Obituary: Peter Alan Fedders, professor emeritus of physics, 85

Peter Alan Fedders, emeritus professor of physics in Arts & Sciences at Washington University in St. Louis, died Thursday, Feb. 22, 2024, in La Jolla, Calif. He was 85.

Peter Alan Fedders

Fedders was an expert in condensed-matter physics who made significant contributions to the theory of nuclear magnetic resonance. He worked at Washington University for more than 35 years.

A connecting thread through much of Fedders’ career was his understanding the physical consequences of disorder and defects in condensed matter. This involved topological disorder — the structure of amorphous materials and glasses — as well as alloy and magnetic disorder in various forms. Fedders published more than 200 scientific papers and was esteemed by WashU students and colleagues for his teaching abilities, collaborative nature and unique personality.

Fedders grew up near Minneapolis and was the valedictorian of his Edina (Minnesota) High School class in 1957. He earned his bachelor’s degree at Yale University; his PhD at Harvard University, where he worked under P. C. Martin and H. Ehrenreich; and his postdoctoral studies at Princeton University. Fedders joined Washington University in 1967 and remained for the rest of his career, retiring from active teaching in 2004.

Fedders is survived by his wife, Cynthia; children William (Esperanca Camara) and Megan (Jeff Mackay); four grandchildren; and a great-grandson.

Read more about Fedders on the Legacy website or the physics website.

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