SERGE KORFF, distinguished nuclear physicist, explorer and mountaineer, died on Dec. 1, 1989, at his home in New York. He was the son of a czarist nobleman who was the last Russian governor of Finland. Serge was born in Helsinki, and the family came to the U.S. during WWI. Serge went to Western High School in Washington, D.C.
At Princeton he majored in astronomy and went on to take his doctorate at Princeton in physics and astronomy in 1931. He held several scientific research positions before joining the physics faculty at N.Y.U. in 1940. He soon became a leading figure in the study of cosmic rays, charting the neutron bombardment of the earth from mountain peaks, airplanes, and observation balloons. His exploration took him to Peru, Bolivia, the Galapagos, Alaska, Greenland, and many other areas. Dr. Korff's findings led to archaeological dating by radioactive carbon as formulated by Nobel Prize winner in 1960, Dr. William Libby.
Serge received many high honors and awards, and was president of the Explorer's Club, the American Geographical Society, and the New York Academy of Sciences. Serge's marriage to Alice Graeme ended in divorce. They had two daughters, Alexandra Scott and Alice Boardman. One of his five grandchildren, Alexander K. Scott '92, is at Princeton. Serge married Betty Hurd Renshaw, widow of Lloyd Renshaw '24, in 1946. She died in 1975. Serge later married Marcella Heron, who survives him.
The Class of 1928 is proud of Serge and his achievements, is grateful for his friendship, and extends its warmest sympathy to Marcella and the other members of his family.