Sept. 21, 2006
Vol. 26 No. 1

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    Professor Emeritus Nedelsky taught physics to undergraduates

    Leo Nedelsky, Professor Emeritus in the College, died Wednesday, July 19, at the age of 102.

    Nedelsky joined the College faculty in 1941 as an Associate Professor in Physics. In 1959, he began work as a Professor, a position he held until 1976.

    He was a recipient of the Llewellyn John and Harriet Manchester Quantrell Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching in 1962.

    Toward the end of his teaching career at the University, Nedelsky created and taught a course in the College during the late 1960s and early 1970s. The Physics course was designed for non-Physics majors and focused on relativity, quantum mechanics and Newtonian physics.

    Nedelsky had a long-standing tradition of bringing coffee and cookies to each class so that students could engage him and each other informally during the break, his way of sparking conversation with students who seemed shy during lectures.

    “My father’s passion was teaching, and at the College he felt he had found a place that valued excellence in teaching undergraduates,” said Jennifer Nedelsky, one of Nedelsky’s three children.

    Born in Novosibirsk, Russia, in 1903, Nedelsky fought in the White Army during the Russian Revolution and was part of the Army’s retreat across Siberia. He later attended high school in Harbin, China, before immigrating to Seattle, Wash., in 1923.

    He received a B.S. in Electrical Engineering from the University of Washington in 1928, a M.S. in Physics from the University of California in 1931, and a Ph.D. in Physics from the University of California in 1932.

    In addition to his daughter Jennifer, his two sons Michael and Thomas and his wife Ruth survive Nedelsky.