Bruce Bridgeman was tragically killed in an accident on July 10, 2016 while in Taipei.
Bruce was a UC Santa Cruz professor of psychology and psychobiology and an internationally renowned researcher on spatial orientation and neuroscience.
Bridgeman joined UC Santa Cruz in 1973 and remained with UCSC throughout his career. Though an emeriti professor, Bridgeman was reappointed to teach courses in neuroscience and evolutionary psychology, the subject of one of his textbooks, and had several active experiments running in his lab at the time of his death. “Bruce remained a vital member of the psychology department,” said professor and department chair Campbell Leaper. “He maintained a very productive research program that included several UCSC students as research assistants.” Read full article...
Bruce Bridgeman Tribute (Part 1)
Bruce Bridgeman Tribute (Part 2)
The Bruce and Diane Bridgeman Fund
To honor Bruce Bridgeman, the Professor Bruce Bridgeman, Ph.D. and Diane Bridgeman, Ph.D. fund has been established to assist UC Santa Cruz graduate students in cognitive psychology who would not otherwise be able to fully afford the cost of their studies.
It is created by his family, Diane Bridgeman, Ph.D., Natalie Bridgeman Fields, J.D. and Tess Bridgeman, D. Phil., J.D.
To donate click HERE.
Bruce was one special person! He always had that little smile and seemed amused and interested in what I was saying. He and Diane were always one of those special couples who truly loved and respected each other. I always felt part of their family, especially as they kindly let me stay in their apartment on campus at Santa Cruz when they were traveling. They were good friends of my daughter, Elizabeth Stark’s, father. And I would see Bruce at Elwin Marg’s annual conference for years. It was great keeping up with him in that way. It is hard to believe he is not there smiling, but my memory of that smile will last as long as I do! He is dearly missed.
Thinking of Bruce brings many very positive memories to mind. Bruce was a very well-known scholar, and most of the memories concern our very collegial interactions within the department and beyond it at UCSC. But some of the memories center on our interactions off the hill. It was always a pleasure to encounter Bruce dressed up in his tuxedo, singing in the chorale. How lovely to see Bruce and Diane at cultural events.
One particularly vivid memory speaks to Bruce’s commitment not just to our department or to his field but to the environment and future generations. Bruce was an early adopter of the Prius because of its promise for clean energy. When he learned that I was considering what car to purchase next, he and Diane came over in their Prius and offered to take me and my then-partner for a spin. I had been leaning toward the purchase of a Prius (thanks to Bruce) but my partner was more resistant. Bruce explained the advantages of the car, drove us around the block, and then put my partner behind the wheel. She was convinced, and we bought a Prius. Again and again I saw Bruce go out of his way to fulfill his civic obligations. And although he occasionally muttered some dissatisfaction about shouldering a burden that others ignored, nine times out of ten he went about making the world a better place with a smile on his face and a spring in his step.
Bruce’s tragic death has been a shock and a sadness. I do and I will miss him.
I loved seeing Bruce running around with his grandkids at the end of the street and seeing him come back and forth from work on his bicycle.
Bruce and I were graduate students at Stanford in the late 1960’s and early 1970’s. Bruce was always calm, collected, but very enthusiastic about his research ideas. Many of them were “impossible” but somehow Bruce didn’t know that and made them work. I guess that’s why he’s been so successful in his career after graduate school.
My wife Carol and I got together socially with Bruce and Diane as often as busy graduate students could, which wasn’t much. But we really enjoyed one another and shared many interests, including the outdoors. We watched their blooming romance and would like to think we egged them on to get married. We stood up for them at their wedding and have some great photos to look back at to fondly remember those days.
After leaving graduate school, Bruce and I saw each other only a few times but somehow there was a strong connection which I never realized until now that Bruce is gone. In retrospect, he could easily have been the brother I never had.
Bob and Carol Phelps
Before even arriving to UCSC in 2008, I knew Bruce as the father of one of my very best and favorite undergraduates I taught while as a postdoc at Stanford, his daughter Tess. Bruce will remain in our minds and hearts as brilliant and full of energy. What an amazing life he led–what he contributed, how he positively shaped those around him, and the intellectual, professional, and personal legacy he leaves. Some years ago, I asked Bruce to guest lecture for me to talk about the brain, neural processing, and critical thinking. As a master teacher, he engaged the classroom and delivered a lecture that was thought-provoking and stimulating. He will be deeply missed, and my sincere condolences and love go out to his family.
I joined the faculty at UCSC in 1988. Bruce was one of the first faculty to invite me out to lunch during my first weeks. The Psychology Department was located in Kerr Hall at the time, and we went to Kresge College. I recall us discussing politics. A few years later, I started to volunteer as a judge for the Santa Cruz County Science Fair. Over the years, Bruce and I were regular judges covering the Behavioral Sciences Division at the Fair. During one of my earliest years at the Science Fair, I found myself judging Bruce’s and Diane’s daughter, Tess. The other judges and I agreed that her project was outstanding, and I recall Tess was awarded the first-place ribbon! Just as Bruce was committed to promoting science among students at the science fair, he was also a strong supporter of the scientific training of UCSC psychology students. At faculty meetings, Bruce would tirelessly advocate for adding more biology and math course requirements for our majors.
Bruce was one of the most prolific researchers in our department. In recognition of his scientific achievements, Bruce was the first faculty to receive the Martin M. Chemers Award for Outstanding Research in 2007. After he retired 6 years ago, Bruce remained active in his research and teaching. He also continued to bicycle to campus! Over the years, I would be driving up to campus for a morning faculty meeting, and I would see Bruce peddling up Coolidge Drive on his bicycle. My last memory of seeing Bruce is a happy one. This past May, the Psychology Department held a dinner to celebrate emeriti faculty who had retired within the last 15 years. This included Bruce–and I am grateful that we had the opportunity to recognize him then. Two pictures with Bruce from this event appear below.