Loren Arthur Jacobson (1938 - 2018)

  • "To the Jacobson family: I am very sorry for your loss. ..."
  • "I had the honor and pleasure of knowing Loren for the past..."
    - Lee Bricker
  • "Psalm 90:10 says that the days of our years are 70 years,..."

Loren Arthur Jacobson, 80, beloved husband, father, grandfather, brother, uncle, passed away peacefully in Santa Fe, N.M., on Dec. 26, 2018, following an extended battle with cancer. How does a family capture the essence of, and describe how much they miss, someone who was so big-hearted, loving, kind, gentle-a beautiful human being, in every sense of the word. In addition to a brilliant mind that was forever curious and loved learning as well teaching, there was also the golden voice of a wonderful singer who could melt the hearts of all who heard the beauty of his performances. His love for people and his love of life shown in all he did-be it as scientific researcher, physics teacher, mentor, family guide, or musician. All who knew him were encompassed by the warmth of his larger-than-life being.
Born Aug. 20, 1938, in St. Peter, Minnesota, Loren was the son of Loraine K. Hansen and Arthur L. Jacobson. As the family moved, he attended school in Seattle, Wash.; Limerick, Ireland; Billings, Montana; and graduated from high school in Great Falls, Montana. Upon receiving an Alfred P. Sloan Foundation Grant, Loren attended Dartmouth College, graduating in 1960. Subsequently, he received a Master's degree in Ceramics Engineering in 1962 from the Univ. of Calif, Berkeley, was commissioned as a 2nd Lt. in the U.S. Air Force, and worked as a Ceramics Engineer at the Ceramics and Graphite Branch of the Air Force Materials Lab at Wright Patterson Air Force Base in Dayton, Ohio. Here he published papers on new discoveries he made in research focused on zirconium dioxide. He co-authored several especially important papers with Larry Fehrenbacher and other colleagues.
After completing a PhD in Metallurgical Engineering at Univ. of Calif., Berkeley in 1968, Loren returned to Wright Patterson for another nine years, working at the Aerospace Research Laboratory on a variety of tasks. He analyzed Russian military hardware for Air Force Intelligence, did research on the atomic structure of zinc and titanium aluminides, and patented an alloy of gold, tin, and silicon, for brazing electronic components--primarily for silicon chips. This invention facilitated the explosive growth of the emerging microchip industry. During these years, Loren helped guide and also worked with two outstanding scientists: Dan Schectman who went on to win a Nobel Prize in 2011 for the discovery of quasi-crystals, and V. S. R. Arunachalam, who went on to lead India's Defense Research and Development Organization in the 1980s.
Following his tenure at Wright Patterson Air Force Base, Loren spent a year at the Air Force Office of Scientific Research at the Pentagon in Wash. D.C., followed by a move to Andrews Air Force Base in 1978. In 1980, he received an assignment at DARPA (Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency), where, in addition to working in internet communications, he funded a rapid solidification process, a new area of metallurgy at that time. Composite metal materials was another research area that interested him in the 1980s. An aluminum-graphite composite material was developed which saved 60% of the weight of the space telescope. At the end of these projects, he retired as a Lieutenant Colonel after 20 years in the Air Force. In 1982 he was hired by Lawrence Livermore National Lab in Calif. where for several years he did intelligence work, analyzed material samples, and continued research on beryllium and its alloys.
In 1986 Director Sig Hecker hired Loren at Los Alamos National Lab (LANL). As a technical staff member he continued to do research, present papers, and prepare publications in two areas of special expertise: 1. beryllium metal as part of various alloys and, 2. rapid solidification processing. Because he considered it essential, he developed methods for safely handling the hazardous materials he and his group worked with. Always concerned with developing new talent, Loren (or Jake, as he was often called) was an excellent mentor who provided strong guidance and support to many young researchers who worked with him on metallurgical projects. As a result, many of them continued on to graduate school, engaged in high quality research, and produced meaningful publications. In addition he worked well with sponsors in order to fund many of these research undertakings. While a staff member at Los Alamos, Loren participated in training Air Force scientific intelligence officers in Dayton, Ohio; performed materials analysis for intelligence needs; and worked with scientists in the Ukraine and Kazakhstan on approved projects. He retired from LANL in 2003. In the years since then, Loren taught metallurgy, engineering, and physics courses during most fall semesters at New Mexico Tech. in Socorro. Here he relished discussions with faculty in addition to the challenge of teaching new material to interested students. He spent countless hours working with students in need of extra support, helping them become comfortable with difficult scientific concepts. Teaching was always one of his greatest joys. In the last few months of his life he was enthusiastically developing a new solid state physics course which he had hoped to teach in the fall of 2019.
Music, especially singing, was another great joy in Loren's life. The beauty and richness of his voice led to many singing engagements. In the 1960s and 70s he sang major roles with the Springfield, Ohio Opera: Escamillo in Carmen; Sparafucile in Rigoletto; Leporello in Don Giovanni; Figaro in Marriage of Figaro, and others. In addition to a number of solo recitals, he was baritone soloist in many choral groups, among them the Pacific Mozart Ensemble in San Francisco; the Berkeley, Calif. Community Chorus; Westminster Presbyterian Choir in Dayton; the Choir at the National Shrine in Wash. D.C.; Oratorio Society of Wash. D.C.; Santa Fe Pro Coro; Santa Fe Symphony Chorus; Sangre de Cristo Chorale; Coro de Camara, Los Alamos; Los Alamos Choral Society; Santa Fe Desert Chorale; and others. One of his musical highlights was as Bass/Baritone soloist in the Bach B Minor Mass with the Oratorio Society of Wash., D.C., at the Kennedy Center in Wash. D.C.
Loren is survived by his loving family: wife, Linda Goodman of Santa Fe; daughter, Barbara Jacobson of London, England; sister, Margaret Coxwell of Santa Fe; grandson, Nathan Jacobson of Melbourne, Australia; niece, Megan Coxwell of Dolores, Colo.; nephew, Mark Coxwell of Billings, Mont.; former wife, Joanne Lithgow of Florida; and numerous friends and colleagues. His warm, generous, loving spirit will be deeply missed by all of us.
No funeral or memorial service is currently planned, at Loren's request. The Los Alamos Choral Society, however, will dedicate their Winter Concert, scheduled for 4:00 P.M., Feb. 17, 2019, to Loren's memory. Thanks are given to Dr. Ana Gleisner, Dr. Lisa Robles; Dr. Philip Shields; Dr. Matthew Jackson; Dr. Karen Lorusso; Nurse Neil Morrison; the staff at Casa Real, Legacy Hospice, and Rivera Funeral Home. In Loren's memory donations may be made to any .
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Rivera Family Funeral Home & Crematory
305 Calle Salazar
Espanola, NM 87532
(505) 753-2288
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Published in Los Alamos Monitor on Feb. 10, 2019
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