Heinz R. Pagels, executive director and chief executive officer of the New York Academy of Sciences, died in a mountaineering accident on July 23 while attending the summer session of the Aspen Center for Physics.

A theoretical physicist, Pagels, 49, worked in the areas of relativistic quantum field theory and cosmology and was noted as being a popularizer of science. He authored three books on science: The Cosmic Code (1983); Perfect Symmetry: The Search for the Beginning of Time (1985); and The Dreams of Reason: The Computer and the Rise of the Sciences of Complexity (1988). In reviewing Pagels’ 1985 book, David Schranim, a cosmologist at the University of Chicago said, “Heinz Pagels is one of less than a handful of active scientists who can write excellent prose about the scientific frontier for a general audience.”

A discussion of Pagels’ and his associate Seth LOyd's approach to measuring complexity appeared...

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