Professor of Physics, Emeritus

Professor of Physics, Emeritus

In Memoriam: January 29, 1917 - August 16, 2002


Related Links:

Area of Physics:

Experimental nuclear physics

Career Timeline

  • 1937: BS, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
  • 1941: PhD, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (Physics)
  • 1941–1945:  Instructor in Physics
  • 1945–1987: Assistant Professor to Professor of Physics
  • 1987–2002: Emeritus Professor of Physics
  • Other Positions

  • 1944–1946: Manhattan Project, Los Alamos Laboratory, Researcher
  • 1975–1980: Director, Laboratory for Nuclear Science

Selected Awards and Honors

Research Interests

Experimental nuclear physics

Biographical Sketch

Deutsch was born Jan. 29, 1917 into the intellectual ferment of World War I, Vienna, and a home where his parents, Felix and Helene Deutsch, were both doctors. Before he was two, his mother, a professor in the psychiatry department at the University of Vienna, began analysis with Sigmund Freud. She became his devoted last pupil and Freud appointed her director of his Training Institute of the Vienna Psychoanalytic Society in 1923 when Martin was six.

At age 17, in February 1934, he moved rather abruptly to Zurich, Switzerland, having participated in the resistance movement to the Fascist seizure of power in Austria. He graduated from a Swiss secondary school and completed one semester the following spring at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology.

In October 1935, he accompanied his mother to the United States. Deutsch, brilliant in math and physics, enrolled at MIT and received permission to get a bachelor's degree in two years. He was drawn to the style of "the strongest experimental group" in the MIT physics department, the Spectroscopy Laboratory of Professor George Harrison.

Deutsch received a bachelor's degree in 1937 and the Ph.D. from MIT in 1941, completing in six years a course of study that typically takes 11. In the midst of his studies in 1939, he married Suzanne Zeitlan, a Boston native who had just graduated from Simmons College with a master's degree in social work.

Deutsch in 1941 was a German subject (because of Germany's takeover of Austria) and consequently an "enemy alien." He was also an Austrian citizen and an active antifascist. He taught and did research for two years at MIT while he underwent a security investigation to get clearance to work on the atomic bomb as part of the Manhattan Project in Los Alamos, N.M.

In 1946, Deutsch returned to MIT, where Weisskopf and Bruno Rossi had joined the physics faculty and Jerrold Zaccharias was building the Laboratory for Nuclear Science. Among his students at the time was the late Henry Kendall, another MIT Institute Professor who won the Nobel Prize in 1990 for his co-discovery of the quark. Deutsch was responsible for recruiting to MIT another future Nobel Prize winner, Samuel Ting, who won the Nobel Prize for the J particle he discovered at the Laboratory for Nuclear Science while Deutsch was head of the lab.

Selected Publications

Publications from inSPIRE (with links to the arXiv).