George Brown Arfken (born November 20, 1922) is an American theoretical physicist and the author of several mathematical physics texts.[1] He was a physics professor at Miami University from 1952 to 1983 and the chair of the Miami University physics department 1956–1972.[2] He is currently an emeritus professor at Miami University.[3] Arfken is also an authority on Canadian philately.[4]

George B. Arfken
Born (1922-11-20) November 20, 1922 (age 96)
Alma materYale University, 1943
Spouse(s)Carolyn Arfken née Dines
Scientific career
FieldsTheoretical physics, mathematical physics



Arfken received a Bachelor of Engineering degree from Yale University in 1943. He earned a Master's degree in physics in 1948 and a doctorate in 1950, both at Yale.[2]

Personal lifeEdit

Arfken married Carolyn Dines, a graduate of Westminster College of Pennsylvania, in 1949, and they raised three children together. She died in 1997. In 1998, Arfken endowed a scholar-in-residence program in her name at Miami University.[2][5]

In retirement Arfken played a major role in developing the postal history of Canada for the 60-year period 1851–1911, following the pioneering work of Allan Steinhart. This was primarily a study of the postal rates, the routes the mail followed, and the postal markings on the envelopes and postcards. Arfken wrote one book on the United States' first postage-due stamps and then, with coauthors, nine books on the early Canadian postage and registration stamps. In addition there were over 250 articles in philatelic journals.

Selected publicationsEdit

  • 1966: Mathematical Methods for Physicists ISBN 0123846544
  • 1989: University Physics ISBN 0155929747, coauthored with David F. Griffing and Donald C. Kelly
  • 1989: Canada's Small Queen Era - Postage Usage During the Small Queen Era, 1870-1897
  • 2003: Essential Mathematical Methods for Physicists ISBN 9780120598779, coauthored with Hans J. Weber, Frank E. Harris


  1. ^ Who's Who in Technology Today, 1982-1983. J. Dick. 1982. p. 339.
  2. ^ a b c "George Arfken endows scholar-in-residence". Miami University News. 21 July 1998. Retrieved 30 December 2012.
  3. ^ "Miami University Department of Physics". Archived from the original on 26 December 2012. Retrieved 30 December 2012.
  4. ^ "Canada's Small Queen Era - Postage Usage During the Small Queen Era, 1870-1897". Canadian Philatelist. Jan–Feb 1990: 71. Archived from the original on March 3, 2016. Retrieved January 24, 2014.
  5. ^ "Dr. Mark Havey named Arfken Scholar in Residence". Old Dominion University. 2005. Retrieved 7 July 2013.