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William L. Fink

MetallurgistChicago, IL

Pittsburgh, PA
Manhattan Project VeteranScientist
William L. Fink

William L. Fink (1896-1992) was an American metallurgist.

After obtaining his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in engineering and a Ph.D. in chemistry from the University of Michigan, Fink joined the Aluminum Company of America (Alcoa) in Pittsburgh. He rose to become chief metallugist at Alcoa’s Aluminum Research Laboratories.

During the Manhattan Project, Fink was on loan from Alcoa to the Metallurgical Laboratory at the University of Chicago. Fink was known for his expertise in developing aluminum alloys and knowledge of alloy structure, corrosion, and nondestructive testing.

He later expressed unhappiness about the deaths caused by the atomic bombs, and visited Hiroshima and gave several lectures in Japan in the 1960s and 1970s.

Scientific Contributions

Fink wrote numerous papers and received a dozen patents on topics such as alloy structures, radiography, and the development of thermal treatments. After retiring from Alcoa in 1961, he worked with NASA to develop the undercoating for the Project Mercury capsules, which successfully carried the first U.S. astronauts into space. He also developed the Fink Method, a technique that uses X-rays to analyze inorganic compounds. For more details on his scientific work, click here.

Dr. Fink passed away in 1992 at the age of 95.

Information contributed by Dr. Fink’s granddaughter, Jeanne Hochstetler, and great-granddaughter, Jill Goddard.

William L. Fink's Timeline
1896 Sep 14th Born in Fairmount, Indiana.
1921 Received a B.A. in Engineering from the University of Michigan.
1923 Received an M.S. in Engineering from the University of Michigan.
1926 Received a Ph.D. in Chemistry from the University of Michigan.
19421945 Worked on the Manhattan Project at the University of Chicago Met Lab.
1961 Retired from Alcoa and began work with NASA.
1992 Apr 2nd Died in Indianapolis, Indiana.

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