Optics. At the time of writing this memoir (spring 2005) the first of these, Random Processes in Physics and Finance by Melvin Lax, Wei Cai, and Min Xu has been completed and will be published by Oxford University Press.

In the summer of 2002 Mel was found to have inoperable cancer, to which he succumbed peacefully on December 8, 2002.

Mel is survived by his wife, Judith; his daughters, Laurie and Naomi; his sons, David and Jonathan; and five grandchildren, Eric and Lena Lax, Hannah Kober, and Dahlia and Orli Katz.


Mel was always prepared to offer service to the physics community. His early work for the American Physical Society as chair of its Publications Committee was instrumental in creating the present system of electronic submission and processing of manuscripts, which is now practically universal. Mel served on the editorial boards of Physical Review and of Quantum Optics, as a member of the advisory board of World Scientific’s Modern Physics Letters B and International Journal of Modern Physics, and as editor of Advanced Series in Applied Physics. He was a member of the Basic Research Advisory Committee of the National Academy of Sciences and provided scientific services to the Naval Research Laboratory, Los Alamos National Laboratory, the U.S. Army Research Office, and the U.S. Department of Energy.

Mel was elected to the National Academy of Sciences in 1983 in recognition of his many contributions to science. He served as secretary of Class III (Engineering and Applied Physical and Mathematical Sciences) 1989-1992 and 1995-1998. He was a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the American Physical Society, the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and the Optical

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