University of Texas,
Department of Physics History
Painter Hall Period 1934–1972

Drawing Courtesy of Thomas J. Lightfield
UT Project Management and Construction Services




Painter Hall Collage
Theophilus Shickel Painter (August 22, 1889–October 5, 1969) was an American zoologist known for his work in identifying genes in fruit flies (Drosophilia). He did so by applying the incredible detail that had just been discovered to be visible in the giant polytene chromosomes in the salivary glands of Drosophila and other Dipteran larvae. Painter joined the faculty at the University of Texas in 1916 and, except for military duty during World War I, stayed there his whole career. He was, in succession, associate professor, professor and distinguished professor of zoology. He served as acting president (1944–1946) and president (1946–1952) of the University of Texas and retired from active teaching in 1966. At right we see Theophilus S. Painter, on left, and Regent D. K. Woodward.

In May 1917, Captain T. S. Painter was an Instructor in the School of Military Aeronauticsin Austin The picture of him, at left, is from Kelly Field in the Great World War by Harry David Kroll.





Painter Hall with an inset of President Painter.

1933 Physics and Astronomy Building (later Painter Hall) was constructed with 75,000 sq. ft. It contained a miniature astronomical observatory. The lens for the 9" Refractor Telescope was ground by the John A. Brashear Company before the turn of the 20th century. In the 1930's, the telescope itself was designed and built by the Warner and Swasey Company of Cleveland.

Telescope Dome on Painter, 1934

Painter Telescope, 9 inch Refractor, 1934

1934 Main Building was razed in 1934. The modern-day tower and Main Building were constructed in its place.

New classrooms available in Painter. Below is the large lecture room

Large Lecture Room in Painter Hall


1934 Charles W. Macune earned a BA in physics. Though an outstanding student and a member of Phi Beta Kappa, the Depression prevented him from attending graduate school or finding an industrial position. This did not prevent him from a very successful career as industrial scientist and entrepreneur. More about Charles W. Macune.

1934 Sidon Harris (1908-60) earned a PhD, An X-Ray Analysis of the Piezo-Electric Effect in Quartz.

1934 Mabel Williams (1899-1988) earned an MA, The Photographic Registration of a Variable Quantity. She had a BA from Texas. Following graduation Mabel was hired to teach physics at Tyler Junior College. She later became the head of the Mathematics Department. The Mabel Williams Endowed Chair for Teaching Excellence was created to honor her.




1935 W. W. Robertson entered the University as a freshman to study physics. His formal association with the department will span 66 years. More about W. W. Robertson.

1935 Myril Baird Reed (1906–1987) earns a PhD, The theoretical development and generalization of some alternating current test methods. Later he was Professor of Applied Mathematics at UT. In 1955, Reed, along with Ray W. Wainwright, organized the first of a series of conferences which became IEEE International Midwest Symposium on Circuits and Systems. A best paper award is given annually in his memory.



1935 Lawrence E. Brown (1906–60) earned a PhD. He had received a BS 1927 and a MS 1929. His PhD thesis was titled, Solution of electrical networks by the use of a general network equation. He was born July 2, 1906, in Bastrop, TX. He worked as an engineer at Bell Telephone Labs 1927–28 and served as chair of the Department of Engineering at Schreiner Institute during 1929–30. He was a tutor in Physics at UT between 1932–35. In 1935, he was appointed Associate Professor of Physics and Math at Texas College of Arts and Industry. Dr. Brown was the assistant director of the Military Physics Research Laboratory at the University of Texas, Austin, Texas. His address in 1935 was 802 W. Yoakum St, Kingsville, Texas. This picture is from 1929 when he was in graduate school. Lawrence died from complications associated with the tuberculosis he contracted as a young man.



1936 Physics Show was held on UT campus. An account of the show that appeared in the May 8, 1936, Mexia Weekly shown at right. Graduate students were in charge of the exhibits. These included Eugene Ennis, R. L. Wallace and Alfred H. Kettler. Malcolm Eugene "Sparky" Ennis was born on December 7, 1912, in Eldorado, Schleicher County, Texas. He was valdictorian of his 1930 high school class. He was inducted into Phi Beta Kappa at UT in 1936. He earned a PhD from UT in 1953. The title of his thesis was, Small angle cross sections for the scattering of protons by tritons. He married Mabel Lee Hall. They had three children, son, Malcolm Eugene Jr., daughters, Martha Lee (Wall) and Carol N. During World War II, he served in the Southwest Pacific with an operational group attached to a submarine force. He joined the Los Alamos Scientific Laboratory in 1950. He worked there until his death in 1973. He is buried in Guaje Pines Cemetery in Los Alamos, New Mexico.

1936 J. J. Miller completed his PhD and became assistant professor. John Jaimerson, “J squared,” Miller was born in Cumby, TX, May 26, 1902, to John James and Sadie Bell Hudson Miller. He attended East Texas Normal College in Commerce, Texas. The school was only one building, run by the founder, Dr. William L. Mayo. Texas A&M purchased the school in 1917 and it later became East Texas State Teachers College. Following study there, Miller taught high school Spanish at Sulphur Springs, TX before attending the University of Texas at Austin. He married Grace Jennings in 1928. He became a physics major after taking a course in physics. He earned his BS, MS and PhD (~1936) at UT. His thesis title was, The Crystal Structure of Anhydrous Sodium Chromate. He served as an Instructor and assistant Professor. He left in 1952 to be the chair of the University of Idaho’s Physics Department. He retired in 1967 after which he returned to Texas. He lived in Burnet, Texas until his death in 1995 at the age of 93. (Daughter Juanita Miller Vaughn of Austin provided this information)


1936 H. Wayne (Jones) Rudmose (1915–2006) earns an M.A. with a thesis entitled, A Sound-pressure Meter and Its Applications. Born in Cisco, Texas in 1915, he became a pioneer in the field of acoustics. When he married Christelle Rudmose (ca. 1940), he took his wife's name rather than vice-versa. He received his PhD from Harvard in 1946 and invented the Rudmose automatic audiometer, a device to measure hearing with precision. Throughout his career, he worked to educate people working in loud noise environments in the military and in industry about the need to guard against hearing loss by using protective measures. He became a professor at Southern Methodist University in Dallas, where he taught physics from 1946–1963 and continued original research. During this time he consulted regularly with Douglas Aircraft, designed the sound system for Dallas' Love Field Airport, the San Juan, Puerto Rico, Airport, the SMU Coliseum, and many other public and private buildings. He was the author of numerous academic papers dealing with the study of sound and was active in the Acoustical Society of America. While at SMU, he developed the automatic audiometer and formed a company to produce and market the apparatus. The company was acquired by Tracor, Inc., in 1963. More about H. Wayne Rudmose.


1936- Joseph Perry Harper. (1909-1967), earned a PhD with a thesis entitled, A study of electron diffraction. He was head of the Physics Department at University of Scranton for 31 years. More about Joseph Perry Harper






1936- Louis Fred Connell Jr. (1915-2003), earned an MA with a thesis entitled, A study of electron diffraction. A quote from the Preface, “Although considerable work has been done in the field of electron diffraction in this country and abroad, no research on this subject had hitherto been undertaken at this institution. It was therefore with the intention of building and operating, with some degree of success, an apparatus suitable for extensive study in this field, that this thesis was undertaken.” The work was supervised by Professor M. Y. Colby with much technical help from Professor Arthur Lockenviitz. Connell’s electron diffraction photographs were likely the first made in Texas. Davidson and Germer’s paper first appeared in 1927. Thanks to Manfred Fink for providing Connell’s thesis from Professor Robertson’s books. Connell later taught at North Texas State. More about Louis Fred Connell, Jr.










1937 Allen Anthony Chernosky (1915-2003) earns a BA 1936 and MA 1937, studying under Professor C. P. Boner, thesis titled, Vibration characteristics of the main building tower. From his obituary, “A wonderful husband, loving father, and faithful friend, ALLEN ANTHONY CHERNOSKY, 88, passed away on Wednesday, March 19, 2003 at his home in Houston, Texas. He is survived by his wife of 64 years, Dorothy Louise Newman. He was born in Rosenberg, Texas March 6, 1915. He graduated with honors from the University of Texas, earning a Masters in Physics and Applied Mathematics. Wind Makes Tower Sway, says Chernosky was an article published in the local newspaper that disclosed the results of his master thesis. Allen disproved the current academia misconception that the tower at the University of Texas did not sway in the wind. During World War II, he was on the team at Harvard University that developed sonobouy technology. This technology was developed for the purpose of tracking and eventually destroying enemy submarines and is still in use today by our military. Ultrasound science, used in prenatal medicine is a direct result of this technology. He worked for Humble Oil Company, now Exxon, for 34 years.”


1937 Lloyd Benjamin Cherry (1915-1974) earned a BA ’36 and MA ’37. His thesis was entitled, Characteristics of concentric-tube lines at radio frequencies. Lloyd Benjamin Cherry created and nurtured Lamar College's EE Department when Lamar became a four-year college in 1951. Professor Cherry was born in 1915 in Weatherford, TX and after graduating from Weatherford High School, he attended Weatherford Junior College for one year and then transferred to the University of Texas, where he earned a BA in physics and math with honors in 1937. After earning his MA in physics in 1938, he worked as a test engineer for General Electric in Schenectady, New York. Intending to follow in his father's footsteps, Cherry joined Dallas Power and Lighting. [His father was manager of Dallas Power and Lighting.] He quickly realized that he wanted a teaching career. After working at Ranger Junior College as head of the math department, 1938–40, he spent a year at Edinburgh Junior College. At the outbreak of World War II, the Naval Ordinance Lab asked him to come to Philadelphia, where he spent three years working with Brown Instrument Company. After one year as sssociate professor of physics at Hardin-Simmons University, he came to Lamar in 1946 as head of the physics department. He earned a BSEE and a professional degree (EE) from Oklahoma State University in 1951 and was asked to head the electrical engineering department in Lamar's new School of Engineering. In 1962, Professor Cherry was elevated to the grade of Fellow in the American Institute of Electrical Engineers and in 1965 he received the Western Electric award for excellence in engineering instruction. The Minnie Stevens Piper Foundation selected him as one of the ten best professors in Texas in 1967. He served as acting Dean in 1967-68 and became Dean of Engineering in 1968 and led the College of Engineering with distinction until he died in August, 1974. Cherry was issued more than six patents and in 1958, he helped Douglas Aircraft design a device that reduced acoustic vibrations in jet aircraft to about one percent of the previous level. He was elected to the board of directors of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers in 1969 and in 1971 he was elected national president of Eta Kappa Nu. He was married to Kathryn Ruth Parrott (1919–2012).

1937 Walter Jack Cunningham (1917–2004) earns a BA, 1937, MA 1938, thesis titled, The technique of sound pressure measurements. From his Yale U. In Memoriam, “W. Jack Cunningham, 86, professor emeritus and the former chairman of the Department of Electrical Engineering at Yale University, died at his home in Hamden, Conn., on January 7, 2004, after an illness of several months.

A specialist in the areas of systems theory, nonlinear analysis, computation and acoustics, he taught at Yale from 1946 to 1988. He authored numerous papers and a textbook, Introduction to Nonlinear Analysis, which was used worldwide and translated into several languages. He was particularly devoted to the teaching of engineering and science, and became Yale engineering's institutional memory. Upon retiring, he wrote a history Engineering at Yale - 1932-1982, published in 1992.

Cunningham was born on August 21, 1917, in Comanche, Texas, received his AB and AM degrees from the University of Texas and an M.S. and Ph.D. from Harvard. During World War II he helped train military officers in radar theory. The start of his career coincided with the great changes and advances in electronics and technology of the World War II era--radar, sonar and the atomic bomb. His teaching career encompassed the resulting major change in engineering education from an emphasis on practical construction, measurement and industrial administration to a growing emphasis on research and technical applications of electronics, atomic physics and automatic control.

Professor Cunningham worked primarily on the mathematical analysis of engineering and taught generations of students about ordinary and partial differential, and nonlinear differential equations.

"He preserved the connection between theory and reality which is the essence of engineering," said Peter Schultheiss, emeritus professor of electrical engineering, who began his career at Yale in the same month as Cunningham. "He was famous among students as an outstanding teacher. Even when his lectures dealt with abstract-sounding topics in differential equations he prepared demonstrations illustrating the results."

Cunningham was chairman of the Department of Electrical Engineering from 1961 to 1963, when the School of Engineering was abolished and the departments combined into one Department of Engineering and Applied Science (EAS), in which he became associate chairman. He served on many university boards and committees including the science advisory board, undergraduate admissions committee, graduate school degree committee in the sciences and the health advisory board. He facilitated the later transition of the EAS into separate departments of Chemical, Electrical and Mechanical Engineering.

"He had the longest standing and most intimate knowledge of the speckled history of engineering at this university of anyone I have ever met," said Paul Fleury, dean of the Faculty of Engineering and the Frederick W. Beineke Professor of Engineering and Applied Physics. "His service and deep commitment to Yale Engineering covered more than four decades, during which he was an inspiring teacher, a pioneering researcher and scholar, a true statesman and an effective spokesman for his colleagues and programs here. His History of Yale Engineering epitomized his professional, thorough and understated approach to all things. As a result he was one of the most highly respected and revered members of our faculty in all of its long history. It could truly be said of Jack Cunningham that he was a 'class act'--except that there was nothing of an act about Jack. He was the real thing. He will be long and sorely missed."

Professor Cunningham served and inspired his community as a member of the Connecticut Commission on Higher Education and a judge of Connecticut high school science fairs. He was a member or chair of the editorial boards of the Journal of the Franklin Institute, American Scientist and Sigma Xi publications from 1955 to 1990 and was a member of the Acoustical Society of America, the American Society for Engineering Education and the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers. Later in life, as a volunteer, he gave talks to young people at the Eli Whitney Museum.

His last gift to the Yale community was a self-guided tour of great people of science and engineering in the Grove Street Cemetery. Although illness prevented him from taping them, the scripts he prepared are the guide

He was a trustee of the Church of the Redeemer in New Haven. After moving to Whitney Center in 1993, he served as an officer on the Residents' Council for eight years and as president from 1995 through 1997. His wife of 59 years, Barbara Lynch Cunningham, and sons Lawrence of New Haven and John of New York City survive him.

1938–39 Robert Bradford Newman (1917–1983) earned a BA 1938 and MA 1939 studying under Professor C. P. Boner, who inspired him to develop a life-long love of architectural acoustics. From Boner he acquired a professional skill in tuning organs and a striking effective style of teaching by use of amusing anecdotes to illustrate important points and drive them home. He later studied physics and architecture at MIT. He was invited to become the third partner in with Bolt, Beranek and Newman, later BBN Technologies. The firm was formed to undertake the acoustics consulting on the United Nations Permanent Headquarters. BB&N became a premier acoustical consulting firm, garnering many high profile assignments. Newman was professor at MIT and at Harvard. (by R. H. Bolt & L. L. Beranek in J. Acoust. Soc. Am. 75(6), June 1984.)

Robert Bradford Newman with tie facing camera. Painter Hall


1939 E. O. Lawrence The University and the Physics Department attempt to hire cyclotron inventor, E. O. Lawrence. Lawrence, a professor at University of California at Berkely had just been award the Nobel Prize in Physics.

1939 Donald Davis Phillips Sr. earned a masters. He received his BA in Physics in 1937, an MA in 1939 and a PhD in 1949. Philips is in theforeground of the picture above, with fellow graduate students in Nov. 1938. They are in Physics & Astronomy Building (later Painter Hall), Room 411. (Picture courtesy son Davis Phillips Jr.)

1939 Layman Newsom Miller: (b. 1918) earned a MS in physics with a thesis entitled The measurement of the range of alpha-particles from polonium in various gases. Laymon becomes an award winning acoustician. More about Laymon Newsom Miller.

1939 Ervin Joseph Prouse: (1905–1998) Dr. Prouse joined the Physics Department following completion of his PhD at U. of California at Berkeley. Prouse arrived in Austin in 1939, the same year that the McDonald Observatory was dedicated and formally opened on Mt. Locke at Fort Davis, Texas. The observatory was the result of a cooperative agreement between UTA and the Yerkes Observatory of the University of Chicago. After one of Prouse’s month-long stays at McDonald Observatory, in February 1949, he returned to the Austin campus with his recommendations for improvements at the Observatory. At the time, McDonald Observatory had over 10,000 visitors per year, in spite of its remote location in West Texas. Sir Spencer Jones, Astronomer Royal of Great Britain, had been a guest at McDonald during that month. Yet, on his return to the Austin campus, Professor Prouse lamented in his notes: "It seems that the science of astronomy must be sold to the University of Texas. The administration is definitely not interested in this endeavor. When it was suggested that members of the McDonald Observatory participate in some small measure at seminars at the University, President T. S. Painter replied that such seminars required an audience."

After that experience, Professor Prouse devoted a great effort throughout his career to "selling" astronomy and, later, the space program. More about Ervin Joseph Prouse.

1939 Alvin Cushman Graves (1909–1965) joined the department as an Instructor. He had received his PhD at the University of Chicago. In 1941, he was promoted to Assistant Professor. In 1942, he was invited to the University of Chicago to help build the world’s first atomic pile under the supervision of Enrico Fermi. He laid the first graphite brick at the famous squash court. He was present when Fermi determined that the reaction was self-sustaining. In 1943, Graves was invited to Los Alamos and in 1945, was in charge of J Division. He was present at the nuclear accident that killed Louis Slotin. Slotin, ignoring safety devices, was holding two hemispheres of plutonium with a screwdriver when it slipped. Graves was three feet away and received a whole-body dose of 400 roentgens. Slotin received 2000 and died nine days later. Graves suffered radiation burns and cataracts. He was temporarily sterile but fathered a child five years later. He continued to work and was a mainstay of the Los Alamos community, playing cello in the Los Alamos Symphony, elder of his church, chairman of the board of the local bank and a three-term member of the local school board. He died of a heart attack in 1965, while skiing in Colorado.
He was married to Elizabeth “Diz” Riddle, a University of Chicago PhD physicist. Elizabeth was forbidden to be employed in the physics department because of nepotism rules. Graves insisted that she be allowed to work at Los Alamos as a condition for his going there. She was a group leader at Los Alamos involved with neutron physics associated with bomb development.




1939 Milton Rudolph Hejtmancik (1919–2002). BA Physics and Mathematics. He was born on September 27, 1919, in Caldwell, Texas to Rudolph J. and Millie (Jurcak) Hejtmancik. He graduated from Giddings High School in 1935 and received his BA in physics and mathematics from the University of Texas at Austin in 1939. Following a fellowship in physics at the University of Texas, he received his MD from UTMB at Galveston, in 1943. He completed his internship at the Philadelphia General Hospital in 1944 and a residency in Internal Medicine at UTMB in 1949. He served as a Captain in the United States Medical Corps from 1944–46, with 18 months in the European Theater.

He completed his board certifications through the American Board of Internal Medicine in 1951, and the American Board of Cardiovascular Disease in 1963. At UTMB in Galveston, he served within the Internal Medicine Department as an instructor, 1949-51, assistant professor, 1951-54, associate professor, 1954-65, and professor, 1965-1980. He was a also a professor of internal medicine at Texas A&M University in Temple, Texas from 1980-81, cardiologist at the V.A. Hospital in Temple, Texas, from 1980-81, and cardiologist and medical director at the V.A. Clinic in Beaumont, Texas, from 1981-85. UTMB appointments included Chief of Staff, Assistant Director and Director of the Heart Station. He was a consulting cardiologist for the USPHS and St. Mary's Hospital in Galveston and the Mainland Hospital in LaMarque, Texas.

He published numerous papers and articles in books, and a slide series from research activities conducted in the Heart Station, Heart Clinic, and wards of UTMB Hospitals in the fields of Electrocardiography, Vectorcardiography, Echocardiography, Cardiac Drugs, and Clinical Cardiology. He was a medical advisor for Social Security and the Local Examiner for the American Board of Cardiovascular Disease for several years. At UTMB he served on many committees including Utilization, MSRDP, National Student Research Forum, and Admissions. He served on the Board of Directors of the Galveston Medical Foundation and the Galveston County Health Board. Memberships in scientific societies included the American College of Physicians, American College of Chest Physicians, American College of Cardiology, Council on Clinical Cardiology, and the American Heart Association.

He served various positions in the American Federation for Clinical Research, the American Heart Association, Galveston County Medical Society, American Medical Association, Texas Academy of Internal Medicine, Texas Chapter of the American College of Physicians, Charles T. Stone Society of Internal Medicine, the American Association of University Professors, and the Texas Club of Cardiologists.

He was a member of Phi Eta Sigma, Phi Beta Kappa, Alpha Omega Alpha, Mu Delta medical Fraternity, and Sigma Xi. He has numerous listings in Who's Who (South and Southwest) Science, America, World, as well as Frontier Science and Technology, American Men of Science, American Men of Medicine. He received the prestigious Billings Gold Medal at the AMA Annual Scientific Meeting, New York, 1973, for his pioneering work in Echocardiography and received the Ashbel Smith Distinguished Alumnus Award at UTMB in 1991.

1939 Wheeler, Lisle Lorenzo, (born 8 February 1904–died 12 Sept 1982, Deerfield Beach, FL). His MA thesis was titled, Real and complex roots of polynomial equations. He and S. Leroy Brown published a paper on the harmonic analyzer: A mechanical method for graphical solution of polynomials, the Journal of the Franklin Institute, June, v. 231, 1941, p. 223–243. His PhD thesis in 1942, was entitled, Methods and results of an X-ray study of melt-grown potassium chromate. In 1920, he was living in Okmulgee, OK. His father, Lorenzo, was an oil field contractor and Lisle, age 16, was a printer. His mother, Sadi, was teaching music in homes. Lisle was born in Pennsylvania, his parents in New York. In 1930 Census, there is a Lyle(sp) Wheeler living in Okmulgee, OK near his parents. He is an oil driller. His wife is Verda May Scott (married 1926) and they have a daughter. Their daughter Joan Wheeler Noll, born in 1929 died in 2004 in Sarasota Florida.

1940 Professor Lacoste, returned to Austin after studying crystal structure with Linus Pauling in California. He taught UT’s first physics quantum course. (Professor Lockenvitz thinks this was about 1940.)

1940 Richard Orin Cornett, (1913–2002) earned a PhD with a thesis, Acoustic Spectra of Edge Tones. Born in Driftwood, Oklahoma, Dr. Cornett earned a BS in mathematics from Oklahoma Baptist University in 1934, followed by an MS from the University of Oklahoma in 1937. Dr. Cornett received his Ph.D. in physics and applied mathematics from the University of Texas in 1940. Between 1935 and 1945, Dr. Cornett taught physics, mathematics, and electronics at Oklahoma Baptist University, Penn State University, and Harvard University. On May 26, 1943, he married Lorene Elizabeth Huston in her family home near Westboro, Missouri. While working at the U.S. Office of Education he discovered that many deaf adults fail to achieve literacy at a native-level. In 1965, Dr. Cornett began working as the Vice President of Long-Range Planning at Gallaudet College (now Gallaudet University). To solve this issue of deaf literacy, he devised a phonemic system to render English visually rather than acoustically. Dr. Cornett named his system Cued Speech, which now has been adapted to nearly 60 languages around the world.

“Dr. Cornett’s ingenuity was primary in reducing the Gallaudet football team’s offside penalties. He suggested the offense use a large bass drum at the line of scrimmage. Previously, when the offensive players got to the scrimmage line, each had to count-1,2,3...and so on-and then the ball was hiked. Because getting all the players to count at the same pace was nearly impossible, Gallaudet amassed a lot of offside penalties. When the bass drum was introduced, the drummer would hit the drum with tremendous force until the ball was hiked. Gallaudet’s football players could now feel the vibration from the bass drum, and penalties became rare.’’

1941-Roland Krezdorn Blumberg (1911–97) earned an MA with thesis, A Measurement of the Variation of Gravity with Respect to Time. Dr. Roland Krezdorn Blumberg received a BS degrees in petroleum engineering and mathematics in 1939, and a MA in physics in 1941 from the University of Texas College of Arts and Sciences. He was a successful geologist, physicist, mathematician, banker, businessman, and educator. He helped develop sonar homing torpedoes during W.W.II. and invented the first direct reading seismograph. Dr. Blumberg established successful petroleum and banking businesses in Seguin, where he was raised and lived until his death in 1997. His service to The University includes the College of Natural Sciences Foundation Advisory Council and the Department of Astronomy and McDonald Observatory Board of Visitors.




1941 Richard Newton Lane (1919–1998) earned a masters in physics in 1941. His thesis was entitled, A New Method of Amplitude Measurement. The work was in the area of sonar and likely supervised by Professor C. P. Boner. Richard later worked with Boner at the Harvard Underwater Sound Laboratory during the war. He then moved to RCA and then to the UT Defense Research Laboratory. He and Frank McBee then founded Tracor Inc. which became a very successful defense contractor. More about Richard N. Lane.



1942 First Bachelor of Science in physics offered.

1942 War Research Laboratory established on the Main Campus. Lucien LaCoste was called back to Texas from the MIT Radiation Lab to be director. In 1945, the lab was renamed ”Military Physics Research Laboratory. “ A year later, it was moved to the Balcones Research Center with Professor A. E. Lockenvitz as Director, and Dr. M. Y. Colby, Executive Director. Under Air Force sponsorship, its mission during the 1940’s was to solve certain problems pertaining to airborne gunfire control. Professor Lockenvitz’s technical advice played a critical role in the success of this program.

Professor Paul Boner of the Physics Department took leave from Texas to be Associate Director at the Underwater Sound Lab at Harvard. Professor Lloyd Jeffress was asked to take over his freshman physics courses, rather an unusual teaching assignment for the Chairman of the Psychology Department. (As evidence of just how much things have changed, the other teacher of freshman physics during the war was David Miller of the Philosophy Department.) During that same period, Lloyd began a series of affiliations with on-campus organizations doing research for the military. The first was the War Research Lab where he helped with the development and testing of a new gun sight for the B-29 and B-36 bombers, and from 1945-50 he worked with the Military Physics Research Lab. In 1950, Lloyd became a part-time member of the staff of the Defense Research Laboratory. (Information from Jeffress memorial statement by Dennis McFadden, Robert K. Young and Chester McKinney.)

1942 Wheeler, Lisle Lorenzo earned a Ph. D. Thesis entitled, Methods and results of an X-ray study of melt-grown potassium chromate.

1942 When Professor Kuehne went on modified service in 1942, the department arranged a banquet for him in the library. Faculty and students cooked the entire meal for several hundred people in the labs and hallway. It was to be a surprise for Kuehne. He was told to attend an important meeting; however he insisted he could not come since he was attending a symphony concert in Hogg Auditorium. He was assured the meeting would be over by 8 P.M. Students rigged a loud speaker in the library so Kuehne could hear the concert and remain at the party. After the surprise banquet, there was dancing in the library.

1943 Frederick Albert Matsen joins the Physics and Chemistry Department. He received his BS in chemistry from the University of Wisconsin in 1937 and his PhD in chemistry and physics from Princeton University in 1940. He was an instructor at Bucknell University before coming to Texas. On leave in 1945, he worked at University of Chicago. From 1951-1952, he was at Oxford on a Guggenheim Fellowship and studied under Professor Charles Coulson. Professor Matsen published over 250 scientific articles and was the author of three books. In 1979, he helped form the Institute for Theoretical Chemistry, which is made up of faculty from the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, and the Department of Chemical Engineering. For over 40 years he taught a freshmen chemistry course from the perspective of modern quantum mechanics, called The Vector Space Theory of Matter. He retired in 1997, however he continued doing research and playing tennis until his death in May, 2006. (Some information taken from biographical sketch prepared by Jennifer Morgan.) More about Al Matsen.

1943-S. Leroy Brown and Lisle L. Wheeler published paper in IEEE journal.

1945 Chair, S. Leroy Brown, submits to Dean Parlin a department plan entitled, "Outline of Plan for Development for the Department of Physics During the Next Two Biennia.” See the plan here.

1945 Dr. C. P. Boner, a physics professor, had taken leave from the University of Texas from 1942-1945 to serve Harvard Underwater Sound Laboratory (HUSL) as its associate director. In early 1945, dialog began between Dr. Boner, the Applied Physics Laboratory at Silver Spring, Maryland, and the University of Texas to establish a Naval Ordnance project at UT. In September 1945, Dr. Boner became director of the Defense Research Laboratory (DRL). DRL’s first work was on the Bumble Bee Program, a surface-to-air guided missile project. In 1949, DRL expanded its program to include underwater acoustics. Here, Dr. Boner was assisted by R.N. Lane, Dr. C. W. Horton, Sr., and R. H. Wallace, who also had served at HUSL. They demonstrated that effective research on underwater acoustics could be performed without a nearby ocean. Lake Travis Test Station was constructed in the early 1950s to provide additional test facilities for this inland lab.

1945 Conyers Herring (PhD with Eugene Wigner), joins math department as professor of Applied Mathematics coming from the Division of War Research at Columbia University where he worked during World War II. At Texas he worked on thermionic emission. He left in 1946 to join the technical staff at Bell Laboratories in Murray Hill, N.J. After a very productive career with Bell he joined Stanford University. He won the Wolf Prize for his orthogonalized plane wave method of calculating electron energy levels in metals, insulators and semiconductors.

1946 First Sigma Pi Sigma Chapter, physics honor society, formed at UT. Photograph of charter members which included both faculty and students, can be found at SigmaPiSigmaPhoto.

1946 Robert N. Little comes to the physics department. He is teaching three classes with 250 students per class, a result of returning WWII students. He leaves for a brief period to head up a project at Convair to add a nuclear engine to an aircraft. His most enduring legacy is his very successful program to upgrade the teaching of physics in Central America. Bob died in 1986. More about R. N. Little

1946 Claude W. Horton joins the physics department. During the war he was on the staff of the Harvard Underwater Sound Laboratory as a research associate in theoretical physics. He remained at the Laboratory until it closed at the end of the war in the summer of 1945. During this period he carried out analytical studies on several aspects of underwater acoustics, and was heavily involved in the design of scanning sonars. Dr. C. P. Boner, then associate director of the Harvard Underwater Sound Laboratory, recognized Claude's capabilities and, when Boner returned to the University of Texas to start the Defense Research Laboratories (now the Applied Research Laboratories), he asked Claude to join him. The US Navy assigned the newly-established laboratory the task of developing a radar homing system for the new series of surface-to-air guided missiles. Claude immediately demonstrated his strengths in theoretical analysis by making significant contributions to the theory of electromagnetic horn antennas, dielectric waveguides, and antennas. He wrote his doctoral dissertation on the subject of the theory of radiation from horns and was awarded a PhD in physics by the University Of Texas in 1948. He was promoted to Full Professor in 1953. He served as chair from 1957-62. More about Claude Horton.

1946 Darrell Stephen Hughes (1904–70) joined the physics department. (Portrait by Walter Barnes Studio, Austin). On November 13, 1945, the appointment of Dr. Hughes to Professor of Physics and Consultant in Geophysics was approved. The latter title was in connection with the University Lands Geology Division. He came to Austin and began his duties in the Spring Semester of 1946. He instituted a program of experimental research in the properties of solids at high temperatures and pressures. Measurements were made, not only on metals, but also on rock samples, the composition of which made the results relevant to the interpretation of seismic wave velocities in the earth. He championed quality computation facilities and was instrumental in the selection of the Control Data 6600 computer purchased in 1965. His feisty nature was legendary among students and faculty, leading to many “Hughes” stories. More about Darrell Hughes.





1948 Robert Bruce Johnston (1922–2012) earned a masters, Spectral sensitivity and reproducibility as a function of source excitation. He later earned a PhD in 1966, An analog computer for the operation of division. Following his BA in physics at Texas Tech, he supported the war effort in California by installing electric wires in PT boats. After he finished his master's degree in Physics at UT, he and his wife moved to Washington, D. C., where both worked at Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Lab. He did research for the Navy as a physicist and wife, Peggy, worked as a mathematician. They returned to Austin where Bruce earned his doctorate. Bruce enjoyed a long and successful career as a physics professor at the University of Texas at Austin, Southwest Texas State University, and St. Edward’s University.

1948 David T. Blackstock entered UT. He earned a BS and an MA in physics, after which he served as an Air Force officer, at Wright Field in Ohio, under the supervision of Henning von Gierke. He later joined Ted Hunt's acoustics group at Harvard University, where he developed his interest in nonlinear acoustics. He received a PhD in 1960 with a dissertation written under the supervision of William Raney. David became an international leader in the nonlinear theory of acoustics, publishing many papers and books. He received the Acoustical Society of America Gold Medal Award in 1993, which included the following description: “The two individuals who are most often cited for their work in the 1960s on the fundamental theory of nonlinear acoustics are D. T. Blackstock in the United States and the late R. V. Khokhlov in the (former) Soviet Union. Working independently, Blackstock and Khokhlov established the foundation for modern approaches to the theory of nonlinear acoustics. David's main contribution during this period was the development of a consistent framework for existing models of finite amplitude sound. His framework incorporated the pioneering work by the 19th century physicists Poisson, Stokes, and Earnshaw, the Burger’s equation for acoustics developed by Mendousse, Lighthill, and Khokhlov, and the weak shock theory constructed by Friedrichs, Landau, and Whitham. David investigated the connection between these earlier theories and showed how their solutions could be combined. He referred to his framework as a "low-amplitude nonlinear theory of simple waves," and his articles on the subject are frequently the first to be cited by subsequent authors writing about fundamental problems in nonlinear acoustics. Perhaps the defining achievement of David's approach was his proof that two well-known (and seemingly unrelated) solutions that were derived in the 1930s, one by Fubini for finite amplitude waves in the preshock region and another by Fay for sawtooth shock waves, are limiting cases of a single, more general solution for the propagation of finite amplitude sound.”

1948 Alfred Wilson Nolle joined the faculty as an Assistant Professor, coming from MIT where he had worked in acoustics and condensed matter physics. He had earned an MA under Professor Boner at Texas, in 1939. More about Wilson Nolle.






1950 Paul Dale Jones received a BS in physics. Dale grew up in Greggton, Texas, attended Kilgore Junior College and graduated from UT Austin with a Bachelor of Science degree in Physics. There he met and married his beloved wife of 66 years, Marylu Farnum Jones in 1950. After graduation, Dale went to work for the City of Austin Power Department. A lifelong enthusiast for classical music, Dale started High Fidelity, Inc. to sell stereo equipment. There being no stereo radio stations in Austin at the time, he started KHFI-FM, Austin's first classical music station, to help create a demand for his products. When KHFI changed format, Dale became one of the founders of KMFA-FM, Austin's only non-commercial classical music radio station. He served as the station's first Station Manager, and it has always held a special place in his heart. His career was varied, but he found time to be an avid golfer, hunter, and raised a family. As a lifelong lover of music, he attended numerous concerts presented by local community bands, such as the Austin Symphonic Band and the Austin Brass Band. Paul Dale Jones passed away on August 31, 2021, at the age of 92. He was born on October 10, 1928, in Guthrie, Oklahoma to Paul David and Frances Hixon Jones. After a stop in Ardmore, Oklahoma, the family moved to Texas as soon as they could, settling in Greggton, Texas. He was preceded in death by his parents, wife, brother Robert Claude Jones, and daughter-inlaw, Dr. Lynda Lee Kaid. Dale is survived by his 4 children, David Ketan Jones, Clifford Alan Jones, Jennifer Eileen Blanton and husband, Jack, Eric Douglas Jones, all of Austin, Texas, as well as his sister-in-law Nancy Torrance Jones and assorted nieces and nephews.

1950-65 Following WWII, enrollment increased and temporary frame buildings were hastily constructed during this period. The university built 19 permanent structures between 1950 and 1965.

1950 Chester Meek McKinney earned a PhD under the supervision of Professor Claude W. Horton, Sr. He was Horton’s first Ph.D student. His thesis was titled, Dielectric Waveguides and Radiators. Chester was born 1920 in Cooper, Texas. He had received a BS in physics from East Texas State Teachers College in 1941. Following graduation he taught high school science in Cooper, Texas for one year then entered the U. S. Air Force where he rose to the rank of Captain before his discharge in 1946. He then entered UT as a teaching and research assistant. His research was done at the Defense Research Laboratory(DRL), later to become the Applied Research Laboratories(APL). He was awarded an MA in 1947. In 1948, he married Linda Hooten. Following completion of his doctorate in 1950, he was Associate Professor of Physics at Texas Tech University until 1953, when he returned to DRL as a Research Physicist. His administrative talents were quickly recognized and he was appointed assistant director in 1959, associate director in 1963 and director in 1965, a position he held for 15 years until his partial retirement in 1980. He served as a Liaison Scientist in London during 1983 for the Office of Naval Research. His research interest included underwater sound, sonar, radar, undersea warfare and mine warfare. His many honors include presidency of the Acoustical Society of America, which awarded him a Gold Medal in 2004. In 1985 he received the David Bushnell Award from the American Defense Preparedness Association. A year later he received honorary fellowship in the British Institute of Acoustics. Recognizing his outstanding contributions to APL, the McKinney Wing was dedicated in 200. Those reading this Physics Department history will recognize many faculty names among Chester’s co-authors:, C. W. Horton, R. B. Watson and S. Leroy Brown. As of this writing, (2010), Chester, age 90, continues his association with ARL where he is writing a history of the laboratory. A brief history is included in a talk he gave before the Town and Gown Club of Austin. More about Chester McKinney.
(Chester was very helpful with many aspects of the department’s history and generous with his resources. He died in 2017—Mel Oakes)

1950 Betsy Rawls graduated with a degree in physics. She made Phi Beta Kappa. While Texas did not have organized intercollegiate athletics for women at that time, the physics major went out on her own to play golf. She worked with the legendary Harvey Penick and in 1949, captured the Texas Amateur Championship only four years after picking up a club for the first time. Rawls, who won 55 LPGA titles in her career, also is a member of the LPGA Hall of Fame's inaugural class, the Texas State Golf Hall of Fame and the World Golf Hall of Fame.


1950 Emmett Leroy Hudspeth joined the department coming from the Bartol Research Foundation at Swarthmore College where he was assistant director. During the war years he worked at the MIT Radiation Laboratory with I. I. Rabi and Tom Bonner. Hudspeth was also the founder of the University's Center for Nuclear Physics, and he served as director for many of its formative years. This effort led a government-funded program devoted to research using a high-energy particle accelerator, and made the University of Texas one of the world's premier institutions for pioneering research on the internal structure of the nucleus.

1950 Albert Boggess earned a BS in physics and mathematics. He had a distinguished career in astronomy. He kindly provided comments about his time at UT and his subsequent education and work. “I grew up in Austin, Texas and graduated from the old Austin High School in 1946, in the same graduating class as Lois Mallory and Professor Miller's daughter, Juanita. I entered the University of Texas in the Fall of 1946, declaring my major to be physics (later I decided to do a double major in physics and math), but it was several years before I became significantly involved with the affairs of the physics department. Outside of the classroom I spent most of my time playing music, both on campus and in various clubs and other venues in the Austin area. A spur-of-the-moment enrollment in one of Professor Prouse's courses got me seriously interested in astronomy and by my junior year I had an assistantship taking care of the telescope and astronomical transit on the top floor of Painter Hall and giving some public talks on astronomy. At the same time my roommate, John Wolvin, had an assistantship teaching the lab section of Professor Kuehne's course in photography, which gave him responsibility for a rather well-equipped professional dark room plus the student dark rooms also on the top floor of Painter. All-in-all, for a couple of years John and I regarded the top of Painter Hall as sort of our private fiefdom. As graduation approached in 1950, Professor Prouse suggested that I apply for admission to graduate school at the University of Michigan whose astronomy faculty had just been invigorated by an infusion of talent from Harvard. He also arranged with the staff at Yerkes Observatory (who were still operating McDonald Observatory at that time) for me to spend the coming summer as an assistant at McDonald so that I would arrive at Michigan with a little observing experience.

At Michigan I developed a life-long interest in spectroscopy as well as another interest in my fellow graduate student, Nancy Weber (at right with Albert), whom I married in 1952. (Nancy's primary research interests have been in infra-red astronomy and in the early universe.) In 1954, we moved to Maryland where I had a post-doc at Johns Hopkins' Applied Physics Lab. I spent most of my time there studying granulation in the solar photosphere. That led me to the program in ultraviolet solar spectroscopy being carried out at the Naval Research Laboratory, using sounding rockets, and I started work there in 1955. While there I was able to use the sounding rocket program to obtain some of the first UV observations of stars—an effort that led to revisions in the temperature scale of hot stars and also forced a fundamental change in our models of the composition and structure of interstellar grains. I was still engaged in this work when NASA was formed, and I moved to the Goddard Space Flight Center to help organize and carry out NASA's program in astronomy. I was involved in several astronomical satellite projects—most notably as project scientist for the International Ultraviolet Explorer in the 1970's and 1980's, and then as project scientist for the Hubble Space Telescope from 1982 up to the post-launch repair of the telescope in 1993. My own research interests during most of this period involved ultraviolet spectroscopy of the interstellar medium and abnormal galaxies. At the time of my retirement in 1993, my formal title at Goddard was Associate Director for Research.

Nancy and I then moved to Boulder, and since then we have spent most of our time watching birds - which in many ways is even more challenging than watching stars.” More about Albert Boggess.

1950 S. Leroy Brown, Chairman, submits Enrollment and Teaching Load Report.

1950 Paul M. Erlandson earned a PhD with a thesis entitled, Photoelectronic Voltage Generation. The thesis, directed by Robert B. Watson, examines in detail information storage, a topic that will explode 20 years later. Erlandson has a premier career as an industrial physicist, holding important positions with major industrial firm. More about Paul Erlandson.






1951 August (Gus) F. Wittenborn earned a PhD with a thesis entitled, The Propagation of Shock Waves in Gas Spheres, Other UT degrees were BS 1947, and MA 1949. From his obituary, “ August F. Wittenborn, age 76, a 53- year resident of Austin, passed away Friday, December 10, 1999. Formerly of New Braunfels, August was a B-17 pilot in World War II. He earned a PhD in Physics from the University of Texas in Austin. Before retiring, he was a Group Vice President of Tracor, President and CEO of Tracor Computing Corporation, and Chairman of the Board of National Con-Serv, Inc. He is survived by his wife, Adelheide A. Wittenborn of Austin; daughter, Heidi M. Wittenborn of Jonestown; son, Warren J. Wittenborn and wife, Devran; grandsons, Brian and Alan Wittenborn; granddaughter, Rachel G. Wittenborn, all of Bee Cave; sister, Lu Salge and husband, Raymond; and brother, Henry Druebert, all of New Braunfels. “

1951 John McDowell “Mac” Walsh earned a PhD with a thesis entitled, Wave Mechanics of Hydrogen Systems. Though his thesis was in theoretical physics, Mac went on to become an important leader in the experimental shock wave community. As a group leader at Los Alamos, he directed a team that received the American Physical Society's Topical Group on Shock Compression of Condensed Matter Physics first Shock Compression Award. More...



1951 Brother Romard Barthel (1924-), a graduate of Notre Dame, earned a PhD with a thesis entitled : A Precise Recording Ultrasonic Interferometer and Some Applications. He taught physics at St. Edward’s University from 1947 until his retirement in 2005. Brother Barthel and colleague shown below.


1951 George Wolf Crawford earned a PhD with a dissertation entitled, A Study of the Physical and Optical Properties of Dimets. George had returned from the war where he served as a pilot. He received his BS in 1947 and his MA in 1949. His masters thesis was entitled, A Cloud Chamber for the Study of Neutrons Using Recoil Protons. He later served as chair of the SMU physics department


1952 Walter E. Millett joined the department. Walter had worked at the MIT Radiation Lab under the direction of Professor Ed Purcell (eventual Nobel Laureate) on microwave antennas. The purpose of the work was to improve the resolution of radar systems by shifting from 10 cm to 3 cm and finally to 1.25 cm systems. Aircraft would better accommodate the smaller antennas. Unfortunately, absorption due to atmospheric humidity severely limited the 1.25 systems. After the war, Walter enrolled in graduate school at Harvard University in physics. He received his PhD in 1949 under the supervision of Professor K.T. Bainbridge, known for his mass spectrographs and precise test of the relation E=mc2. Walter’s thesis studied relativistic, charged particle focusing, in crossed electric and magnetic fields. Following graduation, he accepted an Atomic Energy Commission Postdoctoral Fellowship at Cal Tech under Professor W.R. Smythe, widely recognized for his graduate text on electricity and magnetism. These work experiences shaped Walter’s lifelong interest in electricity and magnetism. Leaving California, he returned to the University of Florida as a lecturer (1950) and assistant professor (1951).

At Texas, Walter conducted an active research program in positron annihilation, supported by grants from the National Science Foundation. He was a pioneer in the use of this technique to determine the momentum distributions of electrons in both solids and liquids. It was at least a decade before his competitors were able to match the quality of his data. In 1957, he was promoted to associate professor. In the summer of 1960, Walter did positron annihilation studies at the Niels Bohr Institute in Copenhagen, Denmark. He was promoted to Professor in 1962. He went on modified service in 1982 and was appointed professor emeritus in 1987. He died in 2003, leaving a portion of his estate for undergraduate physics student scholarships. More...




1952 Robert Alonzo Welch dies on December 7, 1952. The 82-year-old bachelor had arrived in Houston from South Carolina in 1886 with only a half dollar, but quickly built his fortune in land, oil and sulphur. Welch had directed that 85 percent of his estate—assets of the foundation, approximately $21 million—be used to encourage chemical research in Texas. Of the original grants, $295,422 went to the Rice Institute, $294,600 to Texas A. & M. and $260,000 to the University of Texas. Rice was awarded nine projects, the University and A. & M. four each. Over the ensueing years, many physics faculty who were involved with atomic and molecular physics research received grants from the Welch Foundation. The grants were much sought after as they were often three year grants providing much needed continuity in the research programs. More information about Welch's interesting life can be found here: Robert A. Welch.


1954 Katherine Anne Banks, dedicated department secretary, died suddenly, age 56. According to Wilson Nolle, she was very helpful with library research. She taught school in Johnson county before coming to work at UT.

1954 Harold P. Hanson joined the department, coming from the University of Florida. Harold was born in 1921 in Virginia, MN to Norwegian parents. He attended Superior State Teachers College. Because of a couple of courses in physics he was recruited by the University of Wisconsin, Madison, to teach in the V-12 Program (program to train officers for WWII service). Despite his limited physics he was permitted to enroll in U. of Wisconsin graduate school. Graduating in 1948, he became an assistant professor at the University of Florida. His research was in atomic and molecular physics. He join UT in 1954, becoming chair in 1962. The department’s operating budget jumped from $396,000 to $1,164,000. In 1969 Harold left Texas to become Dean of the Graduate School at the U. of Florida, Vice-President for Academic Affairs in 1971 and Executive Vice-President from 1974-78.

In 1978, he became Executive Director, Committee on Science, Space, and Technology, U. S. House of Representatives. He also served as Editor of Delos, a journal of translation and international literature. In 1977, the paper by Hanson, H. P., Herman, F., Lea, J. D. & Skillman, S., entitled HFS atomic scattering factors, Acta Crystallographica 17:1040-4, 1963, was listed as a Citation Classic. The SCI® indicates that this paper was cited 1,079 times in the period 1961–1975.

In 2010, Hanson’s translation of the poetry of Norway’s literary giant, Sigrid Undset, winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1928, was published. The year 2010 marked the 100th anniversary of the publication of her single book of poetry, Ungdom = Youth). Hanson’s translation was the first-ever in English. The Writer’s Center in Bethesda, Md. and the Royal Norwegian Embassy in Washington co-sponsored a celebration of this significant event on the evening of April 21, 2010. Hanson, son of Norwegian immigrants, was the person primarily responsible for the translations of the poems. He was assisted in the preparation of the book by two collaborators, Undset’s niece Charlotte Blindheim and Evabeth Astrup, professor at the Museum of Cultural History at the University of Oslo. Hanson and his son, Steven, were speakers at the Bethesda celebration. Hanson and his wife, Mary Jean, established the Harold and Mary Jean Hanson Rare Book Fund in 2003 at the University of Florida. The rare book collection is named after them. More about Harold Hanson.

1954 Henry Neal Clarkson received his PhD in 1954. His dissertation was entitled, Accurate determination of the tidal variations of gravity. It was probably supervised by Professor Arthur Lockenwitz and/or Arnold Romberg. Neal worked during WWII for the Naval Ordnance Laboratory developing mine detection devices. He was also present at the first atom bomb test at the Bikini Atoll. More about Henry Clarkson.

1954 First APS Meeting at UT. The February 26-27 meeting of the American Physical Society was the first in Austin and third in Texas. This meeting evolves into what became known as the annual "Southwest" meeting. Southwest was defined as extending north to St. Louis, south to Mexico City, east to the Mississippi River and "indefinite meridian west of the state of Texas, but not infringing on the Coast." UT Professor Emmett L. Hudspeth served as chairman of the Local Committee. The Driskill Hotel was the official hotel. Rates began at $4 for a single and $7 for a double with twin beds. Sixty-two contributed papers were distributed over seven sessions. UT Professor Darrell S. Hughes gave an invited paper, "Thermodynamic Properties of Solids Deduced from High-Pressure Measurements." UT physicists contributed 17 papers.

1955 John W. Clark, of Lockhart, TX, earned a BS and later in 1957, an MA He completed his PhD at Washington University. He was an NSF Postdoctoral Fellow with Eugene Wigner, a NATO Fellow with Rudolf Pierles and Claude Bloch and is the Wayman Crow Professor of Physics at Washington U. He was awarded the Eugene Feenberg Medal for Many-Body Physics, 1987. Department stories by John Clark...





1955 Bobby Lee Crutchfield, (1926-2008), an Instructor, appears for first time in faculty pictures. Many students who took Crutchfield’s general physics course remember favorably his dedication to his students. Bobby was born September 12, 1926. In Kenneth Baxter Ragsdale’s book on Austin Aviation he writes, “ During the 1960s Crutchfield reorganized the Longhorn Flying Club, Inc., which had no relationship with UT. According to a former club member, Crutchfield had ‘grandiose ideas’ and grandiose they were; the organization literally mushroomed. By 1967, Cruchfield was operating ‘what without question is the largest flying operation in the world,’ wrote Austin journalist Dave Shanks. He supervises purchase of more airplane units than any person in general aviation. Sadly over expansion and member negligence led to bankruptcy in the early 1970s.” In 1985, Crutchfield ran Live Oak Galleries in Lafayette, LA, where he was instrumental in the discovery of William Tolliver, who's work has now become internationally recognized" (quote from Galerie Royale’s website).  He also was the first director of Galerie Royale (1988-1997) in New Orleans. He contributed to the formation of many private and corporate collections during his nine year tenure with Galerie Royale. Bobby died March 26, 2008 in New Orleans.

1955 Walter Joseph Rhein, SJ, Rice University graduate, received his PhD; his dissertation was entitled, Angular Distribution of Fast Neutrons Scattered from Lead. He became professor at Spring Hill College in Mobile, AL. More about Walter Rhein.





1956 Assistant Professor James C. Thompson, a recent graduate of Rice University, was hired through the efforts of Emmett Hudspeth, though Colby was chair. Jim was expected to initiate experimental research in superconductivity. His “financial package” included: salary $4500, local merchant shopping fund $300, and quarter time from Emmett Hudspeth’s ONR grant $1125. More about Jim Thompson..


1956 Herman Porter Deinken, MA 1952, earned a PhD in experimental acoustics under the supervision of Professor Robert Watson. The dissertation was entitled, The Effect of Humidity on the Absorption of Sound in Air. Deinken was a returning veteran from WWII. He remained in the reserve, rising to the rank of colonel. He conducted defense related research at Los Alamos. More about Herman Deinken.

1956 Assistant Professor Charles W. Scherr, an atomic theorist, was appointed to faculty. William W. Clendenin, assistant professor, was granted a leave of absence without salary for the Long Session in order that he may work in industry learning the design of nuclear reactors. More about Charles Scherr.

1957 In 1957, an L-shaped annex was added to the Physics and Astronomy Building (later Painter Hall.) It contained an additional 31,000 sq. ft. of floorspace. Professor Robert B. Watson oversees the acoustical design. He published The Acoustical Features of the Addition to the Physics Building at the University of Texas, J. Acoustical Soc. Am., Volume 32, Issue 8, pp. 1034-1037 (1960).

The thousands of students who sat for lectures in these classrooms, no doubt, under-appreciated the work that went into their design. The abstract below will clarify some of the detail (highlighted) they may have observed and remember.

“Detailed description is given of the acoustic designs used in the addition to the Physics Building at the University of Texas. Sound absorption is included in the lecture rooms in the form of an acoustic blanket behind a pierced glazed brick wall to give a broadly resonant absorption with maximum coefficient at 500 cps of 0.60, reducing to 0.40 at 125 cps and to 0.25 at 4000 cps, and in the form of a slit absorber having a resonance at about 400 cps with coefficient of 0.55, reducing to 0.45 at 125 cps and 0.33 at 4000 cps. Sound diffusion and projection in these lecture rooms is secured by sound reflectors over the speaker's position, nonparallel side walls, and light fixture coves in the ceiling. Sound absorption in some of the laboratories is provided by use of functional absorbers each using an acoustic blanket free on one side and confined by a perforated hardboard on the other. Measurements on two such rooms show a resonant absorption is obtained with peak frequency at 500 cps, and with apparent absorption coefficient near unity at the peak, dropping to 0.70 at 125 cps and to 0.50 at 4000 cps.”

1957 Alfred Schild joined mathematics department. In 1963 he becams Ashbel Smith Professor of Physics. Alfred 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 co-founded 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. 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 co-authored 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. More about Alfred Schild.

1958 Bernhard B. Kinsey joined the faculty and became Director of the new Center for Nuclear Studies. The Center was created to exploit the new Tandem Van De Graaff Accelerator.

1959 John William Nelson, MA 1952, earned a PhD in experimental nuclear physics. He was professor of physics at Florida State University for 34 years. He was the co-inventor of the Streaker Sampler, which was used world-wide to measure air quality. Streaker aerosol samplers allow an hourly time resolution in the particulate elemental concentrations and are a useful tool for studying air pollution in complex urban areas. A native of St. Louis, MO, he died in 2001 at the age of 74.




1959 Malcolm Young Colby retired after 34 years. His service to the university, state and nation is noted in the February 18, 1959 Congressional Record.


"Whereas the people of the State of Texas wish to acknowledge the debt they owe Dr. Malcolm Y. Colby, distinguished member of the faculty of the University of Texas, who has retired after 34 years of devoted service: and

"Whereby Dr. Colby served as chairman of the department of physics for many years: and

"Whereas in addition to his devoted service to the university, he was executive director of the War Research Laboratory during World War II which pursued research vital to the war effort and also served as counselor for the Oak Ridge Institute of Studies from 1953 to 1957; and

"Whereas Dr. Colby has been a source of inspiration to the many thousands of students who have come under his tutelage and they in turn have been greatly enriched by that association; and

"Whereas the State has derived immeasurable benefits from the many years of dedicated service of these devoted educator, and

"Whereas it is the desire of the Senate of 56th Legislature of the State of Texas to acknowledge the contribution to education of this outstanding man; Now, therefore be it

"Resolved, That when the senate adjourns today, it do so in his honor; and that a page in the permanent senate journal be devoted to the recording of this resolution; and be it further

"Resolved, That an enrolled copy of this resolution be sent to Dr. Colby as a token of deep appreciation for the services he has rendered.

"Ben Ramsey
"President of the Senate"

I hereby certify that the above resolution was adopted by the senate on February 4, 1959

Charles Schnabel,
Secretary of the Senate.

1960 UT Science Research Institute Announced. University of Texas regents authorized planning for a $15,000,000 Science Research Institute designed to give the state a front-running position in research in the natural sciences. Included was the Tandem Van de Graaff accelerator.


1960 Robert L. Park earns a master following his BS in 1958. Park would receive a PhD at Brown University. He later became a celebrated writer on science and politcs. His column, "What's New." a weekly one-page summary of policy news was read by many in science and government.


1960 New Physics Annex to the Physics Building completed at a cost of $1,024,000. The 44,000 sq. ft. of space added more than 50 per of the 80,000 sq. ft. in the current building. The annex contains two 180 seat, accoutically treated lecture rooms. The fourth and fifth floor of the original building is being renovated for astronomy. (Not sure that ever happened.—Mel Oakes)

1961 Plasma physicist Hans Schlüter joined the department. Professor Schlüter studied physics in Göttingen, Mainz and Munich. His doctorate was under the supervision of Werner Heisenberg. Using plasmas generated in the tank circuit of RF oscillators he proved experimental evidence for the existence of the lower hybrid resonance. These plasmas also provided a source for important Stark broadening measurements. In 1968, he was appointed to the Chair for Experimental Physics II, at the new Ruhr-University Bochum. He was longtime chair of the Scientific Advisory Board of the Max-Planck Institute for Plasma Research in Garching. He retired in 1995. In 2008, he was awarded an honorary doctorate and medal by St. Kliment Ohridski University of Sofia for his contributions to plasma physics (see picture). He died later that year. More about Hans Schlüter.





1962 Roy Kerr, a New Zealander, joined the newly created Center for Relativity founded by Alfred Schild.

1963 David Cowan, a graduate student of Harold Hanson and later a faculty member at Gettysburg College, reports on the Department Colloquia, “Some of my most enjoyable experiences as a graduate student were the lectures at the Thursday Colloquium Series at 4 PM. There, I could sit back and listen to a much broader range of physics than my own research and also know I wasn’t going to have to take a test on the subject. My favorite colloquium by far was one delivered by Sir Ernest Marsden. He and Hans Geiger performed the famous gold foil experiment in 1909, under the guidance of Rutherford. Marsden must have been in his late eighties and was traveling around the world telling his story before it became lost. One of his remarks made, in his delightful English accent, was, ‘ I was counting the alpha particles scattered on to the screen from the gold foil, when some of the bloody things came back at me.’ He also told of Rutherford pinching his ear whenever he made a mistake.” (Sir Ernest Marsden had been invited by the UT Zoology Department in hopes that he would help them get blood samples from the native of the South Pacific island of Niue, a New Zealand protextorate in the Cook Islands. The soil there was among the most highly radioactive in the world. They wish to determine if radiation from bomb testing had produced genetic changes. Marsden was instrumental in getting permisssion for two zoology to visit the islands. While in Austin he gave the lectured referred to by Dave Cowan.


1963 In 1963, Roy Kerr, found a set of solutions of the equations of general relativity that described rotating black holes. These "Kerr" black holes rotate at a constant rate, their size and shape depending only on their mass and rate of rotation. If the rotation is zero, the black hole is perfectly round and the solution is identical to the Schwarzschild solution. In 1965, with Alfred Schild, he introduced the concept of Kerr-Schild spacetimes. During his time in Texas, Kerr supervised four PhD students. In 1971, Kerr returned to the University of Canterbury in New Zealand, where he remained until his retirement in 1993.



1964 William Leslie Spearman Jr. receives a B. S. in physics. He is the first African-American student to receive a physics degree from the University of Texas at Austin. He later became a computer anaylst for the Martin Marietta Company. William Leslie Spearman, Jr. was born April 30, 1942 in Washington, DC. He passes away April 24, 2024.




1965–1966 Chair Harold Hanson spent a summer in San Diego and met William E. Drummond (at right) who was working at General Atomic on fusion. The research was funded by a consortium of Texas power companies. They persuaded the consortium to switch the funding to the University. The Texas Atomic Energy Research Foundation gave a grant of $700,000 to the University for fusion research. The Center for Plasma Physics and Thermonuclear Research was established with Professor Drummond as Director.



1965 C. Fred Moore, a nuclear experimentalist, joined the department as assistant professor, coming from FSU, where he received his PhD. His early research work involved the discovery of isobaric analog states in heavy nuclei. This work was cited by the National Academy of Sciences in Physics in Perspective as one of the most important nuclear physics discoveries of the decade. The year he came to Texas, he was made a fellow of the American Physical Society. In 1968, he spent a year at the Max Planck Institute for Nuclear Physics in Heidelberg. Over the next ten years, the Center for Nuclear Studies at Texas flourished. Most of the early research at the Center for Nuclear Studies was based on isobaric analog states. In 1970, he pioneered the study of x-ray and Auger electron transitions from highly ionized atoms. These experiments were followed up in laboratories all over the world. In 1974, he began a study of pion-nucleus interactions based on experiments carried out at Los Alamos National Laboratory. Several of the pion charge exchange reactions involved double isobaric analog states and double giant resonances (at excitation energies over 30 MeV). In 1988, Gerald Hoffmann and he became involved with the development of the STAR program at Brookhaven National Laboratory. In 1991, he initiated a computerized homework and testing program. This was one of the earlier implementation of computer use to augment classroom teaching. Other universities, such as Michigan State, North Carolina State, Massachusetts, Illinois, etc., later developed similar capabilities. The Homework Service program, now called Quest, is used throughout the world and processes a million responses to homework problems per week. Since then computerized teaching and testing has become a world-wide industry.

1966 The National Science Foundation announces a Center for Excellence grant to the University of Texas in the amount of $5,000,000. The motivation is to establish the university as a national center of excellence in the field of science. Dr. Leland J. Hayworth, NSF director said, " This support is granted to an institution judged to have a substantial potential for elevating the quality of its scientific activities and maintaining this new high level of excellence." Vice-Chancellor Norman Hackerman said the funds, spread over three years, will be allocated: $1.3 million for new faculty, $1 million for interns and expansion of the doctoral degree program, $850,000 for research and faculty development and $1.6 million for equipment. Eleven university departments will share the grant. Areas in physics to receive funds are relativity, astrophysics and plasma science.

1967 Ilya Prigogine joined the faculty as a professor of physics and chemical engineering; the same year, he founded the Center for Studies in Statistical Mechanics and Thermodynamics (renamed in 1977, the Ilya Prigogine Center for Studies in Statistical Mechanics and Complex Systems, now called The Center for Complex Quantum Systems). In 1977, he was appointed Regental Professor and Ashbel Smith Professor of Physics and Chemical Engineering. From 1967, he divided his time between Brussels and Austin. More...



1967 Len Kleinman, theoretical condensed matter physicist, joined the department, coming from University of Southern California. He was the second theorist in this research area. Kleinman had attracted attention in the condensed matter community for his PhD work at Berkeley with Jim Phillips on pseudopotentials. His thesis supervisor was Charles Kittel. Upon graduation he was offered a postdoc with Morrel Cohen at University of Chicago.


1968 Harold Hanson, Chair, submitted a memo to the administration outlining his vision for the physics department. Many consider this a document that was critical in initiating the exponential department growth that occurred in the next few years. Read the document here ...More

1968 Taro Tamura joined the department. Tamura, a widely recognized nuclear theorist, was recruited to provided theoretical support for the Center for Nuclear Studies. He later was appointed Director of the Center. . More about Taro Tamura.

1968 Ira Lon Morgan was appointed professor of physics and director of Center for Nuclear Studies. He directed the center until 1976. The center was well funded for its time and supported the research of 63 faculty, staff and graduate students. The laboratory had a 4 MeV and a 6 MeV single ended Van de Graaff injecting into a 12 MeV tandem, in principle producing 18 MeV. With the coupled system it was possible to accelerate multiple charged ions to higher energies. Lon died in 2005.


1968 Yuval Neeman joined UT to be Director of the Center for Particle Theory. He commuted between Austin and Tel Aviv University in Israel, where he was chair of the physics department and a member of the board of regents. He was also a member of Israel’s Atomic Energy Commission, its Academy of Sciences and the Army General Staff. While a graduate student he won international fame for his theory for classifying elementary particles. More about Yuval Neeman.

1968 Lew Kowarski was a a visiting professor, teaching in the Physics Department and the Comparative Studies Program. In 1940, Dr. Kowarski escaped from France, just ahead of the Nazis, with the world’s major supply of heavy water for development of the atomic bomb. A native of Russia, later a naturalized citizen of France, he was associated with CERN.

1969 E. C. G. “George” Sudarshan joined the department. His previous position was Professor and Director for Program in Elementary Particle Physics at Syracuse University. While a graduate student at the University of Rochester, he developed, with Robert Marshak, the V-A theory of the Weak Force. Other important works include the development of a Quantum Theory of Quantum Coherence and the prediction of the existence of Tachyons. In 1970 he became director of the Center for Particle Theory. More about George Sudarshan.


1969- Article on physics department appears in national magazine, Scientific Research.

1969 Alan Alfred Ware joined the Fusion Center as a senior scientist. Alan was a pioneer in the field of fusion energy. He was born in Portsmouth, England in 1924 and served in the British Royal Navy at the end of World War II. He was a pioneer in the field of fusion energy. In 1951, he received his PhD from Imperial College, London, England. He became the leader of the Thermonuclear Section for Associated Electrical Industries in Aldermaston, England. He worked at Texas for over thirty years. More about Alan Ware.

1969 Nobel Laureate Eugene P. Wigner gave a series of lectures in department. He is shown at right with Dr. Istvan Hargittai, a Hungarian, visiting research associate in Harold Hanson’s group (Hanson had left for a U. of Florida position by this time). Hargittai became a professor at the Budapest Technical University. He writes of his interaction with Wigner during the Austin visit, “I left a note with his host. Wigner must have received my note because he came to see me in my office every morning during his stay in Austin and spent an hour with me from 8 a.m. to 9 a.m., when his official program started. Thus he spent some of his ‘private’ time with me with no loss to his hosts. When he first came to see me having read my note, I might have ascribed his call as a courtesy. But his subsequent visits, I took as a genuine expression of interest and magnanimity at the same time. Of course, I also experienced his politeness, but to a lesser degree than others might have.” Hargittai details Wigner, his “politeness” and their interaction in a book, parts of it are available here...




Administrative Supervisor Janee Trybyszewski drove him around on weekends and found him to be very polite and kind. He gave her a series of pictures taken of him by R. P. Matthews of Princeton.

1970 College of Natural Science created. Professor W. W. Robertson of Physics played a leadership role in the movement to separate from the College of Arts and Sciences. President Norman Hackerman decision was influenced by the written documents prepared by Prof. Robertson.

1970 Jeffrey Leo Kodosky moved to Austin in 1970 to attend graduate school in physics at the University of Texas at Austin, studying theoretical particle physics. He had received his bachelor’s degree in physics from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. In Austin he worked at the Acoustical Measurements Division at ARL. In May of 1976, he founded National Instruments with UT graduate students Jim Truchard and Bill Nowlin. Jeff's research culminated in the invention of LabVIEW, which became the company's flagship product. Today National Instruments is a multinational company with offices in 25 countries, more than 1700 employees, and a billion dollar market capitalization. He is a member of The College of Natural Sciences Foundation Advisory Council. Jeff and his wife Gail have given generously of their time and resources to the University, especially the physics department, Texas Memorial Museum and the UTeach teacher preparation program. Among his honors are the UT College of Natural Sciences Hall of Honor Award (1999); induction into the Electronic Design Engineering Hall of Fame (2002); the Albert Fox Demers Medal from the RPI Alumni Association (2004); and the Woodrow Wilson Award for Corporate Citizenship from the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars (2011).

1970 In 1966, the American Council on Education released a study of graduate programs conducted by Allan Cartter. The study used faculty and administrators across the country to rate departments as to "Effectiveness" and "Quality of Graduate Faculty." The report, referred to as "The Cartter Report" resulted in a significant re-examination of the graduate programs at the University of Texas. The graduate dean held meetings and sought proposals from departments as to how each could improve its program. The UT Physics Department was ranked as "Adequate Plus". Other possible categories were "Distinguished", "Strong", and "Good." While the department was disappointed in its ranking, it pointed out that major additions to its faculty and research programs had taken place since the study was begun in 1964 and thus it would rank higher today. At the least, the department made the list of those receiving a ranking. The publicity associated with the study gave Chairs and Deans ammunition to seek funds for further improvements. In 1970, another study, known as the "Roose-Anderson Report" was released. This was a replication of the Cartter study. The new study ranked UT Physics as tied for 27th in the nation. The University as a whole ranked number one in improvement over the 1966 study.


1970 During the 1970s many disciplines began to broaden their interest to become more quantitative and exploit the powere of modern computers. An example of this was the career of Francisco Arumi-Noe. He received his PhD in 1970. His plasma physics dissertation was entitled, "Thermal Corrections to the Theory of the Ion-electron Lower Hybrid Resonanc." Following his graduation, his supervisor, Mel Oakes, in a conversation with Professor of Architecture Richard Swallow, learned of their search for a faculty member skilled with computers who might help them establish an expertise in architecture and energy conservation. Oakes recommended Arumi who went on to become a Professor of Architecture and a recognized authority on energy balance in buildings. He developed the DEROB (Dynamic Energy Response of Buildings) computer software for the dynamic simulation of passive solar heating and cooling. DEROB became the national standard for determining building energy performance by the U.S. Department of Energy after it was tested and calibrated under the sponsorship of the Los Alamos Scientific Laboratories. Sadly he passed away in 2005.

1971 Texas Turbulent Tokamak experiments were begun. First fusion related experiment in Texas.

1972 Department moved to new Physics Math Astronomy Building.


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