TPT 50th Anniversity book - page 5

Dr. Clifford Swartz was a boss such as I had
never known in prior employments. He would
come across the hall to talk with me about
manuscripts, show me a physics handbook he
was reviving, or maybe invite me to a play he
wrote that was being staged at his church. He
never asked me to do his typing, remember
phone numbers, or get him coffee (that libation
was perpetually on tap in the physics lab
The editor’s own office reflected the active
mind and varied interests of a man of many
parts. A peek from the doorway gave a general
impression. One shelf held hardbound copies
of the several books he had published. Other
shelves sagged under loads of books; file cabinet
drawers overflowed; boxes of Tinker Toys and
bags of gadgets were right at hand on the floor.
The desktop held a variety of current projects,
manuscripts. It was a man
cave to the max. I rarely walked through the
However, when it came to putting together
an issue of
The Physics Teacher
, Dr. Swartz knew
just the right words to enhance copy in need of
a bit of wordsmithing. He also was a devoted
husband, father, grandfather, teacher, mentor,
singer, poet, playwright, author, and friend. The
many hats he wore enhanced his witty editorials,
the technical articles, and even those infamous
Famous Physicist All-Star Trading Cards!
When the occasional “bump” in putting an
issue together arose, the editor remained calm.
He could quickly design a cover, correct a flaw,
insert a bit of humor, or elevate a worthwhile
submission to acceptance. As a sideline, he had
a collection of articles with student appeal, such
as “Physics to DoWhileWaiting for Your Dinner
in a Restaurant” and “Homely Experiments.” He
thrived on challenging students with “Physics
Tricks,” such as “the waltzing egg shell,” “the
candle see-saw,” and “transporting an olive.” I
often saw him walking down the hallway on the
way to class carrying a briefcase in one hand and
clutching a grocery bag of “toys” in the other.
My coworkers on
were Linda and
Holly. They were located in the College Park
office; I was in the physics building at the State
University at Stony Brook, New York. Our lines
of communication were telex and telephone.
When Holly arrived at the
office in 1989,
she operated a composite machine that spit out
long pieces of type that were “pasted up” on
boards for “shooting” the final text. She vividly
venture into the use of color, a
major move forward. I agonized over preparing
and proofing the annual index, grateful to know
that Linda would be watching for slipups.
Holly reminded me of the day we were
connected by modems and actually “spoke”
Eva Haddix
Eva Haddix taught freshman English literature at Judson College (Elgin,
IL), earned a master’s in Victorian literature (Syracuse University, NY),
and for 11 years assisted Dr. Clifford Swartz in producing
The Physics
journal at Stony Brook University (Long Island, NY).
Clifford Swartz’s love of physics and gift for
teaching drewme into a world of broadening
horizons. And I was happy there.
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