Charles Palmer Bean

October 29, 1996

By Sam Wait


Charles Palmer Bean died on September 30, 1996.  He was born in Buffalo, NY on November 27, 1923.  After graduating from the Nichols School, he attended the University of Buffalo for two years before joining the US Army Air Force as an instructor in aerial photography.  He then returned to Buffalo to receive his BS in 1947 and then to the University of Illinois wehre he received his MA in 1949 and PhD in 1952.


He joined the General Electric Research and Development Center in 1951 and remained there until 1985.  He received GE R&D Center’s highest award, the Coolidge Fellowship in 1970.  While at GE, Dr. Bean developed a theory of superconductivity that bears his name today.  It explains whey magnetism in type II superconductors such as are used in magnetic imaging devices.  For this and his work on magnetism, he was elected to the National Academy of Sciences in 1976 and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 1977.  He joined the Rensselaer faculty in 1978 as an Adjunct Professor of Physics and became Institute Professor of Physics in 1985.  He also was a visiting Scientist at Rockefeller University.


He was a member of the Board of Trustees of the Dudley Observatory and served as its President from 1983 to 1990.  He was a Director of Bellevue Research Foundation and an Advisor to the Ecosystems Center – Marine Biological Laboratory since 1983.


Whether he was answering questions about science on the radio, or serving as President of the Board of Trustees of Dudley Observatory, or chairing a search committee for a Dean or Provost at Renssealer, he undertook the job with boundless energy and enthusiasm.


While at Rensselar, Charlie Bean continued an active research program in membrane biophysics, but most of all he enjoyed working with undergraduates.  His courses were very popular, and he supervised a number of undergraduates in research participation.  He was fr and away the most popular presenter in our summer program for High School Teachers.  He loved dreaming up new simple experiments tht demonstrated fundamental principles in a manner that teacher could take back to their classes.


We were fortunate to have him as a colleague, mentor and friend during the years he was at Rensselaer.  The fauclty mourns his passing and directs that a copy of this be placed in the minutes and sent to his family.


The Bean Family and the Overeynder Family

2221 Stone Ridge Drive

Niskayuna, NY 12309