Freier, Phyllis St. Cyr, 1921-1992.

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Phyllis St. Cyr Freier first came to the University of Minnesota with her husband, George Freier, following World War II. Her doctoral work in physics involved the study of cosmic rays and she participated in pioneering research with Edward Ney and Frank Oppenheimer. After receiving her Ph. D. in 1950, she continued at the University as a Research Associate until she was appointed as an Associate Professor in 1970. She was also involved in committee work at the University and at the national level with the American Physical Society. Freier retired from the University in 1990 and died in 1992.

From the description of Phyllis St. Cyr Freier papers, 1948-1990. (University of Minnesota, Minneapolis). WorldCat record id: 62439558

Phyllis St. Cyr was born in Minneapolis, Minnesota, on January 21, 1921, and spent nearly her entire career at the University of Minnesota. After receiving B. S. and M. A. Degrees she married fellow physicist George Freier and worked at the Naval Ordnance Laboratory in Washington D. C. during World War II.

Following the war the Freiers returned to the University of Minnesota where she resumed graduate studies in physics. As a doctoral student she worked with Edward Ney and Frank Oppenheimer in the study of cosmic rays using high altitude balloons. Their experiment of April 21, 1948, provided data from which Phyllis Freier became the first person to see tracks in nuclear emulsions that proved that cosmic rays from outer space included nuclei of heavy elements. The paper based on these findings was published July 15, 1948 and became a classic in the field.

After she received her Ph.D. in 1950 Freier continued at the University as a Research Associate because the nepotism policy of the time prevented her from joining a department in which her husband taught. Despite this obstacle she established an international reputation in the field of cosmic ray physics while she ran a major nuclear emulsion laboratory.

In 1970 after nepotism rules relaxed, the University appointed her an Associate Professor; and in 1973 she achieved the rank of Professor. She continued her research and gained a reputation as an outstanding teacher. She also served on the board of the American Physical Society's Committee on the Status of Women in Physics from 1984-1986. From 1973 to 1976 she served on the University of Minnesota Senate Judicial Committee, which she chaired in 1975-1976. Her work focused improving procedures for faculty grievances.

Phyllis Freier retired from the University in December, 1990, and died at her St. Anthony Park home on December 18, 1992.

From the guide to the Phyllis St. Cyr Freier Papers, 1948-1990., (University of Minnesota Libraries. University of Minnesota Archives [uarc])

Archival Resources
Role Title Holding Repository
referencedIn Ney, Edward Purdy, 1920-. Edward Purdy Ney Papers, 1941-1996. University of Minnesota, Minneapolis
referencedIn Oppenheimer, Frank, 1912-1985. Frank Oppenheimer papers 1946-1950, 1958-1959. University of Minnesota, Minneapolis
creatorOf Phyllis St. Cyr Freier Papers, 1948-1990. University of Minnesota Libraries. University Archives [uarc]
creatorOf Freier, Phyllis St. Cyr, 1921-1992. Phyllis St. Cyr Freier papers, 1948-1990. University of Minnesota, Minneapolis
referencedIn Frank Oppenheimer papers, 1946-1950, 1958-1959 University of Minnesota Libraries. University Archives [uarc]
referencedIn Edward Purdy Ney Papers, 1941-1996 University of Minnesota Libraries. University Archives [uarc]
Role Title Holding Repository
Place Name Admin Code Country
Subject
Cosmic rays
Physicists
Research--Notebooks, sketchbooks, etc
Astrophysics
College teaching--Aids and devices--Aids and devices
Occupation
Activity

Person

Birth 1921

Death 1992

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