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Dr. Maurice V. Barnhill III


1940 - 2016 Obituary Condolences
Dr. Maurice V. Barnhill III Obituary
Dr. Maurice V. Barnhill, III

Dr. Maurice V. Barnhill, III passed away on October 3, 2016 after a short illness. The son of Maurice V. Barnhill, Jr. and Margaret Zerbach Barnhill, Dr. Barnhill was born in Rocky Mount on March 16, 1940. He received his B.S. degree in physics with highest honors in 1962 from the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill as a member of Phi Beta Kappa. He received a Ph.D. in physics from Stanford University in 1967. After one year as a research associate at the University of Virginia, he joined the Department of Physics and Astronomy at the University of Delaware in 1968, primarily pursuing research of high-energy physics. He achieved the rank of full professor in 1987, serving as associate chair of the department for five years. He wrote various publications, including "Student's Guide to Physical Science with Modern Applications." While Dr. Barnhill was in graduate school, the gravitational force on free electrons was investigated experimentally by Prof. W.M. Fairbank and his student F.C. Witteborn at Stanford. Professor Leonard Schiff and then Mr. Barnhill showed that gravitational forces on electrons in metals generated an upward electric field, often cited as the Schiff-Barnhill effect.

Dr. Barnhill, called Maury by his friends, was proud of singing in his church choir and being an outstanding teacher and mentor for many next-generation people. Known for amusing speeches filled with mathematically based humor, he possessed a smile-inducing dry wit. Dr. Barnhill was an innovator who changed Delaware ornithology, contributing as an author, mentor, and observer. He was a co-author of "Birds of Delaware" (2000), and his blog "Where to Find Birds in Delaware" is used by visitors and residents as a guide to locating the best birding venues in the state. He has published in the Journal of the American Birding Association and was an active member of the Delmarva Ornithological Society (DOS) for 47 years. Elected a DOS Fellow in 1976, he served DOS as a member of the Records Committee, Council, and as vice president. Dr. Barnhill was awarded the DOS's "Lifetime Achievement Award" last year.

He is survived by his brother, James H. Barnhill, two nieces, Christina B. Gunther and Caroline E. Barnhill, a sister-in-law, Georgia B. Barnhill, two cousins affectionately thought of as brothers, Dr. Hugh H. Mills and Dr. Michael Mills, two cousins-in-law, TuAhn Mills and Ruth Mills, two great nieces, Sophia Venetianer and Deanna Gunther, a first cousin once removed and God son, affectionately thought of as a nephew, Nathaniel Mills, and the following first cousins once removed, also affectionately thought of as nieces and nephews: Katie Mills, and Dr. Richard Mills and his wife, Saffron Mills, and their children Julian and Phoebe.

There will be a service and reception at the First Presbyterian Church, 292 W. Main Street, Newark, Delaware on November 5, 2016 at 11:00 a.m. Friends and colleagues are invited. In lieu of flowers, donations in his memory can be made to the Delmarva Ornithological Society at http://dos.wildapricot.org/page-1649723, notating "In memory of Dr. Maurice V. Barnhill.
Published in The News Journal on Oct. 30, 2016
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