Arthur L. Loeb (1923-2002)
Arthur Lee Loeb was born in Amsterdam, the Netherlands, July 13, 1923, eldest son of Herbert L. Loeb and Nelly Isaac.
He arrived to the U.S. during World War II, completed his undergraduate studies at the University of Pennsylvania in 1944, and his Ph.D. in Chemical Physics at Harvard University in 1949.
Dr. Loeb's scientific career began in the early 1950s, working on the Whirlwind computer project and teaching at MIT. As he and his colleagues struggled to design "core memory" for the next generation of computers, he began to articulate a language of spatial patterns that was to be the centerpiece of his life's work. He applied and refined this language while a research scientist at Kennecott Copper Company's research laboratory in Lexington, Massachusetts from 1962 to 1973.
He then resumed teaching at Harvard, where he was active as Senior Lecturer in the Visual and Environmental Studies Department until he was hospitalized last spring.
His language of spatial patterns, which he described as "Visual Mathematics" and "Design Science," applies across the arts and sciences. This led to lifelong collaboration with innovators such as R. Buckminster Fuller and M. C. Escher, and the inspiration of, as well as collaboration with, a generation of students who apply Design Science to graphics, crystallography, sculpture, business strategy, architecture, oncology, virology, vocal and instrumental music, dance, toy design, mathematics, education, and other disciplines.
His wide interdiscipinary interest placed symmetry in the centre of his studies and teaching didactics. He was a founder of the International Society for the Interdisciplinary Study of Symmetry (ISIS-Symmetry), used to be its first Vice-President, later Chairman of the Advisory Board, until 2001. He co-operated for the recovery of the symmetry movement even in early July. He was an excellent colleague and a good friend.
Dr. Loeb passed away on Friday, July 19 at the age of 79. He is survived by his wife, Charlotte Loeb (nie Aarts) of Cambridge, Massachusetts, and a brother, Aryeh Louv of Jerusalem, Israel.
Funeral arrangements are being made by Keefe Funeral Home in Cambridge, and a memorial service is being planned for September.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in Dr. Loeb's name to the Harvard Square Homeless Shelter c/o The University Lutheran Church, 66 Winthrop Street, Cambridge, MA 02138.