Edgar Aaron Pearlstein
January 15, 2019
Edgar was born to Charles and Sophie Hannah (Siegal) Pearlstein in the Squirrel Hill neighborhood of Pittsburgh, PA. He was educated in public schools and at Carnegie-Mellon University where he earned his PhD in Physics when he was 23 years old. He held a post doctoral position for two years at the University of Illinois, after which he returned to teach and participate in research at Carnegie. In 1954, he married Laura Hyland, a librarian at Carnegie. In 1956, Ed joined the Physics Department at the University of Nebraska in Lincoln as an Assistant Professor. He progressed rapidly through the ranks, becoming a Full Professor in 1963. Ed's research specialty was the effects of radiation on solids. His research was nationally recognized, and at one time he held the longest-running continuous research grant from the Atomic Energy Commission. Ed was a deep and critical thinker in all aspects of his life, and he earned the respect of his faculty colleagues. He was one of the most active participants in discussions during scientific lectures in the Department, with a well-deserved reputation for keeping speakers on their toes! He regularly gave talks in the Department on the most recent research developments, introducing graduate students to new areas of research, and inspiring some of them to redirect their thesis research. He often gave public lectures to help people distinguish between myth and scientific reality, and he regularly volunteered to judge Science Fairs involving budding young scientists. Ed was an excellent, but demanding, teacher, expecting his students to learn at a high level. He developed new courses and greatly modified others. For this he earned a Distinguished Teaching Award from UNL in 1981. Besides his professional activities, Edgar was in frequent contact with the community via Letters to the Editor which became an avocation for him. He was especially interested in human rights and religious freedom issues. He was also active in the community band and was a Dixieland jazz aficionado. Ed became a vegetarian when he was a young teenager, and later in life he became a vegan, reflecting his concern for all living creatures. Edgar was predeceased by his parents, brother and sister, and his son Leonard. He is survived by his daughter Victoria of Colorado Springs, CO; grandson Erik Martin of Denver, CO; granddaughter Gerri Lynn (Tracy) Wells of Council Bluffs, IO; and 6 great grandchildren and 14 great-great grandchildren; his ex-wife and friends and colleagues. Memorials, in lieu of flowers, can be sent to Capital Humane Society (6500 S. 70th St., 68502). A Celebration of Life will be held at a later date.