Folsom Funeral Service

Plano, Richard J.

Richard Plano, 82, passed away Saturday, January 8, 2012 at Clark House in Westwood, MA after a prolonged illness with his wife and daughter by his side. Services will be held in MA and NJ. Relatives and friends in MA may call at Folsom Funeral Home, 649 High Street, Westwood, MA on Saturday, January 21, from 2:30 to 4 PM. A service celebrating his life will be held at 4 PM at the funeral home, followed by a reception at Fox Hill Village. Interment will follow at a later date at Franklin Memorial Park in Somerset, NJ. Dr. Plano was born in Merrill, Wisconsin. He showed an early capability in music and science that led to his attending the University of Chicago on full scholarship. He earned his PhD in Physics working with Enrico Fermi, Jerry Friedman and Irwin Pless, among other leaders in the field. He met his Swedish wife, Louise, while at Chicago. After graduation, he was a post-doc at Columbia and then became a professor at Rutgers University, a post he held for 40 years.  Dr. Plano’s research in experimental physics focused on the discovery and understanding of subatomic particles, leading him to sabbaticals in the US and Europe. He was passionate about music, politics and science and could always be counted on for lively discussions. He embraced life with a passion, always excited to learn something new or meet someone new. Dr. Plano is survived by his wife of 55 years, Louise; his daughter, Linda; his son, Robert and his wife Suzanne (nee Sorg); and his grandchildren, Keira and Nicholas. He was predeceased by his two brothers. In lieu of flowers, please make memorial donations to the Richard J. Plano Summer Research Internship (please see for details).

Guestbook Entries

  1. Dr. Scott Whitener
    January 25th, 2012 | 10:20 am

    I am very sorry to learn of the passing of my neighbor, friend, and Rutgers colleague, Dr. Richard Plano. He was a wonderful person, one of the most positive people I have ever met. He was passionate about everything in his life. We had many enthusiastic discussions about music (my field) and he also played the organ at the local Lutheran church. I remember him telling me with great enthusiasm about how he had figured out the physics of how a bicycle works (and said he was the only one who really understood it). He was a true, kind, and great teacher, admired and loved by his students. I will always remember his enthusiasm in serving Swedish Christmas Glug on Christmas Eve. A wonderful man who was devoted to his family. I will pray for Louise, his children and grand children.

  2. Cathryn Whitener
    January 25th, 2012 | 12:59 pm

    I am sad to hear of Dick’s passing. He and Louise were neighbors of ours for many years in. Dick was a wonderful human being. I have fond memories of Christmas carols, back yard impromptus, and physics lessons. He will be missed by all who knew him.

  3. Patricia Bongiovi
    June 8th, 2012 | 1:43 pm

    I had the pleasure of sitting next to Dick for years in the Rutgers University Alumni Wind Symphony. You wouldn’t find a more polite, respectful, pleasant man. I truly missed him the last few concerts. I too have many fond memories of our conversations between measures. He is truly missed.

  4. Dennis D. Doblar, Ph.D., M.D.
    January 10th, 2013 | 9:51 pm

    I was a grad student in Electrical and Biomedical Engg at Rutgers University in the 1970’s. I got a part time job in Dr. Plano’s bubble chamber laboratory and worked with a physics grad student Anatole Zinchinco between 11pm and 3 am doing energy and momentum calculations based on Dr. Plano’s bubble chamber data (the only time we could get access to the “mainframe” computer.

    Dr. Plano was my undergrad physics professor. He was a delightful and talented professor. His love of physics and his motivation prompted me to pursue my PhD in engg.

    I have searched for Dr Zinchinco without success.

    Sorry this post is so late but I found this site by accident.

    Dennis Doblar

  5. Lee Smith
    May 19th, 2014 | 11:28 pm

    His enthusiasm for physics was fabulous. I took him for a Freshman class and then for a seminar. Boy, was it a gift to have him! RC’84

  6. William Emmet
    September 9th, 2014 | 3:22 pm

    I got to know Dick Plano while working for Charlie Baltay on the SLD Endcap CRID in the late 1980’s. Dick’s group worked on the mirrors. He was a wonderful individual who always added to the project. I hadn’t realized that he’d passed away until stumbling on this obit. My condolences to his wife, children and grandchildren.

  7. January 31st, 2015 | 2:49 pm

    I had the pleasure of having Dr. Plano as my Physics professor at Columbia University 1959-60. He was a great professor My condolences to his family.

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