In Memoriam: Prodell, Albert G.

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Posted: March 15, 2010

Albert G. Prodell, who originally served as a guest assistant physicist from October 19, 1956, to June 30, 1959, and joined the Physics Department as an associate physicist on July 1, 1959, retiring from the Collider-Accelerator Department on November 30, 1999, died at the age of 84 on September 22, 2009. After receiving tenure in 1967, he joined the Alternating Gradient Synchrotron Department in 1971, then moved to the Accelerator Development Department in 1986 and to the Relativistic Heavy Ion Collider Project in 1992. His contributions to local educational organizations, in particular to the Shoreham-Wading River School District, were recognized by the Shoreham and Wading River communities in 1994 by their renaming of the middle school as the “Albert G. Prodell Middle School.”

Albert G. Prodell died on September 22, 2009, in Burlington, Vermont, where he had moved in 2006 from Wading River, the Long Island town in which he had been a long-term resident.

Born in Newark, New Jersey, he grew up mainly in West Orange, New Jersey. After winning a full scholarship to Columbia University, he served in the Army Specialized Training Program, 1944-1946, then returned to Columbia. He earned his Ph.D. in physics in 1952. He taught physics at Barnard College and worked with Professor Polykarp Kusch who later won the Nobel Prize for Physics in 1955. On joining Brookhaven National Laboratory in Upton, NY, he was on teams for many groundbreaking experimental high-energy physics projects and super-conducting magnets, including working with Jack Steinberger (later, a Nobel Laureate in Physics). Prodell retired in 1999.

During his years in Wading River, Prodell dedicated much of his time to the Wading River Civic Association, Little Flower Children’s Services of NY, and  the Board of Co-operational Educational Services. His greatest contribution was his almost 30 years of service to the Shoreham-Wading River School District, where he was for many years President of the School Board. In recognition, the Shoreham and Wading River communities honored him in 1994 by renaming the middle school as the “Albert G. Prodell Middle School.”  Of his contributions to the school community, friends commented:

“Al Prodell was a man of great dignity and character. He was unfailingly courteous, generous with time and help, and understood the value of education as well as any board member I have ever known.”
“I was proud to be a teacher at the Albert G. Prodell Middle School. Al dedicated his life to education and was the guiding force behind the merger of two communities (Shoreham and Wading River) to create a nationally recognized school district.”

“Al was one of the gentlest, most understanding people I know. He enriched my life and I am a better person for having known him. It was a privilege to have served on the SWR school board with him for 12 years.”Prodell loved sailing, tennis, and attending the concerts and plays performed by the Shoreham-Wading River schools. He is survived by his son Michael of Wading River, New York, with wife Annemarie and granddaughter Terese; son David of Burlington, Vermont, with wife Sharon and grandson Tobias; and by his sister Rita and brother John of West Orange, New Jersey.


Last Modified: March 15, 2010