In Memorial

Allen Taflove

Date of Death: April 25th, 2021
13 Iyar 5781


Allen Taflove, PhD, 71, beloved husband of Sylvia nee Friedman for 44 years; loving father of Michael and Nathan (Alisha) Taflove; cherished 2Dadas of Aden; dear brother of the late Doris Perlman and Belle Smith; many loving nieces and nephews. Professor of Electrical Engineering at Northwestern University for 37 years. In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be sent to Fight Lynch, Private graveside service. Please attend via livestream, Tuesday 12 PM. For the link to view the service, shiva information or to leave condolences, Shalom Memorial Funeral Home, or (847) 255-3520.

Service Information

Service : Tuesday, April 27th at 12:00 pm
Service Location: Private Service-Live Stream Access - Shalom Memorial Park

May His Memory Be A Blessing.

You are invited as a guest to the Viewneral® Funeral Service for Allen Taflove.

When: Tuesday, Apr 27, 2021 12:00 PM Central Time (US and Canada)
Viewneral Service Name: Allen Taflove, PhD Funeral Service

Please click the following link to join:

Shalom Memorial Park
1700 W. Rand Road
Arlington Heights

Shiva Information

Private Shiva

Notes of condolence
may be sent to
The Taflove Family
c/o Shalom Memorial Funeral Home
1700 W. Rand Road
Arlington Heights, IL 60004

Fight Lynch

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Guest Book & Memories

Share Your Memories of Allen Taflove
Share Your Memories

May 4th, 2021

Prof. Taflove was an extremely helpful collaborator during my Ph.D. at Northwestern, and I greatly enjoyed and learned a lot from our discussions on electromagnetic wave propagation. He served on my Ph.D. committee, and his advice and insights have played a critical role in my career. I am deeply saddened by his passing, and am confident that his legacy will live on in our memories and within the scientific community.

To Prof. Taflove's familly: May the Almighty comfort you amongst the mourners of Zion and Jerusalem.

~Joseph Friedman
~Research Collaborator & Ph.D. Committee Member, Dallas, TX

May 4th, 2021

Allen inspired so many HKN students in his role as the HKN Beta Tau Chapter at Northwestern University.
Allen was a pleasure to work with, his dedication to the students, outreach in the Department and community was wonderful to be a part of, and support.
A dear friend, mentor, Professor, and caring person, he is greatly missed.

~Nancy Ostin
~HKN, Piscataway

May 3rd, 2021

Allen's enthusiasm for EM and FDTD left a strong impression on me when I was an undergrad at NU, and now more than 20 years later I continue to be impressed by how generously he gave of his time to mentor young students like me.
He was an inspiring mentor, educator, and researcher.

~Joe Summers
~former student, Seattle, WA

April 30th, 2021

I met Allen when he was an undergraduate student at Northwestern and joined the ham radio club. We have kept in touch over the years over the radio, by email, and occasionally in person regarding our shared interest in this hobby. I valued his friendship and I will greatly miss him.

~John Becker
~Friend, Prospect Heights, IL

April 28th, 2021

I had a privilege to work with Allen weekly in our theory meetings back in my PhD in Northwestern. Allen is full of humor, extremely supportive, kind, occationally "angry" in a good way, and a true friend to his fellow colleagues and students. I worked with Allen once revising my manuscript on ISOCT. We sit in his office, and then he went over word-by-word with me in revision. That was just one small example of his patience, generosity and his dedication to students. I admired him tremendously. We students loved to listen to his story, his history of FDTD, and mostly we felt warmth around him. Allen is the kind of Professor who I would hope to be one day, and he will be dearly missed!

~Ji Yi
~Former student colleague, Baltimore, MD

April 28th, 2021

Allen was such a generous person. Many people don’t know this but the Tafloves opened their house every Sunday to give Mike and Nate’s AZA chapter a place to meet and host programs. They were always so kind and generous. Allen and Sylvia raised two wonderful sons and were like second parents to many more. Allen will be sorely missed.
Stuart Katz

~Stuart Katz
~Friend, Evanston, Il

April 28th, 2021

Ralph and I have many fond memories of Allen. His love of science fiction was stellar. His dedication to all things "Ham" will be sorely missed by Ralph. Nobody spoke ham radio like Allen did. He was a great guy and and a wonderful friend. May the force be with him. Love, Joanni and Ralph

~Joan Barbakoff
~friend, WILMETTE

April 27th, 2021

Allen was a true Mensch. He was kind, gentle, respectful, loved by all, and I could go on and on. Sylvia and Allen were a beautiful, special couple. We had fun at Hadassah functions. Allen will be missed. May his memory be for a blessing.

Sincerely, Faye and Joe

~Faye and Joe Bright
~Hadassah friends, Wilmette, IL

April 27th, 2021

I first met Allen as a student at Northwestern. Immediately, I noticed how much time and effort he put into all of his lectures. I remember thinking, "How does he still have so much passion for these topics after teaching them so many times?" Not to mention the crazy amount of office hours he held, going over the same concepts over and over, until everybody in the room understood. The fact that he was able to do this again and again, without ever showing the slightest sign of frustration or annoyance, says a great deal about his character. He always saw the material through the eyes of his students, as if it was brand new and exciting each time.

Later, when I became a professor at Northwestern, I got the privilege of working with Allen. We co-taught a class, Introduction to Electrical Engineering (the very class I had taken from him years before, that got me so interested in electrical engineering). Through our conversations about the students' progress, I could see how much he wanted each and every one of them to succeed (and of course to pursue electrical engineering!). His dedication to his students was truly unparalleled.

After Allen learned of his diagnosis, he of course did not teach his part of our course, and I taught in his place. In preparing for teaching, I got to reap one of the oh-so-few benefits of Covid, in that his lectures from the last term were recorded on Zoom. I thought I would just watch a little of each, just to get a feel for what to teach. Instead, I found myself watching every one of them from start to finish. Even after all these years of teaching, Allen sounded like he was teaching the material for the first time. His enthusiasm came through in every new concept he introduced. Not only that, but he taught in a way that was completely unintimidating and friendly. After having taught his section, I am in awe of the way he was able to break down complicated concepts in a way that everyone in the class was able to follow.

Allen may be gone, but his legacy certainly lives on, through his students, colleagues, family, and friends. I know that for me, he has impacted my life in numerous ways, and I will never forget that. To me, he was a teacher, a mentor (I didn't even mention that he was on my PhD dissertation committee), a colleague (we co-taught that class 30 times!), and a friend. I will miss him dearly, and offer my sincerest condolences to his family.

~Ilya Mikhelson
~Colleague, Evanston, IL

April 27th, 2021

Allen is a one of the great pioneers in the field of computational electromagnetics. When I first met him thirty+ years ago, he was the one setting the bar for everyone else to follow. What really set him a part was not just that he was pushing the envelope on solving larger problems more efficiently than anyone of his time, but he was continuously applying computational EM to new and novel areas that crossed many different boundaries of science and engineering. But more than that, anyone who knew Allen could not help to be positively influenced by his great passion for knowledge and new ideas, and his compassion for people. There is no question that he was a great influence on myself as he was to so many others and I am very grateful to have known him. He will be sorely missed.

~Stephen Gedney
~Colleague, Denver, CO

April 27th, 2021

 Lana Kiperman

It is with very sad heart I say goodbye to Prof. Taflove. I worked in ECE/EECS/ECE Department as a staff person for ~18 years and along Prof. Allen Taflove's side, organized many small and large academic events, as well as assisted him in compiling departmental yearly reports and helped with academic schedule and many other things. Every morning and every evening Allen would greet every staff politely, taking time to chat and inquire how is everything, and to always thank staff for all the help he had received. He was always kind, grateful, humble about his own successes and rejoiced at the success of others openly and genuinely. His dedication to students and university is unmatched by anyone. His door was always open to all - students, world renowned researchers, staff and faculty alike. He stayed after school with students almost daily, tutoring and or assisting them with anything and he was always humble about it. He continued to take on extra projects just to ensure the building of the community within university - he acted as an advisor of the students research magazine, more then once was spearheading/advising/judging departmental Student Project/Poster Fair, organized EECS student mentorship group and many more.
I remember Prof. Taflove smiling and sharing stories of how he was proud and happy about his sons and grandkids, remembering his past students many of whom were now great researchers and faculty themselves and I remember how he brought to main office chocolates that were sent to him, but Allen believed in spreading the joy and sharing.
Allen memory is a blessing to his family, students and colleagues.
My sincerest condolences to all who knew Prof. Allen Taflove and may his life serve as an example of a brilliant, hardest working professor and yet one who was very humble and the one who had time to be kind and grateful for all.

~Lana Kiperman
~colleague, NORTHBROOK

April 27th, 2021

We loved Allen. He was part of our road rally “ test team” & helped us tweak clues for a favorite Hadassah event. Allen was such a sweet man! He always enjoyed nature with us when visiting our yard & koi pond. We also recall pleasant walks at the mall or around the lake at the Glen. He was truly a special person & a true prince.

~Vicki & Bert Satovitz
~Friends, Niles, Il

April 27th, 2021

We remember fondly our Hadassah events with Allen and Sylvia. There were many lively political discussions and Allen always was patient with us, even if he did not
agree with our views. He was always kind and never said a negative thing about
anyone. Allen and Sylvia were the perfect pair. He was the studious one and she is
so creative and artistic. They just beamed when talking about their grandson.
We send our condolences to Sylvia and family. Please let us know if there is anything we can do to help you. Much love, Les and Tammy

~Tammy and Les Schwartz
~Hadassah Friends, Glenview, IL

April 27th, 2021

I had the privilege of working with and learning from Allen as a high school student. At the time, I was struggling to make sense of my physics lessons. So I reached out to Allen--a man who I had seen occasionally at family functions, but didn't really know--seeking help. I knew he had "a background in physics," so I figured he was qualified to help. Years later, I can't help but laugh to myself at what an understatement that was.

Throughout my junior year, Allen and I would meet in person and over the phone to discuss physics. Our conversations would last for hours, but the time went by quickly.
In addition to being an incredible teacher, Allen's patience was limitless--even with a persnickety teenager. His lessons were fascinating, and his kindness deeply felt.

Even when my class concluded, Allen and Sylvia remained steady presences in my life. Learning of Allen's passing this weekend was heartbreaking. I am comforted by the knowledge that his legacy and memory will live on through the lives and accomplishments of those who were blessed to know him.

~Jenna Cohen
~Family, Chicago, IL

April 27th, 2021

For the past year, Allan and I have been interacting weekly with our students, given that we have a common project.
This was my first interaction with him after my stroke and aphasia, which requires patience and good will. Allan has always given me the time and space to be able to to express my thoughts, and, in addition to our shared passions for science, there was often time for an occasional political pre- election jab, preoccupation for the results, and relief after "the unnamable" lost.

He also provided us with an education about Star Trek!
We will miss his him very much: his scientific presence, his clarity, and his kindness: he was a true MENSCH. Friday meetings without Allan will not be the same...

Our deepest condolences to Sylvia, Michael and Nathan and the rest of family and friends.
We hope you find comfort in the memories.

Sending strength and courage,

Igal and Ingrid Szleifer

~Igal Szleifer
~colleague, Evanston, IL

April 27th, 2021

Allen and Sylvia have always been two kind and gentle souls I have known for many years. I am so saddened by Sylvia and her families loss. May his name and memory always be a blessing to his family and friends.

~Friend of family, Palatine, IL

April 27th, 2021

I had the privilege to have had Allen Taflove’s support and mentorship throughout my graduate school time at Northwestern. He was an incredible inspiration in how he relayed his enthusiasm and passion for science and discovery with astonishing clarity. He made difficult concepts easy to grasp, being an exceptional teacher. But most importantly, he showed an unwavering commitment to his mentees in a way that serves as a gold standard for me. I am grateful to have had Allen as a mentor and inspiration in my life and I will always cherish the wisdom that he imparted.

~Graduate Advisee, Hingham, MA

April 27th, 2021

Allen and I met 20 years ago when I joined Northwestern University as a wide-eyed new assistant professor. Allen did not know that one of the reasons I wanted to become a faculty at Northwestern in the first place was because of him. I had been admiring his work for years, and we ended up working together ever since. Allen was the best friend and colleague imaginable. Yes, he had pioneered a groundbreaking computational technology that revolutionized electrical engineering and physics. Yes, he had written a book that became one of the most read works in physics. And yes, he was an exceptional researcher. But perhaps even more importantly, his work, friendship, and mentorship have touched so many lives. He was the best mentor to students and the best collaborator to faculty. Allen certainly changed my life. I received my tenure thanks to, not to a small extent, his collaboration. Allen is an example of what a beautiful life must be like.

~friend and colleague, Chicago, IL

April 27th, 2021

As one of my advisors, I have had the privilege of meeting with Allen nearly every week for the past 5 years. Allen has been an absolute wealth of positivity, support, and science non-fiction histories from his nearly five decades of conducting and overseeing quality research. He could recall a conversation from 50 years ago verbatim, and would often reminisce about the days when the computing power of his youth was comparable to that of a modern garage door opener.

Literally every encounter with Allen has left me feeling hopeful, inspired and reinvigorated on the potential for the impact of electromagnetic simulation on the field on biomedical sciences. He responded to every question with interest, curiosity and a genuine desire to teach and share, without judgment or condescension. He embodied the integrity of a model scientist: a desire only to learn more about the underlying physics and technology and to share it with the scientific community at large. Allen believed in me and my capabilities long before I did, and I am eternally grateful for his contribution to my own growth and to the scientific community. His brilliance will be sorely missed.

~Aya Eid
~Mentee, Chicago, IL

April 27th, 2021

Allen Taflove had a transformative influence on his field of research and on the people he interacted with. His memory will live for many decades in his work and particularly his books. I will always remember his generous support to younger colleagues. My sincerest condolences to his family.

~Costas Sarris
~Colleague, Toronto, ON

April 26th, 2021

I had the honor of knowing and working with Allen during my graduate studies at Northwestern. The significance of his work in the field of Electrodynamics is unequivocal, but one grand part of his influence that is not reflected in his awards, books, or tens of thousands of citations, came from his generous investment of heart and mind to raising young scientists like myself.

The years I got to work alongside him made too many memories to share, too few to ever forget. The scientific ups and downs seem fun in retrospect, with Allen’s continual, steady support always there to rely upon. His impact on me as a scientist is simply conveyed by the fact that I sense his mental presence every single time I put together a scientific statement. Sounds cliche, but it’s the truth - I was even thinking of him today at work minutes before I learned about his passing.

His support and encouragement has propelled my career and empowered me as a woman in science to reach boldly for greater heights. His impact continues through my work, and the work of many other talented scientists I know he mentored. I will miss him deeply.

~Lusik Cherkezyan
~Graduate Advisee, Libertyville, IL

April 26th, 2021

July 3, 2018 in Allen's office Di Zhang

It feels like yesterday that I stepped into the room of "theory meeting" and saw Allen nodded to greet me. When he sits there I feel confident and solid, and we are together to do something big to change the world. He can influence me that way because he is that kind of person. He is so focused on what he loves and enthusiastic about. He chases for the facts, knowledge, and impacts rather than his own benefit. He has the great patience to guide and help his students, and deep from his heart, he is proud of them.

I don't remember how many times I have said "thank you" to him, but today I want to say "I am proud of you".

Bye Allen, your sprit will live long in my heart.

~Di Zhang
~Student, San Mateo, CA

April 26th, 2021

Lusik Cherkezyan and Andrew Radosevich pictured after their PhD hooding by Prof. Allen Taflove. Accompanied by Charlie Radosevich and Prof. Allen Sahakian. Andrew Radosevich

Taking a line from my thesis: “Allen is a veritable mensch in every sense of the word”.

I had the great honor of working with and learning from Allen during my graduate research at Northwestern University. He was one of those rare people in my life whose mere mention brought warm thoughts to my mind and a smile to my face – an effect I know he had on countless others. For those select causes that Allen deemed worthy of the fight, he was an unabashed, enthusiastic, and eloquent champion. Chief among those causes was his devotion to the development of the young people around him. For me personally, Allen rather colorfully pulled a 180 on my current manager during a hiring reference check by making him prove that he was not just a ‘Pointy-haired Boss’ and that the position was worthy of having me. It was pure privilege to have Allen fighting in your corner.

It was a real blow to hear of Allen’s passing. I remember the last time I spoke with him and it was not nearly recent enough. He will be missed.

~Andrew Radosevich
~Graduate Advisee, Libertyville, IL

April 26th, 2021

Jul 3, 2018 in Allen's office Di Zhang

It feels like it is yesterday that I stepped into the room of "theory meeting" and Allen nodded to greet me. When he sit there, I feel confident and solid, and we are together to do something to change the world. He has the power to influence me that way since he is that kind of person. He is so focused on what he loves and enthusiastic about and always seeking to chase after the scientific facts and knowledge rather than own benefits. He has the great patience to help and guide his students and deep from his heart he is proud of his students. I don't remember how many times I have said "thank you" to him for his generous help, but today I want to say "I am so proud of you".

Bye Allen, your spirit will live long in my heart.

~Di Zhang
~Student, San Mateo, CA

April 26th, 2021

I had the great good fortune to get know Alan in the course of a very competitive application process for an NSF Science & Technology Center grant. We bonded over shared political leanings and the excitement of developing a new intellectual hub for imaging research. But what has stayed with me was his warmth, gentleness and the respect with which he treated everyone regardless of position or rank. May his memory be for a blessing.

~Sheila Judge Fingerman
~Colleague, Evanston, IL

April 26th, 2021

Allen was not only a world-renowned expert in his academic field, but one of those rare ones who cement their names in their fields so deeply that their name almost becomes synonymous with the field. He was an early pioneer in the computer simulation of electromagnetic fields, opening up many lines of research benefiting key technologies including antenna design, radars, lithography, and biological optics. I was a beneficiary of his extreme generosity and exceptional mentorship during my postdoctoral stay at Northwestern University, where I had the good fortune to participate in his collaboration with Prof. Vadim Backman involving the simulation of light-based cancer detection schemes. He felt really strongly about the potential impacts of this project on medicine, and enthusiastically championed it throughout his involvement. His contagious enthusiasm inspired young researchers like myself to dedicate a good portion of their careers to help advance this project. Thanks to Allen, those were years well spent. He was always encouraging in his advising, radiating a positive attitude that was always motivating and uplifting. He continued to impact my career after my appointment at NU as well, giving me valuable advice and even giving a me referral for a job position. He committed himself selflessly to the careers of his students and advisees; a trait not encountered universally in the academic world. He will be greatly missed.

~Ilker Capoglu
~Postdoctoral Advisee, Pleasanton, CA

April 26th, 2021

I am a graduate student in the biomedical engineering department. Over the past several years, I have been working closely with Professor Taflove who was the principle investigator on a supercomputer grant I am a part of. Allen was a huge advocate of our research to Argonne National Lab and, despite several setbacks, was always able to fight for the computational time we needed to complete our project. This included, more recently, a process that he ironically referred to as "salami tactics" where we tried to package computational jobs together and wrote small grants for each of these jobs in order to achieve a larger goal, exemplifying his sense of humor which he always carried with him as well as his dedication to his students and his research. Allen was an absolute pleasure to work with. He had such an intelligent and active mind while being one of the most empathetic people I've ever met. He truly cared about each of his colleagues, and exhibited this both personally and professionally.

I am sure everyone who has had the luck to be able to know Allen will greatly miss him, I know that I will.

~Ranya Virk
~Graduate Student Colleague, Evanston, IL

April 26th, 2021

Allen was a long-term and lasting contributor to the field of computational electromagnetics. He was also a good person and fantastic advisor who promoted women in our male-dominated field, not just while they were his graduate students, but throughout their careers. Although I did not work directly with Allen, I am very grateful for his technical contributions, and will remember him with fondness and appreciation.

Zoya Popovic, Distinguished Professor, Univ. of Colorado Boulder

~Zoya Popovic
~Colleague, Boulder

April 26th, 2021

Allen was a giant in his field who related incredibly well with undergrads, grad students, faculty, and staff. He was a kind and gentle person; in computational electrodynamics, he was a intellectual force. To many, including me, he was a wonderful mentor. It was a great honor to have worked with him -- I always learned from him. I once mentioned in passing that I was an experimentalist, to which he responded: so am I; computation is my laboratory. An incredibly simple and sage statement. I am deeply saddened I will not be able to talk with him again. My heart goes out to his family and friends. Allen made the world a better place. He will be missed.

~Jay Walsh
~Faculty Colleague, Evanston, IL

April 26th, 2021

I had the privilege of co-teaching with Allen. He was one of the most dedicated and passionate instructors I have ever known, treating every student with kindness, respect, and infinite patience. I think of him every time I tell students that something is "a non-trivial problem--as Professor Taflove would say."

Allen will be very much missed.

~Kathleen Carmichael
~Faculty colleague, Chicago, IL


Yahrzeit Dates For Allen Taflove

Tradition directs us in the evening before the Yahrzeit dates listed below, the anniversary of our loved one's day of death, we are to kindle a candle in our homes as a reminder of their place in our hearts.

Gregorian Date
13th of Iyyar 57825/14/2022
13th of Iyyar 57835/4/2023
13th of Iyyar 57845/21/2024
13th of Iyyar 57855/11/2025
Click For Yahrzeit Blessings
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