U.C. Berkeley Physics Professor George Trilling passed away on April 30th, 2020 at the age of 89. He was a beloved teacher, long active in the high energy physics and U.C. Berkeley academic communities.
Along with Gerson Goldhaber, George led the Trilling-Goldhaber Group which used bubble chambers developed at Lawrence Berkeley Laboratory to study K meson interactions at the Bevatron. The Trilling-Goldhaber Group later collaborated with Stanford colleagues to build the Mark-I detector which ultimately led to the discovery of the J / psi particle in 1974. For this discovery, Burt Richter and Sam Ting shared a Nobel prize. Beginning in the 1980s, the Trilling-Goldhaber group continued their collaboration with their Stanford colleagues to construct the Mark II detector to measure the lifetime of the B meson.
Throughout his career, George took on important leadership roles. He became Chairman of the U.C. Berkeley Physics Department at age 38. He was subsequently Director of the Lawrence Berkeley Laboratory Physics Division and President of the American Physical Society. He was also spokesperson for the Solenoidal Detector Collaboration (SDC) for the Superconducting Supercollider (SSC), and later was instrumental in working to secure US participation at the Large Hadron Collider at CERN. He was a member of the National Academy of Sciences and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.
George was a faculty member of the Berkeley Physics Department for thirty-four years and continued to be active at LBL into his 80s. Supporting the department was very important to him. It is on behalf of this department that an endowment in George’s name has been created. The distribution from this endowment will be spent at the discretion of the Chair of the Department of Physics, or their designee, according to department priorities.
Donations in honor of George Trilling can be made to the George Trilling Endowment Fund in Physics