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MICHAEL FERENCE, JR.

1911–1996

BY JULIUS J. HARWOOD

MICHAEL FERENCE, JR., former presidential science adviser and retired vice-president of research for Ford Motor Company, died in San Antonio, Texas, on July 24, 1996. He was eighty-four years old.

Mike Ference was born in Whiting, lndiana, on November 6, 1911, one of three sons. Following local public school education, he attended the University of Chicago where he earned his bachelor's degree (1933), master's degree (1934), and Ph.D. in experimental physics (1936). His academic record led to his election to Phi Beta Kappa and to Sigma Xi.

He began his career teaching physics at his alma mater, remaining at the University of Chicago for ten years. Starting as an instructor, he rose to the rank of associate professor of physics and meteorology in 1944. His teaching skill was recognized with the award of the $1,000 Prize for Undergraduate Teaching. Among the various research interests he pursued during that period, he concentrated in the fields of spectroscopy, meteorology, and physics of the upper atmosphere. His numerous publications attest to a productive decade of academic research.

His specialization in atmospherics led to his appointment in 1946 with the Signal Corps Engineering Laboratory as chief of the meteorological branch. His research expertise and managerial skills soon led to his position of chief scientist of the Evans Signal Laboratory in 1948, with the responsibility for directing



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