Remembering Iuliu Stumer

18 February 2008


Iuliu Stumer

It is with deep sorrow that we heard of the passing of Iuliu Stumer, a long standing member of the Physics Department at Brookhaven National Laboratory on February 3rd in Tel Aviv, Israel.

At a young age Iuliu contracted polio in Romania, but he did not let this handicap slow him down. Iuliu came to Israel in 1960, he did his undergraduate studies at the Technion and then continued  at Tel Aviv University, where he obtained his M.Sc. and Ph.D.  Already as a student Iuliu  displayed great talents. For his PhD experiment he collaborated with the Heidelberg Bubble chamber group and in the summers used to drive from Tel Aviv to Heidelberg using Ferry boats between Haifa and Italy.

Upon graduation Iuliu  joined Brookhaven National Laboratory, where he stayed till his retirement in 2007. At Brookhaven, Iuliu excelled, and was called on to contribute to different basic research projects. His first major experiment as part of the BNL group brought him to FNAL where the collaboration made measurements of high transverse momentum neutrals such as  π0, and η which reflected the differing parton distributions of the various beam particles. 

Following this he moved to CERN where he was first involved in experiments R806 and than later in R807 at the ISR. At the ISR Iuliu really excelled and came in to his own. He loved working at CERN in the exciting environment. In experiment R806 he was in charge of developing the software for reconstruction and for the data analysis. The amount of data was large (for those days) and the 1500 tapes that were to be analyzed were shipped to Brookhaven. To encourage the operator at the computer center to get the priority in tape handling Iuliu  installed a few well placed bottles of wine in between the tapes. This did the trick and the experiment got its priority. This was Iuliu at his best – get the physics done and motivate people to do the job.  The experiment was a great success with the discovery of single photon production and many other interesting phenomena. The experiment was the first large application of Liquid Argon Calorimeter technique and Iuliu became one of the world experts in the analysis of liquid Argon data and understanding the subtle behavior of these calorimeters.

During that time Brookhaven had trouble with the magnet design for the ISABELLE accelerator, Iuliu was drafted to work on the design of several new magnet concepts. He made critical calculations for many of these  concepts,  one of which, the two-in-one dipole, is used in the LHC machine at CERN. Following the cancellation of ISABELLE Iuliu worked a few years on novel acceleration techniques.

Following this work he returned to CERN to work on NA34/HELIOS where again he was involved in the work on Liquid Argon calorimetry and development of conceptual design for large hadron collider experiments.  He got involved in the GEM experiment for the SSC again working mainly on the optimization of the Liquid Argon calorimeter and developing novel design for the electrodes to optimize photon identification.

Since 1993 he has been involved in the ATLAS experiment where he worked first on the optimization of the Liquid Argon Calorimeter and then on the Muon system.

Iuliu’s experience and expertise was appreciated, and his door was always open for people who came to consult him on their latest analysis problem. Iuliu always was ready  with advice, and guidance.

Iuliu was a true friend always ready to help others, while refusing to get help for himself. He was the loving “uncle” to many of his younger colleagues, who became his friends as they grew up.  Iuliu loved traveling, when at CERN he would take off for a "short" drive from Geneva to the far corners in Europe, always coming back full of stories and enthusiasm.

Ten years ago he married Odette Benary – a friend and colleague from Tel Aviv. Iuliu was a loving husband. They lived in New York and Tel Aviv, until Iuliu’s retirement from BNL, when they decided to return to Israel to be close to Odette’s children and grandchildren.

Iuliu will be sorely missed by all those who were fortunate to have made his acquaintance. His family, his friends and his colleagues from all over the world.

Colin Barras

Howard Gordon

Brookhaven National Laboratory


David Lissauer

Brookhaven National Laboratory