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Morris Fraenkel Scharff


1929 - 2017 Obituary Condolences Gallery
Morris Fraenkel Scharff Obituary
Morris Fraenkel Scharff La Jolla Morris "Moe" Scharff, PhD, died peacefully in his La Jolla home on November 22, 2017. Moe was known most for his deep love of others and placing their needs before his own. He is a part of us and will always be remembered.Moe was born on January 11, 1929 in New Orleans, LA to Harrietta Fraenkel and Lester D. Scharff. He received his BS in Mathematics from Tulane University in 1948, then attended The University of Chicago where he received his PhD in Physics in 1953. At The University of Chicago, he studied under Nobel laureates Enrico Fermi and Maria Goeppert Mayer. Maria Mayer, a former La Jolla resident, was also his doctoral dissertation advisor whom he continued to associate with professionally over the next decade.Upon graduation in 1953, Moe married Janice ("Jan") Schultz and they moved to northern California where he took a position at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory working with Edward Teller and Herb York. His two children, Gillian and Eric, were born during his tenure at Livermore. In 1960, the family moved to La Jolla where Moe accepted a position at General Atomic. At GA, Moe worked on a wide variety of applied physics projects, which included leading a group within Project Orion, a pioneering endeavor in our country's early space exploration days. His work during this period is referenced in George Dyson's book, Project Orion: The True Story of the Atomic Spaceship.Following his work on Project Orion, Moe formed a company called S-Cubed (Systems, Science and Software), a leading firm in its field for multiple decades, and was its first CEO. With a renewed zeal to directly and collaboratively solve difficult scientific problems, Moe later became a vice president at Science Applications International Corporation (SAIC) where he led and participated in a vast range of applied science initiatives for over 25 years, ranging from alternative energy development (solar, nuclear, wind, hydro etc.) to national security protection to modeling the human genome and many others.Beyond his passion for science, Moe was known as a quintessential Renaissance man. His many interests included nature, romantic poetry, chamber music, New Orleans jazz, theater, travel, Hindu and Greek mythologies, world events/political dynamics, modern art and many other topics. In his later years, he also developed an immense passion for roses and alstroemeria (Peruvian lilies), ordering sought-after varieties from as far away as Holland. He also became involved in the La Jolla yoga community and explored various forms of Eastern philosophy.Moe is predeceased by his wife Jan, who died in 2015. He is survived by daughter, Gillian of Berkeley; son, Eric of La Jolla; and grandson, Kiril of La Jolla.As Moe was a dedicated supporter of public television, the family recommends that donations in his name be sent to KPBS TV. Please sign the guest book online at legacy.com/obituaries/ lajollalight . January 11, 1929 - November 22, 2017
Published in La Jolla Light on Dec. 21, 2017
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