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Rodney Lee Cool
March 8, 1920–April 16, 1988
BY ROBERT K. ADAIR
RODNEY LEE COOL, whose work in experimental elementary particle physics over more than four decades played a significant role in the genesis of that field, was born March 8, 1920, at Platte, South Dakota, to George Edwin and Muriel Post Cool. George Edwin Cool was of Dutch and Norwegian stock. His father anglicized the Dutch name Koel to Cool, which is pronounced the same in the two languages. Muriel, of Dutch and English descent, was born and raised in Connecticut and moved to Platte with her family at the beginning of her high school years.
Platte is about 110 miles west of Sioux Falls and the Minnesota border and 30 miles north of the Nebraska border; about 10 miles to the northwest runs the Missouri River. The town was largely settled in the last decades of the nineteenth century when Cool's grandparents established their homes there. Rod Cool, born only thirty years after South Dakota entered the Union and only thirty years after the tragedy at Wounded Knee when the Indians in the western part of the state were subdued, was very much a son of Hamlin Garland's ''middle border." He was raised in the small town with a sister, Harriet Jane, two years younger.
A town of nearly a thousand inhabitants in 1920 and the