Happy Birthday, Robert Resnick

Brad Roth
2 min readJan 13, 2023

Robert Resnick, physics textbook author extraordinaire, was born 100 years ago last Wednesday (January 11, 1923). A Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute website states

Robert Resnick is professor emeritus at Rensselaer and the former Edward P. Hamilton Distinguished Professor of Science Education, 1974–93. Together with his co-author David Halliday, he revolutionized physics education with their now famous textbook on general physics, still one of the most highly regarded texts in the field today.

He is author or co-author of seven physics textbooks, which appear in 15 editions and more than 47 languages.

Resnick introduced Rensselaer’s interdisciplinary science curriculum in 1973 and was its chair for 15 years. He was awarded the American Association of Physics Teachers’ highest honor, the Oersted Medal, in 1975, and served as its president, 1986–90. A Distinguished Service Citation issued in 1967 by the association said, “Few physicists have had greater or more direct influence on undergraduate physics students than has Robert Resnick.”

Rensselaer named its Robert Resnick Center for Physics Education in his honor.

Quantum Physics of Atoms, Molecules, Solids, Nuclei, and Particles, by Eisberg and Resnick.

In Intermediate Physics for Medicine and Biology, Russ Hobbie and I cite Resnick’s famous introductory physics book with Halliday once, but we cite his modern physics textbook — Quantum Physics of Atoms, Molecules, Solids, Nuclei, and Particleswith Robert Eisberg many times. In fact, in IPMB we reproduce (with permission) five of Eisberg and Resnick’s figures. I remember studying from their textbook as an undergraduate physics major at the University of Kansas.

Resnick died nine years ago (January 29, 2014). To learn more about his remarkable life, you can read his obituary in Physics Today.

Happy 100th birthday, Robert Resnick. We miss ya.

An excerpt from Robert Resnick’s Oersted Medal Lecture.

Originally published at http://hobbieroth.blogspot.com.



Brad Roth

Professor of Physics at Oakland University and coauthor of the textbook Intermediate Physics for Medicine and Biology.