While our physical offices are closed until further notice in accordance with Austin's COVID-19 "stay home-work safe" order, the Handbook of Texas will remain available at no-cost for you, your fellow history enthusiasts, and all Texas students currently mandated to study from home. If you have the capacity to help us maintain our online Texas history resources during these uncertain times, please consider making a 100% tax-deductible contribution today. Thank you for your support of TSHA and Texas history. Donate Today »


Amanda Oren
Alfred Schild
Photograph, Portrait of Alfred Schild. Image courtesy of the University of Texas. Image available on the Internet and included in accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107.
Alfred and Winnifred Schild
Photograph, Alfred Schild and his wife, Winnifred Zara Beames Schild. Image courtesy of the University of Texas. Image available on the Internet and included in accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107.

SCHILD, ALFRED (1921–1977). Alfred Schild, physicist, was born in Istanbul, Turkey, in 1921 to German-speaking parents. He attended a university in England. When World War II started, he was interned because he had a German passport. He was sent to Canada, at which time he was allowed to continue his education. Schild enrolled at the University of Toronto, where he completed his bachelor of arts in 1944 and his master of arts and doctorate by 1946. While at the University of Toronto, he was taught by Leopold Infeld, a close colleague of Albert Einstein. This association led Schild to a deep interest in relativity. During this time he married Winnifred Zara Beames, with whom he had three children. In 1946 Schild joined the staff at Carnegie Institute of Technology. In 1957 he joined the staff at the University of Texas. He was named one of the first Ashbel Smith professors in 1963 and cofounded the first Texas Symposium on Relativistic Astrophysics. He was also one of the founders of the International Committee on Gravitation and General Relativity, the Center for Particle Theory, the Center for Statistical Mechanics, and the Center for Relativity Theory at the University of Texas.

Grave of Alfred Schild
Photograph, Grave of Alfred Schild in Austin. Image available on the Internet and included in accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107.

Besides his university work in 1959 Schild also helped develop the "atomic clock," which checked the theory of relativity in space. He was a member of the Canadian Congress of Mathematics and the American Mathematical Society. He coauthored "Tensor Calculus" with John L. Synge in 1949. He also wrote many other scientific papers that were published in scientific and mathematical journals. Schild protested the Vietnam War and worked for the rights of his students. He died on May 24, 1977, in Downer's Grove, Illinois, while conducting research at the Argonne National Laboratory.


Austin American-Statesman, May 25, 1977. Daily Texan, October 24, 1963. Vertical Files, Dolph Briscoe Center for American History, University of Texas at Austin.

Image Use Disclaimer

All copyrighted materials included within the Handbook of Texas Online are in accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107 related to Copyright and “Fair Use” for Non-Profit educational institutions, which permits the Texas State Historical Association (TSHA), to utilize copyrighted materials to further scholarship, education, and inform the public. The TSHA makes every effort to conform to the principles of fair use and to comply with copyright law.

For more information go to: http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/107.shtml

If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond fair use, you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.


The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this article.

Handbook of Texas Online, Amanda Oren, "SCHILD, ALFRED," accessed July 13, 2020, http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/fsc48.

Uploaded on June 15, 2010. Modified on May 6, 2016. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.
visit the mytsha forums to participate

View these posts and more when you register your free MyTSHA account.

Call for Papers: Texas Center for Working-Class Studies Events, Symposia, and Workshops
Hi all! You may be interested in this call for papers I received from the Texas Center for Working-Class Studies at Collin College...

Katy Jennings' Ride Scholarly Research Request
I'm doing research on Catherine Jennings Lockwood, specifically the incident known as "Katy Jennings' Ride." Her father was Gordon C. Jennings, the oldest man to die at the Alamo...

Texas Constitution of 1836 Co-Author- Elisha Pease? Ask a Historian
The TSHA profile of Elisha Marshall Pease states that he wrote part of the Texas Constitution although he was only a 24 year-old assistant secretary (not elected). I cannot find any other mention of this authorship work by Pease in other credible research about the credited Constution authors...