Sir Nevill Francis Mott, 90, whose pioneering research on irregularly formed chunks of matter brought him a Nobel Prize and led to the development of modern photocopiers and other electronic devices, died Aug. 8 in England.
Family members told the Associated Press that he died at a hospital near his home in Apsley Guise, about 50 miles northwest of London. No cause of death was given.
Sir Nevill shared the 1977 Nobel Prize in physics with two Americans, Philip W. Anderson and J.H. Van Vleck. The three worked independently and on different problems. What linked them was their success in probing the properties of the materials scientists chose to describe as disordered, in reference to their structure on the atomic level.
Much of the early work that helped to introduce the semiconductor revolution that transformed electronics involved crystalline materials -- that is, solids whose structure on the atomic level repeated itself in a regular and orderly way.
The work for which Sir Nevill was honored involved his efforts to come to grips with the behavior of solids that in their irregularity are known as amorphous.
It has been demonstrated that although these materials may lack order over relatively long internal distances, they nevertheless are subject to a degree of order over relatively short distances.
Much of modern electronics relies on the properties of crystals of the most precise regularity, giving rise to intricate crystal-growing technologies. But the amorphous semiconductor, which is easier and cheaper to make, also has significant applications. It is used in a variety of devices that convert light to electrical energy and is essential in "all of photocopying as we know it today," said Brian G. Bagley, professor of physics at the University of Toledo.
In a long and productive career, Sir Nevill pursued research in many areas of physics. Much of it involved applying quantum mechanical principles to the behavior of atoms and electrons. One of the landmark theories of modern physics, quantum mechanics provides deep insight into the behavior of matter on the smallest scale and was developed just at the time Sir Nevill was coming of age as a scientist.
"He made a contribution to anything in physics in which he decided to participate," Bagley said. The Nobel committee cited one aspect of Sir Nevill's research, but physicists believed that the prize also honored a lifetime of "immense contributions," Bagley said.
At Cambridge University, Sir Nevill, the son of physicists, studied under one of the legendary figures in modern science, Sir Ernest Rutherford. Rutherford's experiments on the scattering of alpha particles revealed the structure of the atom.
Sir Nevill's early research extended the work of his mentor, but later he began his pioneering research in what is now known as solid state physics.
He was known for producing a detailed theory of the photographic process on the level of the interaction of light with the electrons in the atoms of photographic film. In recent years, he worked in high-temperature superconductors, a frontier area that offers the possibility of great cost savings in the operation of many electrical devices.
Sir Nevill was born Sept. 30, 1905, in Leeds, England, and received a bachelor's degree from Cambridge in 1927. Subsequently he was a faculty member first at Cambridge, then at the University of Bristol. From 1954 to 1971, he headed Cambridge's famed Cavendish laboratory.
A man of theological as well as scientific interests, he was baptized in the Anglican Church at age 80 and was editor of a book of essays, "Can Scientists Believe?" For Sir Nevill, the answer appeared to be yes. In a sermon published four years ago, he said that "as a student, cycling through the Norfolk countryside studded with churches built in the age of faith, I could not believe that those who created all this beauty were totally wrong."
"I believe it is better and more interesting and fulfilling to build a personal faith in our historical religious tradition than to throw it all away and start again in the arid plains of atheism."
Survivors include his wife, Ruth; two daughters; and three grandchildren. BERNICE CROSS Washington Artist
Bernice Cross, 84, a Washington artist whose work was exhibited regularly in the 1930s, 1940s and 1950s, died of heart ailments July 23 at Bethesda Manor Care.
During the 1930s, Ms. Cross, a native of Iowa City, operated an art studio on the 1500 block of H Street NW, where she held painting classes for adults and sketch classes for children. She was a member of a group of young artists associated with the former Studio House, which was run in connection with the Phillips Gallery in Washington during the 1940s. Over the years, she had solo exhibitions at the Studio House Gallery, the Little Gallery and the Phillips Memorial Gallery.
She received commissions from the regional art project of the Works Progress Administration to paint a series of murals of the Pinocchio story at Children's Hospital.
After studying art at the Wilmington Academy in Wilmington, Del., she moved to the Washington area in the early 1930s and attended the Corcoran School of Art and the Phillips Gallery Art School.
Art critics called her a painter of fantasy whose work had the unpredictable quality of children's drawing, indicating a spontaneous interpretation of actual events. In addition to her solo shows, her work was included in several group and traveling exhibitions.
Her marriage to James McLaughlin, former curator of the the Phillips Collection art gallery, ended in divorce.
She leaves no immediate survivors. KAY F. WIKE Springfield Businesswoman
Kay F. Wike, 60, a lifelong area resident who founded and operated a Springfield commercial cleaning company, died of breast cancer July 23 in Arlington Hospital. She had lived in Springfield for the past 30 years.
In 1982, she and her son Randy founded Wike's Cleaning Service. The company did cleaning projects for Northern Virginia commercial offices and refurbishing work for apartment complexes.
Mrs. Wike, who was born in Washington, attended Roosevelt High School and began her career working in her father's neighborhood grocery. She worked from 1955 to 1960 as a cashier with Safeway stores in Washington. She was a bookkeeper with Grand Union stores in Springfield from 1964 to 1982, when she and her son started their own business.
Survivors include her husband of 40 years, Randy G. Wike, and three children, Debra K. Keller, Randy Wayne Wike and Danny Gray Wike, all of Springfield; her mother, Lucille B. Davis of Herndon; a brother, Tony Davis of Clifton; two sisters, Gladys Bosben of Reston and Barbara J. Riddiford of Herndon; and six grandchildren. JAMES DALE Annapolis Musician
James Dale, 48, an organist with the Navy Academy Chapel and the Navy's assistant director of musical activities, died Aug. 5 at Anne Arundel Medical Center. He had AIDS.
Mr. Dale, a resident of Arnold, was a native of Wellsboro, Pa. He enlisted in the Navy in 1970 and was an oboist in the Naval Academy Band. He later became an organist with the academy chapel. After he left active Navy duty in 1974, he continued as organist and choir director as a civilian.
In addition to his work with the Navy, he was principal oboist with the Annapolis Symphony Orchestra and in recent years served on the symphony's board of directors and as its personnel manager.
Mr. Dale graduated from Mansfield State University and received a master's degree in performance from Catholic University.
He was a member of the American Guild of Organists, serving as dean of the Annapolis Chapter and dean of the Washington Chapter.
Survivors include his mother, Betty Dale of Wellsboro; and a brother, Richard Dale of Harrisburg, Pa. ALVIN L. MANVILLE Maintenance Supervisor
Alvin L. Manville, 74, who retired in 1986 as assistant building manager at the Pentagon, died of cardiovascular disorder July 26 at the VA Medical Center in West Palm Beach, Fla.
Mr. Manville, who was born in Craddock, Va., split his residence between Reedville, Va., and Fort Pierce, Fla. He was a graduate of Washington-Lee High School and served as a paratrooper in the Army's elite 82nd Airborne Division during World War II. He took part in campaigns in North Africa, Sicily, Italy and Normandy. He received the Purple Heart and Bronze Star.
After the war, he returned to the Washington area and began a long career as an air-conditioning and heating specialist with the General Services Administration. He was later named chief operating engineer at the Pentagon and then assistant building manager, overseeing maintenance contracts.
Survivors include his wife of 48 years, Stella R. Manville of Reedville; four children, Ronald L., of North Scituate, R.I., James L., of Boulder, Colo., Karen A. Manville of Denver and Donna M. Spilner of Hamilton; a brother, Edgar Manville of Fort Pierce; and a granddaughter. EUGENIA VARN GRKOVIC Navy Wife
Eugenia Varn Grkovic, 75, who accompanied her husband to Navy posts in Russia and Hawaii and who wrote articles in the 1950s for the Annapolis Evening Capital about social events at the U.S. Naval Academy, died of a lung ailment Aug. 8 at Anne Arundel Medical Center. She lived in Edgewater, Md.
Mrs. Grkovic was born in Canton, China, while her father was employed there by Standard Oil Co. She first lived in the Washington area in 1940, while attending the old National Park College at Forest Glen.
After her marriage to George Grkovic, she traveled with him to Navy assignments that included Washington, the Naval Academy and Moscow, where he was naval attache. She was a member of officer wives organizations and a volunteer with the Navy Relief Society.
In addition to her husband, a retired captain who lives in Edgewater, survivors include three children, Alice Eugenia "Genie" Pack of Woodbridge, George M. Grkovic of Plantation, Fla., and Janet Cravens of Shelbyville, Ky.; a sister, Betty Schlosser of Grasonville, Md.; and three grandchildren. JOHN S. ROBERTS Jr. Patent Lawyer
John Summerfield Roberts Jr., 76, a chemical patent lawyer in Washington for 40 years before he retired in 1990, died Aug. 8 at the Veterans Affairs hospital in Perry Point, Md. He was being treated for a stroke he suffered in May.
Mr. Roberts, who lived in Waldorf, was born in Newport News, Va. He was a chemistry graduate of the University of Virginia and received a law degree from George Washington University.
During World War II, he was a Marine Corps captain before he was forced to retire in 1944 because of manic depression. He was open about his illness, which he called the greatest challenge of his life.
In the 1960s, he participated in the National Institutes of Health's lithium carbonate drug-testing program. For Mr. Roberts and many others, lithium carbonate proved to be a miracle drug that made it possible to function in everyday activities, work and play.
He was an avid sports fan who supported Washington and Baltimore baseball, basketball and football teams, as well as the Cavalier teams of the University of Virginia.
Survivors include his wife, Susannah, of Waldorf; two sons, John, of Minneapolis, and David, of Wilmington, Del.; and a daughter, Margaret, of Venice, Calif. GEORGE F. SWETNAM Jr. Electrical Engineer
George F. Swetnam Jr., 58, who had worked as an electrical engineer with the Mitre Corp. in McLean since settling in the Washington area in 1969, died of cancer Aug. 8 at his home in Herndon.
In addition to his work with Mitre, he had served as a congressional fellow in the office of Sen. Bill Bradley (D-N.J.) in 1983 and 1984. He also had spent the years 1989 through 1991 in Germany, where he helped revamp the country's air traffic control system.
Mr. Swetnam, a native of Uniontown, Pa., was a graduate of the University of Pittsburgh and received a master's degree in electrical engineering from City College of New York. Before coming to the Washington area, he worked for Bell Laboratories in New Jersey and in Illinois.
He was an amateur radio operator whose call sign was K4VH. He was a member of the Reston Chorale, a singing group. His hobbies included hiking, running and canoeing.
His first marriage, to the former Frances Paris, ended in divorce.
Survivors include his wife, Nancy Heflin Swetnam, and their son, James, both of Herndon; two children from his first marriage, Mary Beth Mathews of Charlottesville and William D. Swetnam of Dallas; his father, George Sr., of Glenshaw, Pa.; a brother, John, of Las Vegas; and a sister, Anne Perry of Hamilton, N.Y. EDNA F. NIVERT Secretary
Edna Fisher Nivert, 83, an Oakton resident who was a retired secretary with the Federal Trade Commission, died Aug. 9 at the Fairfax Nursing Center. She had emphysema.
She worked as a secretary from the early 1930s to the early 1940s, first at the Montgomery County Courthouse and then for the Resettlement Administration and the Soil Conservation Service. In the 1950s, she worked for Woodward & Lothrop department stores, and in the 1960s, for Melpar Associates. She joined the FTC in the early 1970s and retired in 1975.
Mrs. Nivert, a Montgomery County native, was a 1931 graduate of Rockville High School.
She was a member of the Maryland Ark & Dove Society, the Army Navy Country Club and the Women of St. John's Catholic Church in Falls Church.
Survivors include her husband of 57 years, Frank J., of Oakton; three children; a brother; four grandchildren; and three stepgrandchildren. DAVID GOLD Systems Engineer
David Gold, 81, a chief engineer who retired in 1980 after 24 years with the Navy Special Projects Fire Control and Guidance Branch, died Aug. 8 at his home in Silver Spring. He had Parkinson's disease.
Mr. Gold, who was born in Indianapolis, came to Washington in the early 1940s and worked at the U.S. Navy Yard in Washington before starting his career as chief engineer. During his career, he oversaw the research, design and development of the fire control and guidance subsystems of the Navy's Polaris, Poseidon and Trident I weapons systems.
His awards included the Distinguished Civilian Service Award.
He graduated from Purdue University and received a master's degree in mechanical engineering from Kansas State University.
Survivors include his wife of 49 years, Bertha Gold of Silver Spring; two sons, Jerry Gold of Olney, and Ron Gold of Fullerton, Calif.; a sister, Frieda Greenberg of Wheaton; a brother; and five grandchildren. JUDY S. ROOMS Waitress
Judy S. Rooms, 82, who had been a waitress at Sherrill's Restaurant & Bakery in Southeast Washington from 1941 until retiring in 1984, died Aug. 8 in Clinton at the Allegis nursing home, where she had spent the past eight years. She had Alzheimer's disease.
Mrs. Rooms, who lived in the District before entering the nursing home, was a native of Kingsport, Tenn. She moved here about 1941. In the mid-1970s, a documentary film that was nominated for an Academy Award was made about her and other waitresses and characters at the restaurant.
Her first husband, John Belcher, died during World War II. Her second husband, Roland J. Rooms, died in 1974.
Survivors include a son from her first marriage, John R. Belcher Sr. of Temple Hills; two children from her second marriage, Joseph Rooms of Washington, and Gloria L. Foster of Lothian, Md.; eight grandchildren; five great-grandchildren; and two great-great-grandchildren.