David L. Hill

Family tree of David L. Hill

Physicist

AmericanBorn David Lawrence Hill

American nuclear physicist

Born on November 11, 1919 in Booneville, Mississippi , United States

Died on December 14, 2008 in Brighton, New York , United States

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David Lawrence Hill (November 11, 1919 – December 14, 2008) was an American nuclear physicist who worked on the Manhattan Project in World War II and was head of the Federation of American Scientists. He is best known for his 1959 testimony against the nomination of Lewis Strauss as United States Secretary of Commerce.


...   David Lawrence Hill (November 11, 1919 – December 14, 2008) was an American nuclear physicist who worked on the Manhattan Project in World War II and was head of the Federation of American Scientists. He is best known for his 1959 testimony against the nomination of Lewis Strauss as United States Secretary of Commerce.


Early life
Hill was born in Booneville, Mississippi.


World War II
After graduating from the California Institute of Technology in 1942, he joined Enrico Fermi's team at the Metallurgical Laboratory in Chicago, where he remained for the duration of the war. He was one of the team of scientists who built the Chicago Pile, the world's first artificial nuclear reactor. In 1945 he was one of 70 scientists to sign the Szilárd petition asking President Truman to warn the Japanese before the usage of the atomic bomb.


Post-war career
After the war, he received his Ph.D. in nuclear physics from Princeton University in 1951. His doctoral advisor was John Archibald Wheeler. He was an assistant professor at Vanderbilt University and then from 1954 to 1958 worked as a theoretical physicist at the Los Alamos National Laboratory.In 1953, Hill, now a chairman of the Federation of American Scientists, criticized a speech by Lewis Strauss that defended his opposition to the shipping of radioisotopes to Norway in 1949. In 1959, he testified before the Commerce Committee of the United States Senate to oppose President Eisenhower's nomination of Lewis Strauss as Secretary of Commerce, saying that "most of the scientists in this country would prefer to see Mr. Strauss completely out of the Government". Hill accused Strauss of a lack of integrity, an obsessive quest for personal approval, persistent arrogance, and personal vindictiveness. Among issues cited were Strauss's aforementioned opposition to the shipping of radioisotopes in 1949 and his role in the security hearing that removed Robert Oppenheimer's security clearance. The Senate voted against Strauss's nomination.


Later years
Hill spent the later part of his career working in the private sector, founding research and development companies including Nanosecond Systems Inc., a manufacturer of high-precision measuring equipment, and serving as president of Harbor Research Corp., a patent enforcement and investment company.


Personal life
Hill married Mary Shadow on December 31, 1950, with whom he had seven children. He died on December 14, 2008, at the age of 89 in Brighton, New York. He had a private funeral.


In media
Hill was portrayed by Rami Malek in the 2023 Christopher Nolan film Oppenheimer.


References


Works cited
Cornwell, Ilene (1989). Biographical Directory of the Tennessee General Assembly Volume IV: 1931-1951. Tennessee Historical Commission. ISBN 0874020085.



Biography from Wikipedia (see original) under licence CC BY-SA 3.0

 

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