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In Memoriam: September 2010

Published: September 15, 2010

Sema’an I. Salem, professor emeritus of physics and astronomy, died June 30 at age 83. Salem was born in the village of Bterram in El Kura, North Lebanon. Upon completion of secondary school, he taught younger grade levels to help pay for his college tuition. He earned his B.S. degree in chemistry at the American University in Cairo, Egypt, while continuing to teach part time. In 1955, Salem sailed to the U.S. and studied for his Ph.D. in physics at the University of Texas, Austin. He began his career as a college professor at Arlington State College, now the University of Texas, Arlington, in 1959. In 1961 he married Juanita Gardner and joined the faculty at CSULB. During his tenure, he authored more than 100 scientific papers, mostly on atomic physics. His table of x-ray energy levels was published in the Handbook of Chemistry and Physics. He also authored four books: Khalil and All of Lebanon; The Near East, Cradle of Western Civilization (co-authored with his daughter Lynda); Faris of Zora, a novel; The Origins of Biblical Stories; and, with Alok Kumar, edited and translated from Arabic into English an 11th century text, Science in the Medieval World. Salem was chairman of the Physics Department from 1979-88 and was chosen the 1981-82 Outstanding Professor of the Year. He retired from CSULB in 1998. In retirement, Salem served as a volunteer instructor at the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute, where he taught classes about the history of civilization.

Cramer Schultz, one of the founding fathers of the CSULB Physics Department and emeritus faculty member, passed away on Aug. 19. Schultz ranged widely over various fields of physics when he was active. He received his Ph.D. in theoretical physics from USC in 1955 on circularly polarized gamma rays. California State College Long Beach gave him his faculty position in 1953, prior to his Ph.D. completion. When he joined the faculty, the college was only four years old and had no physics department. He did experimental work on superconductors at the Federal Technical Institute in Zurich in 1960-61. He helped plan the original curriculum of the department, and took over teaching the astronomy program, adding it to the department in 1962. In the late 1960s, he did work on x-ray emission spectra; in the early 1970s he did extensive work on thin film Josephson junctions. He introduced the first computer course (PHYS 360, still in the curriculum) into the department and taught it until he retired. In the late 1970s he directed his attention to observational astronomy and studied the light curves of asteroids. Schultz also served as department chair from 1971-74.