Terence L. Watts, 83, died at home in Metuchen, where he had resided since 1973, on May 5, 2018. He enjoyed a long career of teaching and research in the field of particle physics.
He was born in Leicester, England, graduating from the Gateway School there. He continued his education in London, graduating from Kings College, University of London, in 1957. From there he entered graduate school at Yale University, in New Haven Connecticut, graduating in 1963, and occupying Research Associate positions both at Yale and at M.I.T. in Cambridge, Massachusetts. He became an Assistant Professor at M.I.T., where he taught and from which he carried on intensive research at several different labs. He then moved to Rutgers University in New Brunswick, New Jersey, as Associate Professor, a position he retained until 1985, when he became a Full Professor, retiring in 2005. During his many years at Rutgers, he taught undergraduate and graduate courses not only to students concentrating in physics, but to those in the schools of nursing, engineering, and medicine. He mentored Ph.D. students into their post-graduate careers. Meanwhile, he focused his research intensively at Fermilab in Batavia, a suburb of Chicago, and collaborated with numerous colleagues in universities both here and internationally in formal papers, conferences, experiments, and workshops. His research interests were broad, but he was known for helping to develop new techniques to identify a particular subatomic particle (the tau). These techniques are still in use today. He also helped develop and build a sophisticated computer system to pin-point important experimental data, duplicated in many experiments since.
A major part of his life, wherever he was, involved music, whether playing the piano or singing in community choruses that give concerts, most recently in both the Community Chorus of Westminster Choir College in Princeton and the Central City Chorus of New York. He was also a tennis player, and for many years belonged to a group in Metuchen for singles matches, and then to other groups nearby for doubles. He delighted in family and friends. His grandchildren were especial favorites and join a circle of family and friends who will sorely miss his gentlemanly nature, his kindliness and affability.
He is survived by his wife, the former Ann Chalmers; a son, Gordon T. Watts and his wife, Paula Heron of Seattle, Washington; his daughter, Vivien M. Watts and her husband, Matthew Watkins of Brooklyn, New York, as well as three grandchildren: Julia, George and Desmond; his brother, Alan T. Watts of London, England, and his wife, Rosemary.
A memorial service will take place on May 19th at 11:00 AM at St. Luke’s Episcopal Church, 17 Oak Avenue at Route 27, Metuchen.
Memorial contributions may be made to the American Civil Liberties Union, the Council for a Livable World, and the Central City Chorus of New York.