Walker Bleakney

February 8, 1901–January 15, 1992

BY GEORGE T. REYNOLDS

WALKER BLEAKNEY, THROUGHOUT a career devoted to experimental physics, has left a legacy of respect and appreciation among his many students and colleagues. He possessed a remarkable combination of intuition and laboratory technique that resulted in significant contributions in several diverse fields. Along with these professional attributes, he had a sensitivity for his students and associates that earned him, respect as a humanist as well as a scientist. These qualities also made him a successful administrator in the Princeton University physics department during a period of transition in the scale of research and teaching activities, as well as the construction of a new physics building.

Bleakney was born in a farmhouse in Armstrong County, Pennsylvania, a few miles from the tiny village of Elderton. His parents were farmers who had left school at the fifth grade, believing that the basic abilities to read, write, and do sums were all the education necessary for their chosen life. When Bleakney was six years old, the parents and their six children moved to a farm near Milton, Oregon, and then to another near Echo, Oregon. These moves were significant in Bleakney's education, since they resulted in his spending three years in the second grade, a situation



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