Lawrence Ernest Williams Ph.D.

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November 29, 1937 - July 17, 2014 Lawrence Ernest Williams, Ph.D., 76, of Arcadia, California passed away July 17, 2014 at Foothill Presbyterian Hospital in Glendora, California after battling Central Nervous System Lymphoma. He is survived by his wife of 47 years Sonia Bell Williams (nee Bredmeyer), daughters Erica Helen Demkowicz and Beverley Williams Alberola, as well as grandsons Alexander William Demkowicz and Elias Maximilian Alberola. Larry is also survived by his two big sisters Peggy Burke of Palo Alto, California and Carla Menza of Livingston, New Jersey. Larry had recently retired from City of Hope National Medical Center in Duarte, California after 33 years as an Imaging Physicist and Professor of Diagnostic Radiology. He was also an Adjunct Professor of Radiology at University of California, Los Angeles. Larry was the son of Mile Karapandza and Danica Radulovich (Bill and Dorothy Williams), Serbian immigrants who came to the United States as youths from what is now Bosnia and Herzegovina. Larry grew up in Youngstown, Ohio. While in high school he displayed a love of science and research. He was voted by his senior class as the "most intelligent", was a member of the Electron Club and was one of 40 national winners of the Westinghouse (now Intel) Science Talent Search. He was one of the few from his class to go on to college. Larry graduated with honors from Carnegie Mellon University with a B.S. degree in Physics. He obtained his M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in Physics from the University of Minnesota, where he was a National Science Foundation fellow. During his graduate training in nuclear reactions, he demonstrated excited states of the mass-4 system. He later worked at the Rutherford High Energy Laboratory in England, where he extended this work by finding excited levels of the mass-3 nuclides. This was the laboratory where he met and married a young scientific secretary from Australia named Sonia. Since obtaining the National Institutes of Health support to become a medical physicist, Larry devoted most of his research to tumor detection and treatment. Larry has written approximately 250 publications on, and obtained a number of patents in, nuclear imaging and radionuclide therapy. He is author of Radiopharmaceuticals: Introduction to Drug Evaluation and Dose Estimation (CRC Press, 2011) (available on Amazon), coauthor of Biophysical Science (Prentice Hall, 1979), and editor of Nuclear Medicine Physics (CRC Press, 1987). He has been a grant and site reviewer for the National Institutes of Health since the mid-1990s. Larry was also an associate editor of Medical Physics and a reviewer for several other journals. He was a member of the American Association of Physicists in Medicine, the Society of Nuclear Medicine, the New York Academy of Sciences, Sigma Xi, Society of Imaging Informatics in Medicine, and the Society of Breast Imaging. Larry received a lifetime service award from the American Board of Radiology. Larry helped to pioneer the development, evaluation, and promotion of targeted radiopharmaceuticals for cancer imaging and therapy. While at City of Hope, his efforts helped to establish programs in radioimmunotherapy and radioimmunoimaging that continue today. Among Larry's most significant biophysical discoveries is the mass-law for tumor uptake as a function of tumor size. He was also co-discoverer of tumor targeting with liposomes. This work involved one of the first applications of normal organ blockage by use of an unlabeled agent. Larry developed a pair of indices for quantifying the ability of a radiopharmaceutical to permit imaging or therapy of lesions in animals or patients. He has also demonstrated that radioactive decay must be considered inherently as one possible exit route in modeling analysis of radioactive drugs. With his colleagues at City of Hope, Larry measured and calculated the brake radiation dose result for a source of Y in a humanoid phantom. This study remains as one of the few examples of a comparison of dose estimates and measurement in the nuclear medicine literature. Larry was looking forward to his retirement, spending time with his wife in Arcadia and with his daughters, son-in-laws Bill and Edward and new grandsons in Orange County. Larry was a quiet, thoughtful, hard-working, brilliant yet humble man who also had an appreciation for good humor, culture and serving his community and church. He loved his family (Australian and American), along with the simple things in life; refinishing wooden furniture, gardening, listening to the radio (National Public Radio), music (Frank Sinatra), going to restaurants, and sitting out on the patio reading or completing a crossword puzzle. Larry also was a talented artist and a dedicated environmentalist. Larry was a man of integrity and a true gentleman- always opening doors and carrying bags for his daughters and wife. His bravery during the last weeks of his life will not be forgotten by his family. He will be dearly missed by his proud wife, daughters, family and friends. Services will be held at 10:30AM on August 15th at the United Methodist Church of the Good Shepherd in Arcadia, California. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the City of Hope National Medical Center. "Strange is our situation here upon this earth. Each of us comes for a short visit, not knowing why, yet sometimes seeming to a divine purpose." - Albert Einstein
Published in the Los Angeles Times from Aug. 7 to Aug. 10, 2014
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