William Pratt

Obituary of William W. Pratt

William Winston Pratt, 93, of State College, passed away May 2, 2015 at his residence. He was born August 9, 1921 in Columbus, OH, a son of Julius W. Pratt and Louisa Gabriella Williamson Pratt of Williamsville, NY. He was a Professor Emeritus of nuclear physics at Penn State. He joined the university faculty as an assistant professor of physics in 1954 and was promoted to associate professor in 1960 and to full professor in 1963. He was named assistant department head in 1981. Before coming to Penn State, he served as a research associate at University of Iowa and as associate physicist at Brookhaven National Laboratory. At Brookhaven, he was in charge of the experimental part of the nuclear shielding research program. Some of his group's results were used in building the Nautilus, the first nuclear powered submarine. A specialist in nuclear spectroscopy, he conducted most of his research at Penn State's Breazeale Nuclear Reactor facility. He chaired the university's Isotope Committee from 1961 until his retirement in July 1987. He also served as a visiting scientist at Oak Ridge National Laboratory, University of Colorado Physics Department Cyclotron Laboratory, and Massachusetts Institute of Technology Nuclear Reactor Facility. He earned his bachelor's degree at University of Rochester and his doctorate at Iowa State University. He was preceded in death by his wife, Helen Virginia Pratt, his brother, Walden Penfield Pratt of Arvada, Colorado, and his dear friend, Mid Brosky, of Bellefonte. Survivors include three sons, William Gray of Salisbury, MD, Thomas Ward of Pittsburgh, Andrew Gustave of State College; a daughter, Mary Louise of Huntington, WV; sisters-in law, Janice Eddy Pratt, Lorraine Johnson and Eleanor Davis; and numerous nieces and nephews. He was a member of Grace Lutheran Church of State College. Private burial services were officiated by The Reverend Scott Schul on Thursday, May 7th, at Centre County Memorial Park. The family would like to thank the wonderful people at Comfort Keepers and Hospice and all who have offered prayers and support. Arrangements are under the care of Koch Funeral Home, State College. Online condolences and signing of the guest book may be entered at www.kochfuneralhome.com.
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