W. James Carr Jr. Passed Away at 92
November 23, 2010 (HE52). On November 16th, 2010, Walter James (“Jim”) Carr, Jr., author of the first useful monograph on ac losses in supercondicting composite conductors1 and of many important contributions to the field of magnetism and applied superconductivity, passed away at 92 at home in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA.
Jim was born on May 6, 1918 in Knob Noster, Missouri. He initially intended to be a journalist, but instead enrolled at the Missouri School of Mines in Rolla (now University of Missouri at Rolla), because of a full-tuition scholarship; in 1940 he graduated there with a BS in engineering. He then entered Stanford University, CA, studied with Frederic Terman and graduated with MSEE in 1942. Upon graduation he was recruited by the Westinghouse Research Laboratories (later R&D Center) in Pittsburgh to join the wartime effort and was involved in defense projects. After the war, Westinghouse sponsored his graduate studies at Carnegie Tech (Now Carnegie-Mellon University) in Pittsburgh, PA. He wanted to study physics to know the "why" behind the engineering. When told he was too valuable to lose from the lab while getting a PhD, he went over his boss's head and was approved for graduate study with the endorsement that this was exactly the reason why he should have been approved and supported. He graduated with a PhD in physics in 1951 under Frederick Seitz.
Jim spent all his active career of 43 years at Westinghouse and attained the highest non managerial rank of Consulting Scientist, a rare distinction in that organization. In 1987 Jim was elevated to the grade of IEEE Fellow for his contributions to theories of magnetism, and for development of the theory of alternating current losses in composite superconductors. He also became Fellow of the American Physical Society. A seminar at the Department of Physics, University of Maryland, features annually a W. James Carr, Jr. memorial lecture.
This Editor first read an important paper on magnetic anisotropy authored by Jim back in 1950s; it strongly influenced my own work at the very beginning of my professional career. I was thus truly awed when meeting him in person and having the privilege of working on his side some twenty plus years later. Those of us who knew Jim well admired equally his sharp mind, impeccably logical reasoning and his most courteous gentle manners. He was a true gentleman. Even after his retirement he remained quite active professionally; his last paper was published only 3 years ago. Until very recently he could be often encountered at various professional conferences. His departure is a big loss; we’ll miss him…
Alex I. Braginski
1W. J. Carr, Jr. AC-loss and Macroscopic Theory of Superconductors, Gordon and Breach, 1983 (second edition in 2001).