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James H. Parker, Jr.
December 4, 1926 to April 15, 2014
James H. Parker, Jr. Passed Away at 87
June 6, 2014 (PO29). James (Jim) H. Parker, Jr., was born in Bakersfield, California, USA, on December 4, 1926 and passed away on April 15, 2014. He received a B.S. and Ph.D. in Physics at the University of California, Berkeley in 1949 and 1954 respectively. He was a member of staff at the Westinghouse Research Labs (later R&D Center) in Pittsburgh, PA, USA, from 1953 until retirement in 1985. Up to 1970, he carried out experimental and theoretical work over a broad range of physics problems ranging from the motion of electrons in gases, color centers in alkali halides, Raman scattering from metals and semiconductors and nonlinear properties of crystals using optical techniques. In particular, Jim was a pioneer in the use of the recently developed laser for Raman spectroscopy, first with He-neon lasers and later with argon ion lasers. He was the first to use this technique for the study of lattice vibrational modes in semiconductors and metals, including localized vibrational modes in Si-Ge alloys. Because commercial ion lasers were not available at the time (1960s), he became expert in developing technologies of new fabrication techniques for such lasers. In that decade became one of six directors of the R&D center, each responsible for a broader area of research and development.
In 1970, Jim was given special assignment to manage the Cryogenics and Superconductivity Department. This group worked on superconducting materials, theory and experimental work on ac losses of Superconductors and large-scale applications of superconductivity. The emphasis was on the development of ac generators with low-temperature superconducting field winding for military and power systems applications. This was a worldwide pioneering work, cooperative with the Westighouse Electro-Mechanical Division (EMD), which also provided a staff of engineers for the design, development and testing of the electrical machinery This combined effort was crowned with the first successful demonstration of a 60 Hz 5MW alternator for electric utilities and a high-speed, four-pole 5 MV, 400 Hz Generator for the US Air Force.
See RN26 for details on these and other achievements of Jim’s Department, which was then among the world leaders in industrial research into superconductivity, fundamental and applied. four of us (RB, AB, GW and MW) had the privilege to have Jim as our supervisor during good parts of our Westinghouse careers and we remember him most fondly as a kind, insightful, helpful and friendly boss. Two of us (DF and JM) collaborated with him and have equally fond memories.
After retirement from Westinghouse in 1985, Jim continued his engineering work as a private contractor for Westinghouse and several other local companies. Here his work ranged from developing simulation programs for linear motors and rail guns, the electrical design of high speed alternators with high temperature superconducting windings, calculation of Hall current losses for composite Al conductors at 20 K and calculation of the end turn forces in SSC dipole magnets. Such work he continued almost until his death. Jim has authored or co authored about 50 journal and conference papers. He was Fellow of the American Physical Society and Life Member of IEEE.
In his private life, Jim was a music lover. He played bassoon for the Pittsburgh Savoyards and was also a long-standing member of the Pittsburgh Woodwind Quintet. He loved jazz and classical music, physics, electronics, woodworking, and metal working. In 2009 he lost his beloved wife Cathy, and this was for him an especially hard event. They were both staunch supporters of local charities, including, for example, the Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank. They left behind two children, Lynn and David, and two grandchildren.
Richard Blaugher, Alex Braginski, Don Feldman, John Mole, David Parker, George Wagner and Michael Walker.