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News Release

August 17, 2007


John Sanford, News Service: (650) 736-2151,

Nancy Hofstadter, widow of Nobel laureate in physics, dead at 87

Nancy Hofstadter, the widow of Stanford physics professor and Nobel laureate Robert Hofstadter, died Aug. 8 at her campus home. She was 87.

Nancy Givan Hofstadter was born Feb. 29, 1920—a leap day—in Baltimore, where she spent most of her childhood. She met Robert Hofstadter in Philadelphia. The couple married in 1942. Robert Hofstadter, who died in 1990, was awarded the Nobel Prize in physics in 1961.

A lifelong Democrat and political activist, Nancy Hofstadter worked on behalf of the developmentally disabled in California. She enjoyed reading, the theater and ballet, as well as early jazz and classical music. She was a great fan of Stanford baseball and would regularly attend games at Sunken Diamond.

Hofstadter is survived by a son, Douglas Hofstadter of Bloomington, Ind., who won the 1980 Pulitzer Prize in general nonfiction for his book Gödel, Escher, Bach; daughters Laura Hofstadter of Menlo Park and Molly Hofstadter of San Jose; and four grandchildren.

A private memorial gathering is scheduled.

In lieu of flowers, contributions can be made to the Robert Hofstadter Memorial Lectureship Fund in Physics at Stanford University, Doctors Without Borders or the World Wildlife Fund.



Douglas Hofstadter: (812) 360-9493,

Editor Note:

A photo of Nancy Hofstadter is available at (slug: nancy).

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