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HERSHKOWITZ--Noah. Noah Hershkowitz, age 79, Irving Langmuir Professor Emeritus of Engineering Physics at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, died at the University of Wisconsin Hospital on November 13, 2020. He was a loving husband, father, and grandfather, and a kind and generous mentor to generations of students. Noah was born to Abraham and Sushie Hershkowitz on August 16, 1941 in the Williamsburg neighborhood of Brooklyn. He grew up in Kew Gardens, and graduated in 1958 from the High School of Music and Art, where he met Rosalyn, his future wife of 58 years. He obtained his B.S. in Physics from Union College in Schenectady in 1962, and went on to earn a Ph.D. in Physics at Johns Hopkins in 1966. He was a Professor of Physics at the University of Iowa (1967-81), and a Visiting Professor at UCLA (1974-75) and the University of Colorado-Boulder (1980-81), before joining the Wisconsin faculty in 1981. He began his career in nuclear physics, but soon changed to plasma physics because "it looked like it would be more fun (and it was)." Not only did he make groundbreaking contributions to his chosen field, but he gained the respect and admiration of his colleagues, both as a physicist and a human being. Noah had a profound impact on the education, careers, and lives of many undergraduate and graduate students, including more than 50 who received their Ph.Ds. Retiring in 2012, he remained active as an emeritus professor, continuing to collaborate on papers and to supervise students with whom he shared his love of physics. "Physics," he once explained, "is like a jigsaw puzzle that's really old. All the pieces are worn down. Their edges are messed up. Some of the pieces have been put together in the wrong way. They sort of fit, but they're not actually in the right places. The game is to put them together the right way to find out how the world works." He was a Fellow of the American Physical Society (APS), the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE), the American Vacuum Society (AVS), and the Institute of Physics (IoP UK). He was the founder and Editor- in-Chief for 16 years of Plasma Sources Science and Technology, now a top journal in the field, and also served as an Associate Editor of Physics of Fluids and Physics Review Letters. Noah received numerous awards during his career. Among them was the James Clerk Maxwell Prize in Plasma Physics (2004), the highest honor afforded by the APS Division of Plasma Physics (DPP), in which he was cited for his fundamental contributions to the physics of low-temperature plasmas. In 2015, he was presented with the IEEE Marie Sklodowska-Curie Award for innovative research and inspiring education in basic and applied plasma science. Diagnosed with primary progressive multiple sclerosis at the age of 40, Noah never let MS slow him down. His acceptance of his disability was an inspiration to his family, friends, students, and colleagues. He was a member of several disability awareness committees, but he also raised awareness simply by getting on with the work he loved, teaching, doing research, and traveling to conferences around the world even after he had to use a wheelchair full-time. He continued to work until his final hospitalization, and was a co-author on three papers presented at the APS DPP conference the day before he died. In addition to his parents, Noah was preceded in death by his sister Dorothy. He is survived by his wife Rosalyn, his daughter Elaine (Sheldon) and granddaughter Dori of Pittsburgh, PA, his daughter Debra of Madison, WI, and former students around the world.

Published in New York Times on Nov. 19, 2020.
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6 entries
November 26, 2020
No one can prepare you for a loss; it comes like a swift wind. However, take comfort in knowing God is with you and your family lean on him in your time of need. Please accept my most heartfelt condolences.
Simone Taylor
November 24, 2020
Dear Ros, Debbie and Laney: I just happened upon the obituary for Noah and am so saddened. He was a very important person in Tom's life, as your whole family was in mine. I have many fond memories of those early days and send you my heartfelt sympathies. Lora (Intrator) Woods
Lora Woods
November 19, 2020
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Ron Drusin
November 19, 2020
Ros: So sorry for your loss. Noah was a wonderful human being...a real mensch. My heart goes out to you and your family.
Gail Dobrofsky Scherer, M&A class of 58
November 18, 2020
We loved all the many evenings we shared with Noah, Roz, and Debra where we felt like we were family. We especially loved that he so enjoyed Debra's 50th birthday where we got to meet more friends and his students. We will miss him and know what a genuinely beautiful--in addition to brilliant--man he was.
Bobbie and Bill Malone
November 18, 2020
Offering our deepest condolences during this difficult time.
The Staff of Cress Funeral & Cremation Service
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