Richard David Albert
August 9, 1922 - March 12, 2013
Resident of Danville
Born August 9, 1922 in Elmira, N.Y. to Samuel Albert (owner of a clothing store in Salamaca, New York) and Irene Mitchell Albert (piano player/song plugger). Irene died shortly after giving birth to her only child, so Richard was raised in Elmira by his paternal aunts, Nat and Gert, and grandmother, Bertha La Franz.
He was a devoted husband (to his wife Marjorie since 1946), father, physicist, and inventor. Richard graduated from the University of Michigan
in Physics. During World War II, he volunteered for the Navy, was made an ensign, and honorably discharged.
He performed calculations for the Manhattan project. Through the GI Bill, he enrolled at Columbia University where he earned a Ph.D. in Nuclear Physics. His experiments confirmed Fermi's "Theory of Beta Nuclear Decay." Among his Columbia colleagues and friends were Luis Alvarez, Nobel Laureate and one of the inventors of radar, and Harold Brown, future Secretary of Defense, to whom he traded a homemade television to obtain his first automobile. Dick worked for Westinghouse in Pittsburgh, PA, then General Electric in Schenectady, NY.
In 1955, he moved to Danville, CA, recruited by the Lawrence Radiation Laboratory at Livermore to work on projects for nuclear-powered airplanes and rockets. For the "Rad" Lab, he also journeyed to remote corners of the globe to measure the dispersion of neutrons by nuclear tests. In the early 1960s, he published much-sought-after articles about sub-atomic particles. Moving to the Space Sciences Laboratory at the University of California at Berkeley, he designed rocket experiments that identified the charged particles responsible for the aurora borealis. He was listed in "Who's Who in Science" and "Who's Who in the World".
In 1981, Richard launched his own corporation, Digiray, and built the first working x-ray systems in his garage. He wrote twenty patents dealing with his Reverse Geometry X-ray (RGX) filmless, digital imaging technology, which combined television scanning with computer controls and was featured in Popular Science and CNN. Under his leadership, Digiray sold RGX systems to the U.S. Air Force, NASA, NSA, British Intelligence, Saudi Aramco, and Kobe Steel of Japan. He allowed Kodak to license his patent for printing x-ray filter grids. This technology is used in hospitals throughout the world to produce clearer x-rays of the chest.
Dick's hobbies included acting in plays, giving speeches at Toastmasters clubs, throwing balls to his Golden Retrievers, and performing jazz tunes on the saxophone while his wife played the drums.
During the last year of his life, he struggled with Alzheimers and resided with his wife at The Kensington Assisted Living in Walnut Creek, where he passed away peacefully at the age of 90.
He is survived by his wife, Marjorie Lee Albert, and four children: John (wife Mehria) of Pleasant Hill, CA; Charles F. (wife Christine L.) of Florence, AL; Thomas (wife Sarah) of San Ramon, CA; and Caroline of Seattle, WA. And four grandchildren in Alabama: Ryan D. Albert (wife Tisha B.) of Killen; Courtney E. (husband Timothy W. Sherrill) of Center Star; and Danielle N. Albert of Florence. And one grandson in Kent, WA: Cyoon McBride (wife Nasrin). And four great-grandchildren in the Florence area: Kathryn N., Alexis K., Scarlett G., and Abigail G. And three great-grandchildren in Kent, WA: Jabar, Zohra, and Zoheb.
A family celebration of his life will be held in Briones, CA on March 19, 2013.
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