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October 6, 1906–November 7, 1977
BY GEORGE PAKE
THROUGHOUT HIS LONG, PRODUCTIVE career Eugene Feenberg demonstrated a steadfast dedication to theoretical physics. His pursuit of research served not only to advance the science of many-body physics, but it also was for him a great source of fulfillment and inner contentment. He pioneered in applying non-relativistic quantum mechanics to realistic microsystems. Through proficient development and application of approximation methods, he advanced nuclear theory and contributed importantly to the theory of quantum fluids. Quiet, warm, and conscientious, he was an inspiration to his students and colleagues.
Among the young American-Jewish theoretical physicists who contributed so much to U.S. physics in the 1930s and 1940s, Gene Feenberg was somewhat unique in his western rather than urban eastern U.S. origins. He was born on October 6, 1906, in Fort Smith, Arkansas, to Polish emigrant parents, Louis and Esther Feenberg. Louis came to the United States in 1883, later returning to New York for a visit during which he met and married Esther Siegel. The Feenbergs had moved to Texas and then to Fort Smith from South Dakota. Gene was the first graduate of Fort Smith High School to attend college. He went to the University of Texas at Austin, where he majored in mathematics and phys-