Originally Published: November 19, 2017 6 a.m.
Tom N. Cornsweet, Ph.D., died on Nov. 12, 2017, at his home in Prescott, Arizona, after a lengthy struggle with multiple illnesses.
Tom was an experimental psychologist with a specialty in how the visual system works and an inventor of ophthalmic instrumentation. He was an ardent scientist with an active mind right up to the end of his life, publishing his last textbook at the age of 88. As a professor at Yale, UC Berkeley and UC Irvine, he was committed not only to his field of research, but also to fostering the skill of clear and logical thinking in his students. And, sooner or later, everyone who met him became his student.
At the time of his death, he was working on another book, as well as a new theory of how we see color. Tom was also passionate about designing medical instruments that assessed for problems with our visual system and introduced many new ideas into the field of ophthalmic instrumentation that enable physicians to make earlier and better diagnoses.
Tom is survived by his wife, Diane; his daughter, Carol Cornsweet Barber of Hamilton, New Zealand; and her children, Joseph and Lee Barber; his daughter, Sarah Cornsweet and her partner, Melissa Harris, of Ann Arbor, Michigan; his daughter, Kay Cornsweet Sutter and her family of Houston, Texas; his sister, Margery Cornsweet Chapman and her partner, Dr. Richard L. Rovit, of Rye, New York, her children and their families.
His daughter, Amy, and son-in-law, Manford Barber, preceded him in death.
A scientist through and through, Tom donated his body to Science Care. In lieu of flowers, donations to Hospice of the Pines of Dewey, Arizona, which was of great service to Tom at the end of his life, would be appreciated.
Information provided by survivors.