Elected in 1965
“Pioneer in development of atomic power.”
BY CHRIS WHIPPLE
CHAUNCEY STARR, a physicist and nuclear energy expert, died on April 17, 2007, three days after his 95th birthday and a day after a celebration in his honor at the Electric Power Research Institute, where he was president emeritus. At the time of his death, he still went to his office at EPRI five days a week.
Chauncey Starr was born on April 14, 1912, in Newark, New Jersey. He attended the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, receiving an electrical engineering degree in 1932 and a Ph.D. in physics in 1935. He became a research fellow in physics at Harvard University, working with Nobelist P. W. Bridgman in the field of high pressures; then he worked as a research associate in cryogenics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. His work involved characterization of the magnetic properties of metals at very low temperatures and included a 1941 publication on the design of hydrogen liquefiers.
During World War II, Chauncey worked with E. O. Lawrence on the Manhattan project at the Berkeley Radiation Laboratory. He was sent by Lawrence to Oak Ridge, where he was the first operations manager of Building 9731, the first building to operate at the Y-12 plant and the first to have operating calutrons—large electromagnetic devices used to enrich uranium.