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WESLEY L. NYBORG

1917–2011

Elected in 1996

“For the applications of acoustic physical theory to the
safety of medical ultrasound.”

BY HAROLD M. FROST III
SUBMITTED BY THE NAE HOME SECRETARY

WESLEY L. NYBORG, professor emeritus in the Department of Physics at the University of Vermont (UVM), in Burlington, died on September 24, 2011, at the age of 94. Born May 15, 1917, in Ruthven, Iowa, he was the last of six children born to Isaac Nyborg and Leva Larson. In his childhood he lived on a farm before rural electrification was widely available and was taught in a one-room schoolhouse. Early social life included family sing-alongs at the piano. With humble beginnings, he had a rare chance to attend Luther College in Decorah, Iowa, which was founded by Norwegian immigrants. There he earned a B.A. in physics and mathematics in 1941. In 1945 he married Beth, his wife of 44 years until her death in 1989.

As a graduate student during and shortly after World War II, Wes earned an M.S. in 1944 and a Ph.D. in 1947 in physics from the Pennsylvania State University. His physics dissertation was titled “High Frequency Whistles: Edge Tones and Resonance,” with adviser Harold K. Schilling, consummate teacher and researcher and a future dean of the Graduate College at Penn State. He helped Wes form his own style of teaching and research, including striking a balance between the aims of science and religion. Wes’s early research there had an application of ultrasonic signaling for the U.S. Army Signal Corps. Soon, though, he turned to liquids. What resulted



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