Raemer Edgar Schreiber

Honorary Degree Recipient

  • Doctor of Science, Purdue University 1964

Raemer Edgar Schreiber has had a distinguished career in the study of nuclear fission and its application to problems of war and peace.

A graduate of Linfield College in Oregon, he received his M.A. degree from the University of Oregon, and earned the Ph.D. degree at Purdue University in 1941. His doctoral research began with the construction of a neutron generator, and an exploration of the possibilities of studying neutron diffraction by crystals. Success in this field turned out to be impossible until the development of the nuclear reactor made strong sources of neutrons available. Immediately after the discovery of nuclear fission, he turned to the study of this phenomenon, and it was for this work that he was awarded the Ph.D. degree. He stayed on at Purdue as an Instructor until 1943, and participated in the very early work of the Manhattan Project that was carried out with the Purdue cyclotron.

In 1943 he joined the Los Alamos Scientific Laboratory, shortly after it was founded, and there he turned from basic work in nuclear physics to the design of homogeneous reactors, and then to work with nuclear weapons. He was a member of the weapons assembly teams that worked in the first test of the atomic bomb at Almagordo, at Tinian in preparing the weapons used against Japan, and in the large scale tests made at Bikini and Eniwetok. Between 1948 and 1955 he was successively Associate Leader and Leader of the Division charged with weapons engineering at Los Alamos. In 1955 he became leader of the Division charged with the assembly of reactors for rocket propulsion, and in 1962 he was made Technical Associate Director of the Los Alamos Scientific Laboratory, with direct responsibility for the whole program for the development of nuclear propulsion for rockets and space vehicles. He is a member of the U.S. Air Force Advisory Board, and of the National Aeronautic and Space Administration Advisory Committee on Nuclear Systems. Some of his technical work has been declassified, but much of it remains secret.

From the Honorary Degree nomination letter by Professor Hubert M. James, February 6, 1964

Last Updated: Apr 29, 2016 4:17 PM