Rosalie Chase Hoyt

BRUNSWICK — Rosalie Chase Hoyt, 92, an emeritus professor of physics at Bryn Mawr College, died at her home in Brunswick on Tuesday, July 25, 2006.

Born May 20, 1914, she grew up in Commack on Long Island, N.Y. She graduated from the Chapin School in New York City, attended Bryn Mawr College in Pennsylvania from 1932 to 1934, received her bachelor's degree in physics from Barnard College and returned to Bryn Mawr as a graduate student.

Professor Albano wrote, "There was no biophysics program at Bryn Mawr College when Rosalie Hoyt went there for graduate work. So, she invented one for herself." Upon receiving her Ph.D. from Bryn Mawr in 1945, she worked at the University of Rochester for three years as an instructor in physics. She joined the Bryn Mawr Physics Department in 1948 and stayed there until her retirement in 1982. She was a pioneering woman scientist in a field dominated by men, becoming an accomplished biophysicist and teacher. She authored many scholarly articles on biophysical processes in nerve fibers. Her colleague, Bryn Mawr Professor Emeritus Alfonso Albano, observed that "Rosalie was one of the very few women holding tenured positions in physics in the country. In the 1960s she was one of only approximately 10 women who held full professorships." She was chairwoman of the Bryn Mawr Physics Department from 1969 to 1977, the principal investigator on several National Institutes of Health and National Science Foundation research grants, and a coauthor or contributor to several college texts. In 1969, she received the Lindback Foundation Award for distinguished teaching.

Upon retirement in 1982, she moved to Parker Head in Phippsburg, where she was active in Bath Area Citizens for Nuclear Arms Control, founded by her late sister, Nancy Hoyt St. John. In 1999, she moved to the Thornton Oaks retirement community in Brunswick. As her chronic pulmonary disease decreased her mobility, she remained intellectually active, connected to the world through her computer. Her bulletin board, e-mails and conversation were full of her concern for global climate change and the doings of her nieces, nephews, grandnieces, grandnephews, and great-grandnieces and great-grandnephews and their dogs.

She was predeceased by two sisters, Nancy Hoyt St. John and Barbara Hoyt Stokes.

She is survived by her brother, Edwin Chase Hoyt Jr. and his wife, Lydia, of Brunswick; 13 nieces and nephews and their spouses and partners, including Christopher St. John and his wife, Eunice, of Gardiner and Barbara St. John Vickery and her husband, Peter, of Richmond; and numerous grandnieces, grandnephews, great-grandnieces and great-grandnephews.

It was her expressed wish that there be no service. The family will be remembering her privately.