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In Memoriam: Henry R. Glyde

Community remembers professor emeritus, former chairperson of physics and astronomy

Editor’s note: This article is based on a memorial tribute to Dr. Glyde, posted on the website of UD’s Department of Physics and Astronomy.

Henry Russell Glyde, Unidel Professor Emeritus of Physics and Astronomy at the University of Delaware and long-time chair of the Department of Physics and Astronomy, died in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, on March 15, 2024, from heart failure. He was 86.

Henry R. Glyde chaired UD’s Department of Physics and Astronomy for 11 years.

Dr. Glyde came to the University in 1982 as department chair of physics and astronomy, serving in that role a total of 11 years. During this time, he secured major funding from the U.S. Department of Education for Graduate Assistance in Areas of National Need (GAANN).  He also served as interim chair of the Department of Computing and Information Sciences in 2004-2005. He retired in 2015, when he was given emeritus status. 

A cosmopolite, Dr. Glyde’s many and varied interests and accomplishments took him around the world, where he made lifelong friendships and contributions to his field of condensed matter physics.

A Rhodes Scholar, he earned a doctorate in physics at Wadham College, Oxford, and went on to be a professor at the University of Ottawa and the University of Alberta before joining UD. He was a visiting professor, guest scientist and collaborator at institutions as varied as Chulalongkorn University in Bangkok Thailand, Brookhaven National Lab, National Research Council of Canada and the Institut Laue-Langevin (ILL) in France.

His many professional honors and awards included the 2001 Wheatley Award from the American Physical Society, given to “honor and recognize the dedication of physicists who have made contributions to the development of physics in countries of the Third World.” In 2014, he was selected as a fellow of the Neutron Scattering Society of America, an honor that placed him among the top half of the top 1% of his peers. Among his most cherished roles was mentoring postdoctoral physics students from Thailand. He pursued his passion for physics his entire life, continuing to the end to review and edit articles for Physical Review Letters.

Dr. Glyde’s love of France, which he shared with his late wife, Eva Daicar, shaped his later decades. There, he enjoyed “doing physics" when not skiing or hiking in the Alps and enjoying fine food and wine with friends and colleagues at his apartment at Chateau d'Allieres near Grenoble.

A champion distance runner, he set the Masters (age 40-44) Canadian Indoor Record for the 1500 meters in 1982, won the Masters (age 45-49) mile and two-mile races at the U.S National Road Race in 1984, and competed for Canada at the 1959 Pan American Games in Chicago.

Dr. Glyde was a modest man, who rarely spoke of his many accomplishments and recognitions. His sons learned of them mostly from others. He was a devoted and generous father who wanted them to pursue careers and interests that brought them joy. His one caveat: Whatever that is, “do it well."

Even casual acquaintances remember Dr. Glyde as a true gentleman for his kindness, grace and good humor. An engaged listener as well as skilled conversationalist, he could talk in an informed way about topics ranging from international relations and finance to climate change and the arts. Apart from nieces and nephews, he is survived by his brother Gerald; his wife's sister Zdena, his partner Susan Goodman and the sons of his first marriage, Mark (wife, Allie) and Stephen.​

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