October 6, 2020 #8


Dear '66 Classmates,


Physicist Week was a big hit!  Little did we know what a bunch of science nerds we had in the Class. And how many of us had thoughts of being math or science or engineering majors until we met the guys on this page and came to our senses. One of the Masked Man Committee members was going to be a math major until a chance encounter with Tony Zee in the U-Store resulted in an epiphany.


We have about 80 masked/unmasked photos now, and they keep coming in. Of course we won't likely hear from the Class hermits, or the lost Classmates, or the eternally irritated. But that still leaves the vast majority of you unheard from. The best part of this is how we're learning about each other. If you're like the Committee, you read about someone you never knew and are proud that you have a Classmate like that. Not because they're rich or well known, but because like 95%+ of us they've had good lives, done good works, raised families, lived up to "Princeton in the Nation's Service," and been the kinds of people who we can admire.


Which certainly is true of Masked Men 8. We note, without further comment, that in addition to all being Princetonians, all living in California, and all being Physics majors, that all did graduate work at Harvard along the way. There's a small chance that these four are all the same person and that only the photos have been manipulated.


Fred Forster. The only non-physicist of the group, who sloughed off and "only" got a Harvard MBA. Fred came to Princeton from Ohio, ate at Elm, and (of course) majored in Physics, studying solar cells. Rowed lightweight crew. After Harvard he spent 40 years in finance and banking, and enormous hours founding and working with non-profits, including the Home Loan Counseling Center in L.A., which worked on the problem of enabling home loans in disadvantaged neighborhoods. Became President of a savings and loan bank and director of the Federal Home Loan Bank Board in San Francisco. Thought he retired about 10 years ago. But you can't take the boy out of physics, so he founded and ran what became the largest solar operations and management company in the U.S., which he sold in 2015. He and Aviva live in Corona del Mar.


Joel Primack. Our Class Valedictorian, Joel is a  major force in physics. He came to Princeton from California, ate at the Woodrow Wilson (he who shall not be named) Society, got his Ph.D. from Stanford and then a postdoc, of course, at Harvard. His accomplishments are too many to list in our short available space, but include Distinguished Professor at UC Santa Cruz, officer of the American Physical Society, President of Sigma Xi, one of the creators of the theory of Cold Dark Matter (part of the basis of modern cosmology), and founder of the Congressional Science Fellowship program. For his senior thesis he convinced Professor John Wheeler that his (Wheeler's) foundational theory of nuclear fission was incorrect. Winner of the '66 Locomotive Award (click here - scroll down a few paragraphs). He and his wife and collaborator Nancy Abrams live in Santa Cruz.


Jeff Weiss. Jeff is a Pennsylvanian who came to Princeton with his '67 brother. Joined Elm, worked at WPRB, and apparently was locked in the cyclotron vault in Palmer for 36 hours while working on his thesis. Got his Ph.D. at Harvard, worked briefly at CERN and at Fermilab in Illinois, then for much longer at the Stanford Linear Accelerator and finally for many years at SRI. We are, literally, not allowed to speak about the work at SRI. Jeff is in what he calls "asymptotic retirement," i.e., officially he's retired but he keeps working ever-diminishing hours. He also is an amazing and published astrophotographer (click here). He and Carol live in Sunnyvale.


Tony Zee. Tony came to us from Sao Paulo, Brazil, where his parents had emigrated from China (see Tony's oral history in PAW here). He took as many Art History courses as Physics courses and ate at WWS. Harvard Ph.D., postdoc at the Institute for Advanced Study and then Princeton faculty before moving to UC Santa Barbara. Six books published by Princeton University Press, ranging from textbooks to an effort to explain gravity to those of us who thinks it's about falling apples. Has a Princetonian English major son (Andrew '99, now an attorney with the Department of Justice) and another (Max) who isn't yet 10!  Is Max the youngest child in our Class? He and Janice live in Santa Barbara and welcome visits by Classmates.


The Masked Man Committee wants you! Send your masked/unmasked photos and your '66 mask will be on the way to you as rapidly as our busy mail clerk can manage.


The Masked Man Committee