Polykarp Kusch, 82, who won the Nobel Prize in physics for his measurement of a fundamental property of the electron, which helped display the underlying complexity of the universe, died March 20 at his home in Dallas. He had suffered a series of strokes.
Through experimental virtuosity, Dr. Kusch succeeded in making an extremely refined measurement of the magnetic moment of the electron, the tiny particle that revolves around the nucleus of the atom and is the fundamental unit of electric charge.
The electron also acts as an infinitesimally small magnet, and its magnetic moment is an indication of its strength as a magnet.
The experiments carried out at Columbia University in 1947 by Dr. Kusch and a colleague, Henry Foley, deviated from the calculations of the magnetic moments made by the celebrated theoretical physicist P.A.M. Dirac, a Nobel Prize winner.
This deviation helped substantiate the existence of phenomena that had not yet been clearly accounted for. It prompted important developments in the understanding of the atom and in the theory known as quantum electrodynamics. A major development of 20th century science, that theory is the basis for modern efforts to apply quantum mechanics to electricity and magnetism.
Dr. Kusch shared the Nobel Prize in physics in 1955 with Willis E. Lamb Jr., whose work on the fine structure of the hydrogen atom also helped to demonstrate the need for correcting and adjusting the then-prevalent quantum theory of atoms and electrons.
Interviewed yesterday by telephone, Lamb, who is at the University of Arizona, suggested that the true value of his and Dr. Kusch's work is not found in practical applications. More important, he said, is its role in prompting scientists toward an ultimate understanding of nature.
"People ought to be comforted by knowing what's going on," he said.
In the measurements made by Dr. Kusch and Foley, the deviation from what had been expected was about one part in one thousand. In the case of Lamb's work, he said, it was about one part in a billion.
Although the deviations were small, "those things were measured and therefore they had to be explained," Lamb said. The effort at explanation led to new advances.
"For the application of any of this," Lamb said, "it's just that some people at least would like to find out what makes the world tick."
Dr. Kusch was born in Blankenburg, Germany, on Jan. 26, 1911, and was brought to this country as an infant by his father, a Lutheran missionary.
He received his bachelor's degree from what is now Case Western Reserve University and master's and doctoral degrees from the University of Illinois.
After holding a variety of technical posts during World War II, he became an associate professor in 1946 at Columbia.
The experiment involved sending a stream of atoms through a magnetic field while beaming radio waves at them. The magnetic properties of electrons in the atoms can be calculated on the basis of their interaction with the field and the waves.
The deviations he measured were small, but Dr. Kusch was known for experimental skill.
"He makes an apparatus perform better than any person I know," Foley said in 1952 in the Columbia Alumni News.
After leaving Columbia, where he had been a vice president, he became a member of the faculty of the University of Texas at Dallas.
Survivors include his wife, Betty; five daughters; a sister; and two grandchildren.
Henry Michaelis, 94, a retired Voice of America news broadcaster and writer, died of congestive heart failure March 18 at his home in Takoma Park.
Mr. Michaelis, a native of Germany, served in the German Army in World War I and operated his own news agency before leaving the country when the Nazis came to power in 1933. He lived in Switzerland, France and Morocco before coming to the United States in the late 1930s.
He worked as an elevator operator in New York before World War II. During the war, he worked for the U.S. government in international broadcast programs. After the war, he joined the VOA and transferred here in 1954. He specialized in business and economics issues, doing writing, broadcasting and interviews for the VOA before retiring in 1968.
After that, he continued to contribute work to the VOA and also worked for a time for a German banking publication. In retirement, he also traveled extensively.
Survivors include his wife, Cassie, of Takoma Park.
ALONZO R. HAYDEN
Alonzo R. Hayden, 68, a research chemist who had worked on the staffs of the National Institutes of Health and the U.S. Department of Agriculture research facility at Beltsville, died of colon cancer March 21 at his home in Yonkers, N.Y.
Dr. Hayden was born in Kimball, W.Va. He graduated from West Virginia State College and received a doctorate in biochemistry from the University of Wisconsin. He had done additional postgraduate study at Georgetown and Howard universities.
In 1952, he settled in the Washington area and joined the staff at NIH. He specialized in immunological identification of species in meat.
From 1958 to 1965, Dr. Hayden was on the teaching and research staff of Walter Reed Army Medical Center. He was a research chemist for the Department of Agriculture from 1965 to 1981, then taught for one year at the University of the District of Columbia.
He moved to Yonkers in 1983 and taught at Seton Hall University in Orange, N.J. and at a high school in Newark until retiring in 1990.
Dr. Hayden was a former chairman of the Quality Assurance Division of the Institute of Food Technologists and a member of the American Meat Science Association and the Association of Official Analytical Chemists.
He was a member of the Omega Psi Phi fraternity and the Capitol Peers, a Washington social club involved in outreach programs for youths. He sang in the choir at Plymouth Congregational Church in Washington.
His first wife, Alma Levant Hayden, died in 1967. Survivors include his wife, Marian Hayden of Yonkers; two children from his first marriage, Michael Hayden of Washington and Andrea Hayden of Minneapolis; three stepchildren, Lori Cain of Washington and Stella Carole Cain and Marilyn Cain-Gordon, both of Silver Spring; and two grandchildren.
JANE NORFORD POPE
Jane Norford Pope, 78, who worked as a legal secretary off and on in Northern Virginia from 1950 to the late 1970s, died March 22 at a hospital in Bedford, Va., after a stroke.
Born in Alexandria, Mrs. Pope lived there until about 15 years ago. She was a graduate of Alexandria High School and George Washington University. She attended the College of William and Mary.
She taught Sunday school at Washington Street United Methodist Church in Alexandria and was a member of the Bellehaven Country Club and president of the Yates Garden Club in Alexandria.
Her marriage to Ross P. Pope ended in divorce.
Survivors include four children, Dr. James N. Pope of Bedford, William P. Pope, a Foreign Service officer currently stationed in Pretoria, South Africa, George Gilbert Pope of Wakefield, R.I., and Rebecca Pope Stoeckert of Medham, N.J.; and six grandchildren.
HELEN BROWDER THOMAS
Helen Browder Thomas, 92, a former speech and drama teacher, died March 21 at the Bethesda Rehabilitation and Nursing Center of complications after a stroke. A longtime resident of Rye, N.Y., she had lived in Washington since 1986.
Mrs. Thomas was a native of Johnson City, Tenn. She attended East Tennessee State University and the old Maryland College and graduated from the Leland Powers School of the Spoken Word in Boston. She taught at East Tennessee State University in the early 1920s.
Her husband, Earle L. Thomas, died in 1986. Survivors include three children, Joanne Macomber of Marblehead, Mass., Gordon Thomas of Norwich, Vt., and Betsy Amin-Arsala of Washington; a sister, Florence Smythe of Johnson City; nine grandchildren; and 10 great-grandchildren.
REUBEN HARRY POSTAL
Shoe Store Manager
Reuben Harry Postal, 77, who retired in 1980 after 17 years as manager of the Gallenkamp Shoe Store in Hyattsville, died of complications of pneumonia March 21 at the Anne Arundel Medical Center. He lived in Annapolis.
Mr. Postal was born in Mobile, Ala., and raised in Richmond. He owned a shoe store there before moving to the Washington area 30 years ago. After he retired, he worked part time at Topps Shoes and Cobb's Shoes in Washington for another decade.
Mr. Postal was a member of Congregation Har Tzeon-Agudath Achim in Silver Spring.
His marriage to Thelma Postal ended in divorce. His second wife, Sarah L. Postal, died in 1981.
Survivors include two children from his first marriage, Arthur D. Postal of Baltimore and Howard J. Postal of Rockville; three children from his second marriage, Taube Heddings of Annapolis and Charles Postal and Merle Postal, both of Gaithersburg; three brothers, Joseph Postal and Dr. Albert Postal, both of Silver Spring, and Solomon Postal of Rockville; and 10 grandchildren.
DONALD THOMAS KIRWAN
Real Estate Developer
Donald Thomas Kirwan, 64, a commercial real estate developer in Washington and a general partner in David Nassif Associates, died of congestive heart failure March 16 at a hospital in Luxor, Egypt. A resident of Davidsonville, he was on vacation when taken ill.
Mr. Kirwan was born in Cambridge, Md. He graduated from Cambridge High School and Washington College. He served in the Army from 1950 to 1953.
Before moving to the Washington area in 1960, he worked for the Maryland State Roads Commission in Baltimore. His work there included appraisals and land acquisition.
In Washington, he was regional chief of leasing for the General Services Administration until 1966, when he became a partner in David Nassif Associates, which owns and manages the building where the Department of Transportation is located.
Mr. Kirwan was a communicant at Severn Parish, St. Stephen's Episcopal Church in Crownsville, and had formerly been a vestryman at St. Barnabas Church in Temple Hills. He was a member of the Masonic lodge in Cambridge and Kiwanis in Oxon Hill. His hobbies included golfing, boating, fishing and travel.
Survivors include his wife, Norma J. Kirwan of Davidsonville; four children, Joseph R. Kirwan of Clinton, Thomas F. Kirwan of Springfield, Randyl E. Swift of Hockessin, Del., and Kimberly J. Kirwan of Portsmouth, England; his mother, Mrs. Walter T. Kirwan of Cambridge; and three grandchildren.
ALBERT B. ZEA
Albert B. Zea, 76, a logistics specialist with the Department of the Navy who retired from the staff of the commander of the Naval Air Systems Command in 1971, died of heart ailments March 21 at Arlington Hospital.
Mr. Zea, who lived in Falls Church, was born in Norfolk and grew up in Washington. He graduated from McKinley Technical High School and attended Wilson Teachers College.
He served on active duty in the Navy from 1936 until the end of World War II, during which his service included sea duty in the Pacific. After the war, he began working for the Navy Department in a civilian capacity. He remained in the Naval Reserve until retiring about 1970 as a lieutenant commander.
Mr. Zea was a former president of the National Capital club of Optimists International and the Navy Department Toastmasters Club. He was a member of Western Presbyterian Church in Washington.
Survivors include his wife, Doris D. Zea of Falls Church; a son, Clifford H. Zea of Newville, Pa.; and two grandchildren.
ISABEL COHN PHILLIPS
Social Service Supervisor
Isabel Cohn Phillips, 82, a child therapist and clinical social worker who retired in 1975 as supervisor of foster homes and protective services for Prince George's County, died of cardiac arrest March 18 at her home in Bethesda. She had lived in the Washington area since 1940.
She was a child therapist with the Washington Institute of Mental Hygiene in the 1940s and a supervisor in Prince George's for 15 years.
Mrs. Phillips, a Cleveland native, was a graduate of Ohio University and received a master's degree in clinical social work from Smith College.
She was an organizer of the Bannockburn Cooperative Nursery in Bethesda and a member of the Smith College Alumni Club.
Survivors include her husband, Paul Phillips of Bethesda; two children, William Phillips of Gaithersburg and Rebecca Phillips of San Francisco; two stepchildren, Kathryn Hotz of Middletown, Md., and Paul M. Phillips of Rockville; two sisters, Harriet McPherson of Hollywood and Rose Rosenthal of Miami; and two grandchildren.