Karl Lembit Erdman, PhD’53, Professor Emeritus

May 21, 1926 – August 11, 2014

Karl Lembit ErdmanKarl was born to Estonian parents on a farm in Barons, AB. After public school he attended the University of Alberta and continued his graduate education at UBC earning his PhD. In 1955 he obtained a Rutherford scholarship to the University of Cambridge, UK, and returned to UBC in 1958, becoming a professor of physics. He taught undergraduate courses for many years, simultaneously conducting active research programs in nuclear, particle and applied physics. In the 1970s and 1980s he worked part-time in Switzerland, at ETH in Zurich and at CERN, near Geneva. Karl was a pioneer in the construction and development of TRIUMF (Canada’s National Meson Sciences Research Facility) in Vancouver and in 1976 he began a five-year term as associate director. He retired from UBC in 1991 and subsequently became involved with ACSI (formerly EBCO), designing and supervising the construction of small cyclotrons for industry and hospitals, continuing to do this until past his 80th birthday. He also found time to participate as an elected member of the Vancouver Board of School Trustees, served on the Vancouver Metropolitan Board of Health, was on the Board of Governors of Vancouver Community College and was a member of the BC Department of Education. Karl never liked to be the centre of attention and he’d be the last to tell you of his many accomplishments. He would tell you that his two greatest loves were family and Jesus Christ. When Dorothy, his wife of 60 years, died in 2011 he bravely carried on but the spark went out of his life. During his final months he reflected on dying and said his life had been wonderful, man’s time on earth is limited and he was ready to meet his Saviour. He was much loved and will be sorely missed.

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