Jacques Edouard Schoutens

Date of Birth

September 25, 1934

Date of Death

April 8, 2023

City of Death

Los Alamos, CA

Jacques was born in Brussels, Belgium and spent much of his early childhood in this Nazi-occupied city. In 1956, after serving in the Belgian military in post-war Germany, he immigrated to the United States. Even though he didn’t speak English when he arrived, as a skilled machinist he managed to land a job at Packard Bell in Los Angeles. Here, he designed TV chassis based on technical drawings he had brought with him from Europe. Jacques obtained a bachelor’s degree and subsequently a Ph.D. in physics by attending classes at night while working during the day. His long career included positions at Douglas Aircraft, General Electric and Kaman Sciences.

While Jacques was a noted expert on composite materials, he was a consummate student and published contributor in many fields. He brought an irrepressible enthusiasm to physics, mathematics, laser technology, biology, history and writing. In 1990, he left the field of physics and concentrated on mathematical biology, specifically in the field of microtubules. In 1996 he became an active member of the New York Academy of Sciences. Jacques was an inspirational lecturer in physics, engineering, and mathematics; he gave exciting talks across the country at university campuses, companies sites and military bases. Furthermore, Jacques’ talents went beyond the theoretical — he once designed a shrimp-shelling machine from scratch for a company in Texas.

Jacques was known for being headstrong, and his intense pursuit of knowledge sometimes led to comical accidents. During one summer research assignment at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, he caused a lab explosion by mixing materials that were highly incompatible with each other. Jacques loved to recall this time he almost blew up a lab, often through tears of laughter.

With an insatiable curiosity and many professional and personal interests, he established an expansive home library with books on many subjects. He was an avid reader and devotee of European history. Artistic endeavors also enchanted him, and he was a self-taught violinist, cellist, model ship builder and artist. He particularly loved to paint and draw landscapes.

Jacques will be deeply missed by his loving wife Apolonia, his children Robert, Suzanne, Joe, Mary, Leah, their spouses, his numerous grandchildren and great grandchildren, his sister Many, brother-in-law Larry and dear friends Chris and Charlotte Wrather.

In lieu of flowers, donations in memory of Jacques can be made to:
ALSAC/St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital
501 St. Jude Place
Memphis, TN 38105

A private celebration of life will be held at a later date.

Loper Funeral Chapel, Directors


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