Carl D. Anderson, 85, one of the first Americans to win the Nobel Prize in physics when he was honored in 1936 for his discovery of the positron, died yesterday in California.
Dr. Anderson died at his home in San Marino, according to the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, where he was a professor emeritus of physics. No cause of death was given.
Dr. Anderson's discovery in 1932 of the particle called the positron came at a time when it appeared that all matter might be composed of only two fundamental building blocks: the electron and the proton.
Demonstration of the existence of the positron, a kind of positively charged electron, helped give science its first clear glimpse of the dazzling profusion of particles that exist within the atom and its nucleus.
The discovery of the positively charged twin of the electron also raised the curtain on the possible existence of entire universes of anti-matter, in which each particle in the known universe had a counterpart, similar in size and structure but opposite in such characteristics as electric charge.
The discovery came in the same year in which the neutron was discovered and signaled the rapid strides that were soon to come in understanding the world of the atomic nucleus and in harnessing its energies.
Dr. Anderson's work was carried out at the dawn of the era of large-scale nuclear experimentation.
Working before the development of the huge accelerators now used to create the energies necessary to pry apart the nucleus and its components, he studied cosmic rays. These are particles that hurtle into the Earth's atmosphere from space, already traveling at high speeds.
The device he used to study those particles and their high-speed collisions with other atomic particles was also one of the earliest and simplest. Known as the Wilson cloud chamber after its developer, it made use of the fact that fast-moving atomic particles ripped the electrons from atoms of air, creating charged ions. Particles of vapor condense around these ions, outlining the tracks followed by the speeding cosmic rays, and also showing the paths of the particles produced in the collisions.
Information about the charge on the particles comes from measuring their curvature when a magnetic field is applied.
Using such observational techniques in the summer of 1932, Anderson, working at Cal Tech, found a particle that behaved like an electron but showed a positive charge. After further experiment, he showed that the particle was one that had previously existed only in theory: the positron.
Dr. Anderson was born in New York and grew up in Los Angeles. He received his bachelor's degree and doctorate from Cal Tech.
When the son of Swedish immigrants was awarded the Nobel Physics Prize in 1936, he was only the fourth American to receive the honor.
His success came during the depths of the Depression. The pay for an assistant professor of physics was meager. To get to Stockholm to collect his prize he borrowed $500 from his mentor, Robert A. Millikan (who had received the Nobel Prize in 1923 for determining the charge of the electron).
Dr. Anderson, who made another major discovery later when he found the muon, another important subatomic particle, was not a man who appeared driven by concern about financial reward.
"If you ask how many millions or billions of dollars a fundamental particle is worth," he once said, "the answer is, I don't know.
"Doing science is a matter of faith. You just have to explore the physical world. Curiosity is a part of human nature, and there will always be science for the sake of science, for the sake of pure understanding."
His wife died in 1984 and he is survived by two sons.
BERNARD F. BURDICK
Canal Authority Director
Bernard Franklin Burdick, 91, the former director of the Panama Canal Authority who later worked as a supervisory investigator and consultant to the House Appropriations Committee, died Jan. 9 at his home in Silver Spring after a heart attack.
Mr. Burdick was born in Houston, Ala., and attended the University of Chattanooga. He came to Washington in the early 1920s and graduated from George Washington University, where he also received a law degree.
From 1927 to 1936, he worked for the General Accounting Office. He joined the Panama Canal Authority in Washington in 1936 and worked there as a legal adviser and consultant here and in the Panama Canal Zone. He retired there as director in 1952 after a reorganization. He then worked for the House Appropriations Committee until 1965, when he retired permanently.
Mr. Burdick was a past president of the Federal Bar Association and editor of its journal. He had been director of the finance committee at Woodside United Methodist Church in Silver Spring and helped oversee the construction of its new church building.
His wife, Lillian Martha Smith Burdick, died in August. Survivors include two sons, Ralph Stanley Burdick of Gaithersburg and Harry Franklin Burdick of Silver Spring; 10 grandchildren; and seven great-grandchildren.
JOHN M. RIECKS
John Maydwell Riecks, 80, a former deputy school superintendent in Washington and assistant superintendent for buildings and grounds who later became an assistant school superintendent in Prince George's County, died of pneumonia Jan. 11 at Montgomery General Hospital.
Mr. Riecks, who lived in Leisure World in Silver Spring, was born in Washington. He graduated from Eastern High School and Wilson Teachers College and received a master's degree in administration and supervision at George Washington University. He had done additional graduate work at Catholic University and American University.
He began his professional career as a teacher at Deal Junior High School, and later served as principal of Kramer Junior High School. He was assistant superintendent for buildings and grounds from 1948 to 1962 and deputy superintendent from 1962 to 1967, when he retired.
On retirement from the D.C. schools, Mr. Riecks served as assistant superintendent for business, planning and construction for the Prince George's County schools from 1967 to 1970 and as assistant superintendent for personnel services from 1970 to 1973, when he retired permanently.
Survivors include his wife of 56 years, Gwen Riecks of Leisure World; three children, John Charles Riecks of Charleston, W.Va., Mary Elizabeth Riecks and Margaret Brown, both of Jacksonville, Fla.; four grandchildren; and two great-grandchildren.
ANNE L. BASHAM
Anne L. Basham, 60, executive secretary to Charles Walker at Walker Associates business consultants, died Jan. 8 at the Hospice of Northern Virginia. She had cancer.
Miss Basham was a lifelong resident of Arlington and a graduate of Washington-Lee High School.
She had worked at Walker Associates since 1973 and previously had worked as a secretary for the Republican National Committee and in the Capitol office of Vice President Spiro T. Agnew.
Survivors include her parents, Frances L. and Gus O. Basham of Arlington, and a sister, Frances B. Schmitz of Annapolis.
ALBERT H. KERSHNER
Air Force Employee
Albert H. Kershner, 85, a retired Air Force Department project manager, died Jan. 1 at Kennedy Memorial Hospital in Stratford, N.J., of pneumonia and heart ailments.
Mr. Kershner was born in Russia. He moved to Philadelphia in 1906 and attended the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania.
He moved to the Washington area in 1950 and worked at the Pentagon as a project manager specializing in aircraft production programming until he retired in 1971.
He was a member of Samuel Gompers Masonic Lodge and Almas Temple of the Shrine.
Since retirement, Mr. Kershner had lived in Stratford, N.J.
Survivors include his wife, Regina Restine Kershner of Stratford; and a sister, Shirley Mantell of Encino, Calif.
WILLIAM L. FULK
Navy Pipe Fitter
William L. Fulk, 83, a retired Navy Department pipe fitter, died Jan. 9 at Fredericksburg (Va.) Nursing Home after a heart attack.
Mr. Fulk was born in Sharpsburg, Md., and moved to Alexandria as a child.
He retired 20 years ago after having worked 24 years as a Navy Department pipe fitter. Earlier, he had worked for the old Ford Motor Co. in Alexandria and for Smoot Sand and Gravel.
About three years ago he moved from Alexandria to Fredericksburg.
He was a 32nd-degree Mason and a member of Andrew Jackson Lodge in Alexandria, Kena Temple and the Scottish Rite and the Martha Washington chapter of the Order of the Eastern Star.
Survivors include his wife of 61 years, Katie Fulk of Fredericksburg; two children, Lorraine Drewry of Fredericksburg and Larry L. Fulk of Alexandria; four grandchildren; and two great-grandchildren.
Air Force Major
Webster Smith, 74, a retired Air Force major who had worked as a communications specialist at the National Institutes of Health, died Dec. 27 of congestive heart failure at the Naval Medical Center in Bethesda. He lived in Bethesda.
Maj. Smith, who had lived here since his retirement in 1960, was a native of Omaha. He was last assigned to Scott Air Force Base, Ill.
After attending the University of Nebraska, Maj. Smith entered the Marine Corps in 1933, and served in Japan. He transferred to the Army Air Corps at the start of World War II, and later served with the Air Force in the Far East.
After retiring, he worked at NIH until 1969, and then was a teller at Chevy Chase Federal Savings Bank until 1982.
He was a member of the Disabled American Veterans and American Legion Lodge 15.
His marriage to Sarah Culp-Smith ended in divorce.
He is survived by a son, Carl Webster Smith of Rockville, and a brother, Harold Smith of Omaha.
DELORES 'DEE' BURGESS
Delores "Dee" Burgess, 40, an administrative assistant at Digital Equipment Corp., died Jan. 8 of respiratory failure and complications after gall bladder surgery at Washington Hospital Center. She lived in Seabrook.
Mrs. Burgess had worked for Digital Equipment for 15 years, as a senior sales secretary, computer software demonstrator and assistant to the regional sales staff. She moved to Washington from her native Murraysville, W.Va., 20 years ago to work as a secretary at the American Red Cross.
She attended Mountain State College. Three years ago, she established Digital Equipment's annual toy drive for homeless children.
She was a member of Coleman Chapel Methodist Church in Murraysville.
Survivors include her husband of 21 years, Jerry Burgess of Seabrook; her son, Robert Enoch of Seabrook; her parents, Eldon and Clara Delong of Murraysville; a sister, Diane Delong Smith of Bellville, W.Va.; and two brothers, Albert Delong and David Delong, both of Murraysville.
CLARINDA E. CRUPPER
Clarinda E. Crupper, 103, a former bookkeeper and secretary-treasurer of a family lumber business, died Jan. 9 at Sleepy Hollow Manor Nursing Home in Annandale. She had arteriosclerosis and had suffered strokes.
She worked in her father's lumber business, Joseph L. Crupper Lumber Co. in Rosslyn until the company was sold in 1957.
Miss Crupper, who lived in Arlington, was born in Alexandria. She attended Hollins College.
She was a member of Columbia Baptist Church in Falls Church and had participated in the Hollins College Alumnae Association.
She leaves no immediate survivors.