I don't have to tell you. But I will." 

 "That's cheating. That's also being smart. They are sometimes the same."

"This requires just a little manipulation. Not a lot, just enough to tantalize you. I'm sure you will resist it."

"If anyone tells you about a vacuum, think of nothing. Then you're right."

"Nothing like starting with an identity - something you can't really challenge."

"We may want to see [the wave] die. We might have that kind of taste."

"A coil has ambitions, like anybody, of increasing its energy."

"Of course, if [the solenoid] is held in place, it's frustrated. That's the way life is. But you can calculate the forces to find the degree of frustration!"

"At first, it seems a little crazy, but like anything else, after awhile it almost seems familiar. Maybe that will worry you."

"The solenoid is under a lot of stress. Like a lot of people... you don't know it when you look at them."

"Iron is dirt cheap. What a world this would be if this were not so! There wouldn't be much to Chicago, anyway..." 

"Noone's ever seen spin, but it was kind of catchy. Wonderful that we use words about things we can't observe."

"It's a right-handed world. Sorry about that."

"Please do this so you are convinced I am not putting something over on you."

"In other words, I'm doing nothing. But very constructive nothing."

"It's a very big circle. It's known as a straight line."

"You're lucky it's not several thousand volts, like the other end of the transformer. Very bad for the kids… Keeps the survival rate low. But you don't think about that, you're probably kind to a fault."

"ZL.. L is for load. The toaster. Or a kid's finger."

"We don't want to be left behind by the mechanical anything."

"If you see this as trivial, you're right. Well, trivial doesn't necessarily mean boring, if you go on with it. Well, it's boring. That's life."

"If you tickle the system, be very gentle because of its resonance."

"I like to write down the obvious."

"I haven't taught this course in nineteen years... It's kind of fun."

"Once you see it, it goes from impossible to trivial. First-order transition."

"J and all its derivatives are zero. It's dead."

"Faraday, whether or not he likes it, was responsible for the transformer."

"...then there's no EMF anywhere. Faraday goes to bed."

"I don't want to waste your time on that. There are much better things to waste your time on."

"You have a lot of freedom - but don't let it get to your head."

"Where was that coil? It's gone. So much for that coil."

(Seeing fingerprints left by Dr. Hoff on the chalkboard from the last class) "She's left her marks. Hoff-marks."

"In order to be lazy, you have to be clever."

"If you have a charge and it has a force, you say, 'Hey! There's an electric field!'"

"When you drive your car in a circle, as some crazed people do... There's no centrifugal force. Newton had it right! Maybe he did it with a stagecoach or something..."

"Look at a circuit, no matter how crazy. The words 'no matter how crazy' might not be in your text."

"I think [this lengthy derivation] should be done once. It's good for character."

"It's good for the soul as you see this. Someday, you'll appreciate it. Maybe."

"We crawl inside the conductor. It's big enough."

"We don't have a particle that runs into itself. That would be metaphysics."

"Has this happened to you before? Well, it's high time."

"It's trivial, and you probably know this, but that doesn't mean I shouldn't bore you by filling in the details."

"It's not a bad thing to do if the programming on TV is not red-hot."

"Sobering. Maybe even interesting!"

"Ultimately, how you do reflects on how I do, but let's not talk about that."

"How do you know that? Your friends do X-ray diffraction. You have friends in the right places."

"We remember this as clearly as can be - which is not so good."

"The ellipsoid. Well, this looks more like a baked potato, but anyways..."

"There's no way out for poor e2 and f1! Let's not spend too much time commiserating." - after setting two constants equal to zero

"I leave that for you to check. It shouldn't take you more than... three hours."

"You mustn't just laugh at me if I'm not being clear. We all suffer together."

"I want you to open your text once in a while. Hear its spine go ‘crack, crack.'"

"I want you to be able to do this without thinking. Then you'll have the advantage over those who think."

"Spontaneous. That's 'look, no hands.'"

"I'll call this 'S' later instead of 'Sb' so you'd wonder what I was talking about. You might wonder what I'm talking about anyway."

"There are some eccentric people who want to put the origin eccentrically on the sphere. There are such people. It's ok. As long as you don't run into them in the middle of the night."

"These were all done with great gusto by the French mathematicians of the 18th century. This was before the revolution - I don't know what happened to them afterwards. Legendre probably survived - he was later than the others, a kid. He was probably running around during the revolution, watching the show."

"Uniqueness is one of those things that gives mathematicians their kicks. That's what makes them special people."

"Sure, the two charges form a dipole. Whoopee!"

"First order - baby math. Second order - then you get into adolescent problems."

"There's always an advantage in being clever. Not over-clever, of course. Then you get smacked."  

"It's kind of trivial once you see it. Of course, that's true of everything."

"If we let L go to zero, then the [charges] annihilate each other. Then the problem is gone. So much for that problem."

(in an admonishing tone): "You're not going to break up the atomic nucleus. Not in this class."

"The reason for testing is to make sure you just don't nod your head and say, 'That's nonsense.'" 

 "The use of Gauss's Law puts a premium on being clever, which is an especially difficult thing to teach, especially if you're not very clever yourself."

"Radial lines. An infinity of them. I don't have time to draw them all."

"Think about generalized curvilinear coordinates. Well, don't think about it too much. That would be sadistic."

"If you like, you can build a sphere. It wouldn't be nice, but you are free to do that."

"I wish the world were entirely Cartesian. Like Chicago - except for Milwaukee Avenue."

"Mathematicians would not like this. They would accept it, but they would get slightly nauseous."

"What goes on inside the family doesn't matter - the police only look on the outside. That's an old Chicago story, otherwise you're a dead policeman."

"Sorry about the board being in 2-D, but it is."

"Computers are really meant for deviations."

"This is trivial. Well, trivial, but I used up a board and a half!"

"Now you've seen [partial derivatives]. Your innocence is gone."