Andover Mourns Loss of Robert Perrin
January 17, 2007
Faculty emeritus Robert Perrin died of cancer at his home in Craftsbury Common, Vt., on January 15, 2007. He was 66 years old.
Born in New York, Dr. Perrin was a theoretical physicist, mathematician, and teacher. He earned his undergraduate degree in mathematics and physics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1960, and his doctorate there in 1964. He held various teaching positions at Harvard, Brandeis, and Northeastern universities before embarking upon a more than 30-year career as an instructor at Phillips Academy, where he taught some of the most difficult and rigorous mathematics and physics courses offered.
He took great joy in giving his students not merely a solid foundation in mathematics and physics, but also in instilling in them his own deep, lifelong appreciation of the beauty, excitement, and discovery to be found in their study. He retired from Andover in 2004 for health reasons.
Dr. Perrin was the author of several papers in scientific journals, including a paper published in The American Journal of Physics on Einstein’s “Twin Paradox.” In addition to professional activities and his teaching duties at Andover, Dr. Perrin pursued lifelong interests in karate (in which he earned a third degree black belt), Aikido, skiing, running, biking, and physical fitness generally. He also played the guitar, having studied briefly with folksinger Tim Hardin in Cambridge, Mass., during the 1960s. In 1967, during the Vietnam War, Dr. Perrin spent several months in Vietnam as a war photographer accredited to the Boston Globe.
Among Dr. Perrin’s proudest accomplishments: he and his wife Leslie cleared land and built a house in northern Vermont without either of them having any prior experience or training in home construction.
Dr. Perrin is survived by his wife of 36 years, Leslie Ballard (a former instructor in chemistry) of Craftsbury Common, and his daughter Kimberly Ballard-Perrin ’98, a 2002 graduate of Dartmouth and resident of Yosemite, Calif.
This obituary was submitted to the Academy by Bob’s widow, Leslie Ballard.