Milton A. Rothman

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Milt Rothman (1940s). Courtesy of Rob Hansen.

(November 30, 1919 – October 6, 2001)

Milt Rothman joined the Science Fiction League as soon as it was announced in the May 1934 issue of Wonder Stories, becoming Member #34. He was co-founder of the Philadelphia SFL (which became PSFS) in 1934. In 1998, he was inducted into the First Fandom Hall of Fame and was the fan GoH at BucConeer. He was also GoH at Philcon 1976.


The majority of the attendees of the world's first science fiction convention in 1936, from left: Oswald Train, Donald A. Wollheim, Milton A. Rothman, Frederik Pohl, John B. Michel, William S. Sykora (holding the NYB-ISA flag), David A. Kyle, and Robert Madle. They're standing in front of Independence Hall in Philadelphia. Photo by Herbert E. Goudket.

He published the fanzines Milty's Mag and Plenum from 1939–1950, and Blitzkrieg. He was a member of the Washington Worry-Warts. He was a member of FAPA and part of the Brain Trust, the Order of Dagon, and the Philadelphia Blitzkrieg, chaired the Big Pond Fund, went on the Widneride, and spoke up for Yngvi. He was deep in the fannish wars over Michelism and the Wollheimists, though he tried to avoid the feuding part. He was a charter member of the National Fantasy Fan Federation in 1941. He edited the National Fantasy Fan right after World War II. He also drew fanart.

He attended the First Convention in 1936. At one point, he tried to attend every convention held in the United States. He was one of the five people attending Boskone IV.

Rothman chaired Philadelphia worldcons in both 1947 and 1953, the latter being the first convention to present the Hugo Awards. He was named Chairman Emeritus of Millennium Philcon in 2001.


Beginning in 1939, he published sf professionally. He initially appeared under the pseudonym Lee Gregor at the insistence of John W. Campbell, Jr., who didn’t like Jewish names as bylines in Astounding. At the beginning of Rothman's writing career, Frederik Pohl was his agent and also edited his stories before their submission to magazines.

Rothman's most famous story was "Heavy Planet," which first appeared in Astounding Science Fiction and which has been reprinted in numerous anthologies. His complete fictional works were collected in Heavy Planet and Other Science Fiction Stories from Wildside Press.

Personal Life[edit]

Rothman was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and attended Central High School. He attended the Philadelphia College of Pharmacy and Science (now University of the Sciences) from 1936 to 1938 where he majored in chemistry.

Not only a fan and a published author, Rothman was a nuclear physicist. From 1943 to 1944 he studied at Oregon State University, where he received a bachelor's degree in electrical engineering. He served in the U.S. army from 1944 to 1946, becoming a sergeant in the Signal Corps. After World War II, Rothman returned to Philadelphia to study at the University of Pennsylvania, where he received an M.S. in 1948 and a Ph.D. in physics in 1952.

Rothman went to work for the Bartol Research Center in Springfield, PA. He joined the Princeton Plasma Physics Lab where he worked for almost 10 years on the Model-C Stellerator, the largest fusion experimental device of the time. Subsequently, he became a Professor of Physics at Trenton State College. He retired from teaching in 1979.

In his later years, he was a Senior Scientist at the Franklin Institute Research Laboratory in Philadelphia. He authored seven science fact books, including Discovering the Natural Laws in 1972 and a number of articles. In addition, Rothman became an active member of the Committee for the Scientific Investigation of Claims of the Paranormal, authoring A Physicists' Guide to Skepticism.

In 1950, Rothman married psychotherapist Doris “Dorry” Weiss; the marriage ended in divorce in 1973. His second marriage was to epidemiologist Anita K. Bahn, who died in 1980, the year they officially married. The following year, he married Miriam Mednick, a social worker, to whom he remained married until his death.

His son, Tony Rothman, is also a physicist and sf writer. His daughter, Lynne Lyon, is a licensed social worker specializing in attachment therapy.

Milt Rothman died in Wyncote, PA, in 2001, of heart failure, from complications due to diabetes and Parkinson's disease.


Fanzines and Apazines:

Awards, Honors and GoHships:

Person 19192001
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