Lyle W. Phillips, 69, a retired official of the National Science Foundation who initiated a science training program for minority group members there in 1971, died Monday at his Chevy Chase home. He had a heart ailment.
A physicist who specialized in the analysis of atomic spectra, he taught physics until 1959, when he joined the foundation as program director for undergraduate science education. He later headed the undergraduate science education division.
He also headed the office of experimental projects and programs before being named program director for continuing education for scientists and engineers in 1977. He retired in 1978.
In 1971, Dr. Phillips developed the College Science Improvement Program to improve undergraduate science training for members of minority groups.
Before joining the NSF, Dr. Phillips was a professor and head of the physics department at the State Univeristy of New York in Buffalo.
He was born in Arthur, N.D., and graduated from North Dakota State University in 1932. He then earned a master's degree from the State University of New York at Buffalo and a doctorate in physics from the University of Illinois.
Dr. Phillips was a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and the American Association of Physics Teachers. In 1965, he was awarded an honorary doctorate from North Dakota State University.
Survivors include his wife, Martha L., of Chevy Chase; two daughters, Stephanie Weiss of Rockville, and Leslie Martin of Philadelphia; a son, James W., of Catonsville, Md.; a sister, Florence Nye of Buffalo, and five grandchildren.
The family suggests that expressions of sympathy be in the form of contributions in his name to Lincoln University, Lincoln University, Pa., 19352.