Bruce Winstein, physicist, 1943-2011

The University of Chicago, March 2, 2011

Bruce Winstein

Editor’s note: Bruce Winstein was heavily involved in work at Fermilab. During the 1990s he led a program at Fermilab of kaon physics experiments, which studied matter-antimatter asymmetries. He received the Panofsky Prize in physics for this work.

Bruce Winstein, an experimental physicist who studied the afterglow of the universe’s birth, died Feb. 28 after a four-year battle with cancer. He was 67.

Winstein, the Samuel K. Allison Distinguished Service Professor in Physics, the Enrico Fermi Institute and the College, was known as a punctilious leader of experiments measuring the aftermath of the big bang in two fundamental fields of physics — particle physics and cosmology.

A strong advocate of “blinded” measurements, in which scientists intentionally conceal the final answer while analyzing data to prevent their preconceptions from influencing the result, he imported many practices of particle physics after his mid-career switch into cosmology, the study of the early universe,. “Psychologically, it’s better,” Winstein told an interviewer in 2000. “There’s no concern about, ‘Do we agree with our old experiment?’”

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