Richard Claassen was a research assistant at the SAM Lab at Columbia University from 1944 to 1946. While there, he built and used fluidic systems to test for unusual leaks in diffuser tubes. He also worked on air bearing centrifuges for the project.
Richard completed his M.S. in physics at Columbia, then a Ph.D. at the University of Minnesota, also in physics. His career was spent at the Sandia National Laboratories where he managed the feasibility program for lay-down weapons.