News Article

In Memoriam: Herman Nann, PhD, 1940-2020

December 15, 2020

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- Our long-time colleague and dear friend, Hermann Nann, passed away on December 14, 2020 at IU Health Bloomington Hospital after a battle with COVID-19.  He was 80 years old.

Hermann was born in Cologne, Germany.  He received his education there as well, earning his Doctorate in Physics and Nuclear Physics from J.W. Goethe University.  He moved to the US in 1973 to accept a postdoctoral position at Michigan State University.  Hermann continued his career working at Los Alamos National Laboratory while a Visiting Professor at Northwestern University.  He joined the IU Department of Physics in 1979 and served as a member of the faculty for 38 years before retiring.

While at IU, Hermann was a major contributor to getting the new IU Cyclotron Facility up and running and taking data.  He helped commission the QQSP, a pion spectrometer, and studied (p,π) reactions on medium-mass nuclei to explore the ‘particle-hole’ structure of excited states. He led similar efforts on the QDDM using nucleon transfer reactions.  As the IUCF Cooler ring came online, Hermann was involved in some of the first pion production measurements, probing meson production closer to its kinetic threshold than had been previously possible.  When the cyclotrons ceased operations for nuclear physics experiments, Hermann remained active as a “suitcase physicist” and made essential contributions to studies of the weak interaction via measurements of the  reaction at Los Alamos and later the SNS at Oak Ridge.

Hermann will be remembered as a quiet and modest man.  In addition to his love of physics, he enjoyed gardening, cooking German foods, collecting Marklin Trains, and was a talented woodworker, making many pieces of oak furniture.  He will be greatly missed.