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André Martin (1929 – 2020)

André Martin (1929 – 2020)
(Image: Family Martin/CERN)

André Martin passed away on 11 November 2020. His death is a great loss to the theory community worldwide and to the CERN family. He was one of the pioneers of the Organization, which he joined in 1959.

André Martin was born in Paris on 20 September 1929. He studied at the École Normale Supérieure (ENS) and the University of Paris. His thesis adviser was Maurice Lévy (ENS theory group), with whom he had a lifelong friendship and many common projects.

André arrived at CERN in 1959 as a fellow, became a staff member in 1964 and an honorary member in 1994. He was still working until a few days before he was admitted to hospital, diagnosed with coronavirus and died of pneumonia. He led a cosmopolitan life, travelling all over the world, and had friends and colleagues all over. He had long and productive visits to various US institutions, including Princeton, Stony Brook, Seattle, Caltech, Los Alamos and Rockefeller. André was proud to have contributed to the launching of the Cargese school and supported the Erice and Les Houches centres.

Among his distinctions, he was admitted to the French Académie des Sciences in 1990, and he was awarded the Légion d’honneur in 1992, the Gian-Carlo Wick Medal in 2007 and the Pomeranchuk Prize in 2010.

He married Alice-Anne Schubert (“Schu”), who died in 2016. He met her at CERN thanks to his dear friend Julius Wess. They were a wonderful power couple, with an intense cultural and social life. Their hospitality was extraordinary, and it was a pleasure to enjoy their immense culture in literature and art. They are survived by their two sons, Thierry and Philippe, and two grandchildren, Raoul and Jeanne.

André worked on rigorous mathematical physics and the derived phenomenology applied to the dynamics of strong interactions, both alone and in collaboration. He often came back to problems when he had already obtained striking results but was not fully satisfied.

Among the many topics of his scientific contributions, we can highlight: the analytic properties of scattering amplitudes, the high-energy behaviour of integrated and differential cross sections, the inverse problem in quantum mechanics, the ambiguities in phase-shift analyses, the range of annihilation and two-dimensional quantum mechanics. After the discovery of charmonium, he became interested in the spectral properties of confining potentials, a subject on which he wrote several important articles and eventually a book. His results and methods applied to quarkonia and baryons were extended to other similar systems, in particular in atomic physics. André also liked lighter topics, such as the stability of four-legged tables on uneven ground, inspired by experiments on the CERN cafeteria terrace, a study widely shared on the net.

André had friends in almost every university or institute, whom he met at CERN or conferences. He was often the go-between who initiated new collaborations. He was deeply committed to CERN’s mission and was one of its best ambassadors and advocates. He will be sorely missed.

Luis Álvarez-Gaumé and Jean-Marc Richard