James Bardin, who helped illuminate the characteristics and behavior of black holes, set the stage for what is known as the golden age of black hole star physics, died June 20 in Seattle. He was 7 years old.
His son William said the cause was cancer. Dr. Bardin, a professor of physics at the University of Washington, lived in a retirement home in Seattle.
Dr. Bardin was from a famous family of physicists. His father, John, twice won the Nobel Prize in Physics, the invention of the transistor and the theory of superconductivity. His brother, William, is an expert in quantum theory at the Fermi National Acceleration Laboratory in Illinois.
Dr. Bardin was an expert in discovering the equations of Einstein’s general relativity theory. This theory refers to what we call the passage of time through space through matter and energy. Its most mysterious and disturbing result was the possibility of black holes, places so dirty that they are deprived of one-way exit ramps outside the universe, even light and time pass.
Dr. Bardin will explore these mysteries in his life’s work, as well as related mysteries about the evolution of the universe.
“Jim was part of a generation where the best and brightest went to work on general relativity.” Michael Turner, a cosmologist and emeritus professor at the University of Chicago, called Dr. Bardin “a soft giant.”
James Maxwell Bardin was born on May 9, 1939 in Minneapolis. His mother was Jean-Maxwell Bardin, a zoologist and high school teacher. Following his father’s work, the family moved to Washington, DC. To the meeting, NJ And then Champaign-Urbana, Ill. Went to, where he graduated from the University of Illinois Laboratory High School.
He studied at Harvard and graduated with a degree in physics in 1960, although his father advised him that biology was the next wave. “Everyone knew who my father was,” he said in an oral oral interview recorded in 2020 by Paraguay’s Federal University, adding that he did not feel the need to compete with him. “However, it was impossible,” he said.
Working under physicist Richard Feynman and astronomer William A. Fowler (both of whom will win the Nobel Prize), Dr. Bardin received his Ph.D. From the California Institute of Technology in 1965. His article was about the formation of supermassive stars millions of times the mass of the Sun. Astronomers had begun to suspect that they were the source of the super-energy of quasars discovered at the center of distant galaxies.
After receiving postdoctoral fellowships at Caltech and the University of California, Berkeley, he joined the Department of Astronomy at the University of Washington in 1967. He was an avid pedestrian and mountaineer, he came to school because of the easy access outside the school.
At the time, Nobel laureate Cape Thorne, a professor at the California Institute of Technology, referred to the black hole as the golden age of research, and Dr. Bardin was very good at international meetings. At one point, in Paris, in 1967, he met Nancy Thomas, a high school teacher in Connecticut who was trying to master French. They married in 1968.
In addition to his son William, a senior deputy and senior strategy officer at the New York Times Company, and his brother, William, Dr. Bardin’s wife, he is survived by his other son, David, and two grandchildren. One sister, Elizabeth Gretchen, died in 2000.
Dr. Bardin was a member of the National Academy of Sciences, as was his brother and father.
Although he was fast in math, Dr. Bardin did not write faster than he spoke. William Press, now an acclaimed alumnus of Dr. Thorne at the University of Texas, was sent to Seattle to conclude an essay that Dr. Bardin and he had written. Nothing was written. Dr. Bardin’s wife then ordered the two to sit down against a board with a pad of paper. Dr. Bardin would write a sentence and take the pad to Dr. Press, who would either reject or approve it and then transfer the pad back. Each sentence, Dr. Press said, takes a few minutes. They spent three days, but the paper was written.
One of the highlights of those years was the month-long “Dusty School” in Les Houches, France in 1972, which included all the leading black hole scholars. Dr. Bardin was one of half a dozen invited speakers. It was during this session that he, Stephen Hawking of Cambridge University and Brandon Carter, who is now the Paris Observer, wrote a historical essay entitled “The Four Laws of Black Hole Mechanics”, which included Dr. Hawkings. The spring board changed for future work. Surprisingly calculated that the black hole could be written off and eventually explode.
In another popular calculation the same year, Dr. Bardin calculated the shape and size of a “shadow” of a black hole as seen against a field of distant stars – a donut of light around a dark space.
The shape became popular, Dr. Thorne said, through the Horizon Telescope’s galaxy M87 and observations of black holes in the center of the Milky Way and observations in the movie “Interstellar.”
Dr. Bardin’s other love was cosmology. In a 1982 article, he, Dr. Turner and Princeton’s Paul Steinhard explained how sub-microscopic changes in the density of matter and energy in the early universe would evolve and improve the pattern of galaxies that we see in the sky today. See in
“Jim was glad we used his formality, and was sure we got it right,” Dr. Turner said.
Dr. Bardin moved to Yale at 6 p.m. Four years later, dissatisfied with the academic bureaucracy in the East and then looking for foreigners, he went back to the University of Washington. He retired in 2006.
But he never stopped working. Dr. Thorne recalled recent telephone conversations in which they recalled the hiking and camping trips they took with their families. In the same conversation, Dr. Bardin expressed recent views on what happens to him when a black hole evaporates, suggesting that it may turn into a white hole.
“It was, in short, an aspect of Jim,” Dr. Thorne wrote in an email, “thinking deeply about physics in creative new ways until the end of his life.”