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National Museum of Nuclear Science & History

Henry W. Newson (1909-1978) was an American nuclear physicist.

After earning his Ph.D. from the University of Chicago in 1934, Newson received a fellowship to the Radiation Laboratory at the University of California, Berkeley and worked with Ernest O. Lawrence to construct the Laboratory’s cyclotron. An instructor in chemistry and physics at the University of Chicago when World War II broke out, Newson joined the Manhattan Project as a researcher at the University of Chicago Met Lab.

In 1943, Newson was assigned to Oak Ridge, where he assisted in the first loading of the X-10 Graphite Reactor. The following year, Newson moved to Hanford with his wife Meta. He worked as a technical expert and helped with the calculations that determined that xenon poisoning was responsible for the shutdown of the B Reactor.

In 1945, Newson joined the scientific laboratory at Los Alamos. He returned to Oak Ridge for several years as chief physicist before becoming a professor of physics at Duke University. While at Duke, he established and served as Director of the Triangle Universities Nuclear Laboratory.

Meta Newson’s interview contains more information about her husband’s contributions to the Manhattan Project.

Henry W. Newson's Timeline
1909 Nov 26th Born in Lawrence, Kansas.
1931 Received a B.Sc. in Chemistry from the University of Illinois.
1934 Received a Ph.D. in Chemistry from the University of Chicago.
19341936 Worked as a Fellow at the Radiation Laboratory at the University of California, Berkeley, assisting Ernest O. Lawrence in the construction of a cyclotron.
19421943 Served at the University of Chicago Met Lab as a research associate and physicist.
1943 Named a section chief at Clinton Laboratories (the X-10 Graphite Reactor) at Oak Ridge, TN.
1944 Appointed technical expert at Hanford Engineering Works.
19451946 Worked at Los Alamos.
19461948 Chief Physicist at Oak Ridge National Laboratory.
19481975 Professor of Physics at Duke University.
1978 May 14th Died in Durham, North Carolina.

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