In Memory

Remembering James H. Schulman and Indrek Martinson.

James H. Schulman



James H. Schulman, an OSA Fellow Emeritus and U.S. Navy Department scientist who was an expert on radiation, died December 19, 2009, in Washington, D.C., after suffering a heart attack. He was 94.

James Herbert Schulman was born in Chicago, Ill., U.S.A., in 1915 to immigrants from Eastern Europe. He was raised in Boston, where he grew up in humble circumstances.

As a young man, he worked as a busboy and took night classes at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). A professor who took an interest in the part-time student mounted a successful campaign to get him admitted full time and helped him to cover the tuition costs. Schulman received a bachelor’s degree in 1939 and a doctorate in chemistry in 1942, both from MIT.

After conducting war-time research at MIT and in industry, Schulman joined the U.S. Naval Research Laboratory (NRL) in 1946 to initiate research in luminescent materials and luminescence phenomena. This work broadened into a general program of investigation of the role of atomic scale imperfections on the optical properties of solids, resulting in important contributions to the understanding of the energy transfer processes in non-photoconduction solids, the constitution and mechanism of radiation-induced formation of atomic-scale defects in solids, and the optical properties of these defects. Schulman pioneered the application of the radiation-induced optical changes in solids and developed several practical systems that are now used worldwide for monitoring radiation doses in military, clinical and civilian applications.

The first chair of science was established at NRL in 1963 in recognition of Schulman’s basic and applied research. This honorary position was held concurrently with the line managerial positions that Schulman subsequently held at NRL. Schulman’s NRL service was interrupted in 1960-1961, when he served as the deputy scientific director and liaison scientist at the Office of Naval Research (ONR) in London. He returned to ONR in 1974 as chief scientist and scientific direct, a post he held through 1977. Shortly after returning to the United States, Schulman was appointed acting technical director of the Office of Naval Research, a position he held until he retired from the civil service in 1979.

Schulman was a research professor in the School of Engineering and Applied Science at George Washington University from 1980 to 1982 and a consultant scientist with the National Materials Advisory Board of the Commission of Sociotechnical Systems, National Academy of Sciences / National Research Council from 1979 to 1992. He was the U.S. member of the NATO Research Council from 1970 to 1982. He was also a consultant to the Subcommittee on Energy, Nuclear Proliferation and General Service of the U.S. Senate Committee on Governmental Affairs.

An OSA member since 1952, Schulman was elected as an OSA Fellow in 1965. He was also a Fellow of the National Academy of Sciences and the American Association for the Advancement of Science. His honors include the Navy Award for Distinguished Achievement in Science (1972), the Distinguished Civilian Service Award (1970), and the 75th Anniversary Award for Innovation (1998).

Schulman co-wrote Color Centers in Solids with W. Dale Compton in 1962, and he was the author of more than 100 technical papers, most of which pertained to the effect of radiation on solids. He held 16 patents, including a patent for a device that is used to measure exposure to radiation.

His wife of 61 years, Doris Greenfield Schulman, died in 2002. Schulman is survived by three children, four grandchildren and four great-grandchildren. If you would like to make a memorial donation to the OSA Foundation in honor of James H. Schulman, please visit

This obituary was contributed by the Schulman family.

Indrek Martinson



Indrek Martinson, an OSA Fellow who was a world-renowned expert in accelerator-based atomic physics, died unexpectedly on November 14, 2009. He was 71.

Martinson was an emeritus professor and director of the Institute of Atomic Physics at the University of Lund, Sweden. He was also a former chair of the Physics Section of the Swedish Royal Academy of Sciences and an adjunct professor at the University of Toledo, Ohio, U.S.A.

Martinson began his research as an assistant at the Nobel Institute of Physics in Stockholm, working under the directorship of Manne Siegbahn on beta- and gamma-ray spectroscopy. Interestingly, in a 1964 nuclear physics experiment, Martinson and a coworker set a lower limit to the lifetime of the proton that subsequently became a test of weak interaction theories. In 1968, Ingmar Bergström, then director of the Nobel Institute, suggested that Martinson investigate the field of time-resolved fast ion beam atomic spectroscopy, which was being developed by Stanley Bashkin and William Bickel at the University of Arizona. An exchange program was arranged whereby Professor Bickel came to Stockholm, and Martinson spent a year working in the Tucson laboratory.

Martinson received his Ph.D. from the University of Stockholm in 1971. In 1976, he was selected to occupy the professorship at the University of Lund that had been vacated by the retirement of Bengt Edlén. As professor and director of the Atomic Physics Institute at Lund, Martinson brought about a merger of traditional high-wavelength resolution metrology with fast ion-beam time-resolved measurements, laser- and tokamak-produced plasma studies, synchrotron radiation measurements, and Fourier transform spectroscopy. He and his coworkers made pioneering measurements of doubly excited states, developed quantum beat techniques that yielded unprecedented accuracies in lifetime and fine-structure measurements, devised ingenious methods for directly observing forbidden transition rates through differential lifetime measurements, and made measurements that have altered accepted elemental abundances in the sun and stars.

Martinson took a leading role in forging links between western scientists and their counterparts in Estonia, Lithuania, Russia, China, and Japan. He was a member of numerous international committees, including the Lithuanian and Estonian Academies of Science and the Advisory Board of the Japanese Institute of Physical and Chemical Research. In 1991, Martinson was invited to return to the city of his birth to receive an honorary doctorate from the University of Tartu, Estonia.

An OSA member since 1969, Martinson was elected as a Fellow in 1979. He was also a Fellow of the American Physical Society (APS).

Martinson had an intense interest in and knowledge of music and sports, and he was a highly ranked chess player. When international chess masters visited Stockholm, Martinson often entertained them. He was able to hold Bobby Fischer to a draw. Martinson is survived by his wife Evi, three daughters and three grandchildren.

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In Memory

Remembering James H. Schulman and Indrek Martinson.

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