The 100 / #76: Walter Benenson

#76 Walter Benenson Professor of Nuclear Physics Michigan, USA

Walter's images

    • Our house Sunday morning -- Walter Benenson
    • Sunday morning walk, my wife Antje at the Healing Gardens behind The MSU Medical School. -- Walter Benenson
    • Healing Gardens behind the medical school at MSU -- Walter Benenson
    • Healing Gardens -- Walter Benenson
    • MSU Horticultural Gardens -- Walter Benenson
    • MSU Horticultural Gardens -- Walter Benenson
    • Some of our flowers -- Walter Benenson
    • The building which houses the MSU physics department -- Walter Benenson
    • A meeting with my Lyman Briggs College physics colleagues -- Walter Benenson
    • Yearly calibration of the Geiger counters in my teaching lab -- Walter Benenson
    • My weekly wine buying chore. 10% off on Tuesday! -- Walter Benenson
    • Michigan Athletic Club front entrance -- Walter Benenson
    • Michigan Athletic Club outdoor pool -- Walter Benenson
    • Training Machines at the MAC -- Walter Benenson
    • My trainer Keri -- Walter Benenson
    • Keri helping me with my yoga posture -- Walter Benenson
    • Meridian Farm Market with the lady who sells me a bouquet every Saturday. -- Walter Benenson
    • Hard choice: which bouquet to buy? -- Walter Benenson
    • The first hole at Timber Ridge with the commissar, Hugh Hess -- Walter Benenson
    • First hole which is about to be bogeyed by me -- Walter Benenson
    • 16th hole. The tee is at the highest point in Ingham County, and the water is about to receive my ball. -- Walter Benenson
    • Weekly lunch at Sansu with Brad and our favorite staff member Yoomin. -- Walter Benenson
    • I got into this picture with Brad and Yoomin -- Walter Benenson
    • The almost finished Broad Museum at Michigan State University -- Walter Benenson
    • The almost finished Broad Museum on the MSY campus -- Walter Benenson
    • Broad Museum -- Walter Benenson
    • Broad Museum -- Walter Benenson
    • Broad Museum which opened recently to great acclaim -- Walter Benenson
    • 20th anniversary of LON-CAPA, a teaching web site we founded. -- Walter Benenson
    • This might be my finger -- Walter Benenson
    • The first of a series of pictures showing Uncle Bill moving from his house of 56 years to an apartment in Independence Village -- Walter Benenson
    • Uncle Bill -- Walter Benenson
    • New apartment at Independence Village -- Walter Benenson
    • Independence Village -- Walter Benenson
    • Uncle Bill and his family after the move -- Walter Benenson
    • Me, Hugh, and Wolfgang at the first hole of College Fields -- Walter Benenson
    • Dinner with several chairs of Meridian Township boards -- Walter Benenson
    • It is the end of the week, and I took this picture of a frustrated Kathie Ellis failing to master the new MSU computer system -- Walter Benenson

About Walter

Tell us a little about yourself:
I am in my 50th year as a physics professor at Michigan State University. I officially retired a few years ago, but I am still teaching as a “Distinguished Professor Emeritus”. My specialty was nuclear physics, and I led a group that discovered many new isotopes, particular ones of interest to astrophysics. Towards the end of my career I became interested in teaching and was one of the creators of a teaching web site which is now used by 120 different educational institutions around the world. I have also produced two programs which have been seen nationwide on public TV and was the main editor of the “Encyclopedia of Physics”.

What one thing are you most proud of in your 76 years?
I have what my wife calls a “shrine” in my home office. It is a wall covered with the many awards I have received for research, teaching and outreach. Although nobody but me ever sees them, I guess I must be pretty proud of them to have put them up. I am also proud of being a cancer and stroke survivor. However the things I am really most proud of involve the successful mentoring of students, postdocs, and fellow professors. I am also proud to have been happily married for 42 years, and I am very proud of both of my daughters.

What one thing do you want to do before you reach 100?
I do not want to live to be 100, but I do want to have wrapped all the details of my life and to have achieved personal inner piece before I pass on.

What one thing have you seen in your lifetime that you feel has changed the world the most significantly?
Last weekend I went to my first same-sex wedding, Although I am not gay, I was tremendously affected by this. I thought of the plight of the gays when I was a young man and how well accepted they are now, an amazing positive change in 60 years.

What one piece of advice would you give your ten year old self?
My grandson is now 10. I wouldn’t dream of giving him advice, and he wouldn’t listen anyway, so why should even think of giving I advice to myself at age 10?

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