In memoriam: Thomas Devlin

Thomas Devlin. Photo: The Devlin family

A long-time Fermilab user who led major efforts on the E-8 Hyperon Program and later CDF, Thomas Devlin died on Oct. 2, 2022, in Haverford, Pennsylvania. He was a retired Rutgers physics professor, Guggenheim Fellow and 1994 winner of the Panofsky Prize in Experimental Particle Physics.

Born with an insatiable appetite for knowledge, he prevailed in local and national scholarship competitions as a young student, which led to earning his master’s and doctoral degrees in physics at Berkeley in 1961. There he met his wife, Nancy, who was earning her Ph.D. in psychology and with whom he raised three sons.

He taught at Rutgers University for 40 years, while conducting physics experiments at CERN in Geneva and Fermilab, where his work substantially contributed to the understanding of subatomic particles.

Devlin, teaching in 1995. Photo: The Devlin family

Despite suffering a stroke in 2006 that impaired his ability to speak, he continued scientific inquiry in astrophysics with his son Mark, a professor at University of Pennsylvania. He was a passionate advocate for women in science, mentoring many more female graduate students than was typical in the 1970s and ’80s. In 2017, he was honored with a mentoring award from the American Physical Society.

Thomas “Tom” Devlin was 87 when he died, and he was predeceased by his wife of 59 years, who passed in January. He is survived by his brother David Devlin and David’s wife Sharon; his four sons, Paul, Ted and Mark and their wives, Emily, Stephanie and Jennifer; and five grandchildren, Thomas, Kyle, Anna, Nick and Wren.

Read his full obituary.