1931 - 2014
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Lazarus, Alan Jay Senior Research Scientist at MIT, died peacefully in his home in Lexington, Massachusetts on March 13, 2014, of complications of Lewy-body dementia and with cutaneous T-cell lymphoma. He was 82. Alan was born in San Francisco on October 24, 1931 to Lawrence H. Lazarus and Rose Kauffman Lazarus. His early education in California schools, completed with a year at Phillips Andover Academy (1949), developed in him a love for learning, especially science. He earned degrees at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (S.B. 1953, in Physics), and Stanford University (Ph.D. 1958, in High Energy Physics). In 1959 he began a career of over 50 years at MIT where he joined pioneers in space research to study space hysics, focusing particularly on space plasma and the solar wind. At MIT's Center for Space Research (now Kavli Institute for Astrophysics and Space Research), Alan helped develop instruments for over 20 spacecraft missions to learn about the solar wind, including one on board the Voyager 1 spacecraft, launched in 1977, which this past fall was the first man-made object to travel beyond our solar system. More details about his work may be viewed at Alan was a beloved colleague to his MIT compatriots, to the many graduate students and senior thesis students he mentored, and to the wider space physics community, nationally and internationally. In addition to his research position, Dr. Lazarus was a Senior Lecturer in MIT's Physics Department. He cared deeply about his students and worked to bring delight to their learning experiences, in the first- and second-year physics courses taken by all MIT students, at more sophisticated levels, and by working to develop innovative teaching methods. In 1963 he was the first recipient of MIT's Everett Moore Baker Award for Outstanding Undergraduate Teaching, and in 1998 received the Department of Physics' William W. Buechner Faculty Award for Teaching. Always ready to share his experience and love of MIT, Alan was a caring and devoted faculty advisor to many, and from 1977-1980 was MIT's Associate Dean of Students in Charge of Freshman Advising, where he was instrumental in the creation of the Undergraduate Academic Support Office. Alan enjoyed swimming, sailing, and the rich atmosphere of MIT's collegial community. He loved music, art, and culture, good food and drink, and the company of friends and family. Lexington was Alan's home for 43 years. He was an active member of the community, serving as an elected Town Meeting member for 30 years and on various town boards and committees, from Appropriations to Hanscom Field Advisory. He was Chair of the group that founded LexMedia, the town television station. He also was deeply interested in the town schools, especially in their teaching of science, and served on the school system's Science Advisory Council and as a judge for the high school's science fairs. Father of Julia Selena Lazarus of Providence, Rhode Island, he was ready to offer fatherly comfort and advice to all who needed it. A gentle man who respected and was respected by all, Alan will be missed also by his wife of 43 years, Marianne (Mazen) Lazarus, sister and brother-in-law Louise and Pieter de Vries of San Rafael, CA, nieces Lynn Tennefoss, Nan Chrostek, Joan de Vries, nephew Mike Tennefoss, and their children Josh Tennefoss, Claire, Jasmine, and Mariel Rossi de Vries, and Matthew and John Chrostek. Friends are invited to a gathering in his honor at a place and date to be announced, and to add their recollections to

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Published in Boston Globe from Mar. 16 to Mar. 17, 2014.
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6 entries
January 18, 2015
Dear Marianne:

My belated sympathy to you and your daughter on the loss of the most gentle man I ever had the pleasure of knowing and working with. I just learned of his passing.

In the early 1970s I interviewed with, and was hired to work for this extraordinary human being. It was during my years as his secretary in offices at the Center for Space Research that I was lucky enough to be witness to your meeting him and his falling madly in love with you. I believe ar that time you were a decorator and had come to our offices to redo the large conference room at the end of the hall.

I remember with fondness how Dr. Lazarus would traverse the computer rooms and hallways in his socks, shirttails hanging out over his pants. He was always misplacing his coffee cup and I had several cups stashed away for those many times he would come into my office and ask "did you see my coffee cup anywhere?"

I must admit I had quite the crush on Dr. Lazarus. He was so handsome and, even more than that, he was smart, sensitive and humble. I adored him as a boss and person and I am so sad to hear of his passing.

I still have a photo of the two of you at your MIT wedding reception in a building across from the Charles River, cutting the wedding cake. He was one in a gazillion.

Carol Perlmutter Foster
Denver, Colorado
April 18, 2014
Dear Mrs. Lazarus,

I just learned of Alan's passing and extend to you and your family my condolences. Alan's career as a scientist is not surprising - as a boy he showed great interest in that field.

'Way back in the 1940's, Alan was a Boy Scout in Troop 14, San Francisco. I was an Assistant Scoutmaster at that time and I remember Alan as an active member of the troop. He attended the troop's High Sierra camp as well as other Scouting activities.

My sympathies are extended to you.

Joe Ehrman
Joseph Ehrman III
March 31, 2014
Thank you for your incredible contributions to physics- and to education.
Julia Hoover
March 18, 2014
Dear Alan,
We miss you! Your death is a loss to so many.
Dear Marianne,
We are so sad to hear of Alan's passing. We are remembering our visit with you two, was it last summer? I shared the MIT obituary with Bill and Steve and sent it to our grandson Adam and his girlfriend Jessica as well
I remember Alan so fondly as far back as my early high school Physics which he managed so kindly and gently to help me with.
I'm sure you and Julie have had a rough time over the past year. We send you our love and very deepest condolences.
Susy and Earl and family
March 17, 2014 name is Carrie and although I live in NY I was touched by the beautiful write up on your husband of 43 years. My heart goes out to you and I always find such comfort in the thought that God is close to the broken hearted. I hope you find comfort at this difficult time.
March 17, 2014
Dear Alan,
Darinka and I are very saddened about your passing away. You and I worked together for about 30 years. We were working together on IMPS and Voyager missions at MIT and later when I went to BU we we continue to work together on Wind missions etc. WE HAD GREAT SCIENTIFIC COLLABORATOR WHICH I THOROUGHLY ENJOYED. While working together on Wind you collaborated with my graduate students at BU. They and I always enjoyed your visits with John Steinberg when you came to the meetings. We all larned alot from you. Your vast
knowledge about solar wind was always enlightening to us all. We kept our friendship with you and your lovely wife Maryann all these years. We had great time at your parties in Lexington when you brought together many of our old friends. My wife and I enjoyed coming to those gatherings and it was always fun to to see other MIT friends.
We will miss you a lot. We hope that Julie and Maryann will be strong to carry on your beautiful family.
I am happy to be your friend.
Good by,
Anton Mavretic
Darinka Mavretic also 508 655 6579
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