May 30, 1909–August 20, 1997
BY HAROLD M. AGNEW AND RAEMER E. SCHREIBER
NORRIS E. (EDWIN) BRADBURY died August 20, 1997, at the age of eighty-eight. He succeeded J. Robert Oppenheimer as director of the Los Alamos Laboratory in October 1945 with the understanding that his appointment was an interim one, perhaps only for six months. Instead, he held the position of laboratory director for twenty-five years before retiring. Under his leadership, the laboratory recovered from the postwar doldrums and became internationally renowned for advanced research and development in a variety of fields. Much of the work was aimed at understanding the use of nuclear energy, but important work was also done in related fields, such as computing, biosciences, and space technology.
Norris Bradbury was born May 30, 1909, in Santa Barbara, California, one of four children of Edwin Pearly and Elvira (Clausen) Bradbury. He grew up in southern California and attended Hollywood High School and then Chaffey Union High School in Ontario, California, where he graduated at the age of sixteen. His early interest was chemistry, but while at Pomona College in Claremont, California, he became intrigued with physics. He graduated from Pomona summa cum laude in 1929 with a B.A. in chemistry. His scholarship at Pomona earned him a Phi Beta Kappa key.