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Oak Ridger, The (TN) - October 20, 1998
Deceased Name: George M. Adamson Metallurgist involved with HFIR
George M. Adamson, a longtime Oak Ridger who contributed significantly to the development of materials fabrication technique for the core of the High Flux Isotopes Reactor at Oak Ridge National Laboratory, died today at age 78. He had successful quadruple bypass heart surgery at the Texas Heart Institute in 1993.
He suffered a first heart attack in December 1985 and retired Feb. 28, 1986, having worked in ORNL's Metals and Ceramics Division for 39 years. He served as a section head for 25 years in charge of various combinations of fabrication and service functions.
Previously he served in a variety of group leader and program management positions. During his final 12 years, he was also responsible for many of the personnel functions for the division, including hiring, performance review and the salary program for more than 300 people.
His most notable efforts were in solving high temperature materials problems arising in the development and fabrication of reactor systems. He was supervisor of the efforts to develop fabrication and inspection techniques and their transfer to industrial companies at the High Flux Isotopes Reactor fuel control rod elements.
He played a major role in both the Aircraft Nuclear Propulsion program, and the Homogeneous Reactor Experiment, eventually being responsible for the metallurgical engineering work for the latter project.
While efforts to develop a reactor engine that would fly an airplane failed, his work with high-temperature, fused-salt and liquid-metal corrosion studies for the project contributed greatly to the later work of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration and industrial companies.
Along with other authors, he contributed to 29 publications (books and professional journal articles) on such subjects as "Production of High-Flux Isotope Reactor Fuel Elements," "The Development of Aluminum-Base European Oxide Powder Control Rods for the High-Flux Isotope Reactor," "Homogeneous Reactor Metallurgy" and "Postirradiation Examination and Evaluation of the Performance of HFIR Fuel Elements."
He was a member of the American Society for Metals, the American Institute of Mining and Metallurgical Engineering, the American Society for Materials Testing and the American Nuclear Society.
Besides his wife, June, who came with him as a wartime Oak Ridge pioneer, he is survived by a son, Dr. Neil D. Adamson, a dentist, and two grandsons, Matthew and Eric, all of Boise, Idaho. Another son, Dr. Stanley D. Adamson, was killed in an avalanche while climbing Mount St. Elias in Canada's Yukon Territory in 1971. Two sisters, Barbara Adamson and Marjorie Kreitman of Vancouver, Wash., also survive, as do three nieces and three nephews. His younger brother, Charles, died in 1981.
His parents were Ethel and George M. Adamson Sr. Because his father a Scottish immigrant, he kept in touch and visited with cousins in Scottland.
Adamson's main hobby following retirement was growing roses. His garden grew from a few to 90 bushes. He cut them for friends and for Oak Ridge Civic Music Association and Recording for the Blind special events. He was an active member of the Holston Rose Society and won blue ribbons in several area shows.
During his working years, his major recreation was building a cottage on Watts Bar Lake. There he taught his sons and their friends to water ski. More recently, he taught the children of their generation.
A 1941 metallurgical engineering graduate of the University of Utah, his thesis was on "Technical Development of the Mineral Industry in Utah." Adamson worked for the American Smelting and Refining Co.'s copper smelter in Garfield, Utah.
He was deferred for this essential wartime industry until the ruling that men under 26 were to be drafted regardless of status. He was assigned to the Chemical Warfare branch of the Army in Alabama and worked to develop mortar guns later taken over by the infantry for the grim World War II Battle of the Bulge.
Because non-technical officers in the group had to be trained in their use, the technically trained GIs were transferred to an infantry for a second basic training. Shortly after, about 30 men in Adamson's camp were tapped for the Special Engineering Detachment and sent to Oak Ridge, where he worked in Clarence Larson's chemical processing group at the Y-12 Plant for two years before the war ended.
He often said, "You can't do chemistry unless you know what you are working with. We knew it ws uranium and would result in a weapon." Because of worry about the spread of radiation, he speculated that it might be used as a depth charge, but shared this idea only after August 1945.
Even during the tension of war work, he often expressed surprise at the unusually democratic conditions of the wartime Army in Oak Ridge. He spoke of enlisted GIs working alongside Navy officers and well-paid civilians, and noted, "Any one of the group could have been in charge."
Interviewed in 1985 for a series of perspectives on nuclear work for The Oak Ridger, Adamson said, "No, I don't think the lives of those of us who worked in early nuclear energy were wasted. The country wouldn't be where it is without it." He did, however, express disappointment in today's anti-nuclear stance. "I'm convinced nuclear reactors are viable and if handled properly could already be solving peacetime energy problems in a safe and clean way."
There will be no service. His body was donated to the University of Tennessee Medical Center in Memphis.
June Nielson Adamson (____ - 2009)*
Body donated to medical science
Created by: Redriver
Record added: Oct 01, 2013
Find A Grave Memorial# 117945614
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