Dr. Susan Faye Cannon, 56, a physicist, former educator and retired curator in the Smithsonian Institution's Museum of History and Technology, was found dead Nov. 6 in her home here.

A spokesman for the D.C. medical examiner said the cause of death would not be determined pending completion of toxicological tests.

Dr. Cannon was curator of the history of classical physics and geosciences at the museum from 1962 until her retirement two years ago. She also was the founder and first editor of the Smithsonian Journal of History, a former chairman of the History of Science Department and a member of the boards of Victorian Studies and the History of Science Society at the institution.

In 1979, Dr. Cannon received the Pfizer Prize from the History of Science Society for "Science and Culture," a book written the previous year.

Born Walter Faw Cannon in Durham, N.C., Dr. Cannon earned a bachelor's degree in physics at Princeton University and a doctorate in the history of science at Harvard University. She was on the history faculties of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the University of California at Berkeley before joining the Smithsonian.

In 1976, Dr. Cannon applied to the D.C. Superior Court for an order changing her name from Walter Faw Cannon to Susan Faye Cannon. The request was granted.

In an interview with The Washington Post the following year, Dr. Cannon cited the reasons for the name change: "I don't classify myself as gay, because I don't know what the word means. I define myself as a male woman. There I know what the words mean."

Dr. Cannon leaves no immediate survivors.