February 4, 2018
The National Society of Black Physicsts honors Dr. Robert Bragg.
Robert Henry “Pete” Bragg, Jr. was born on August 11, 1919 in Jacksonville, Florida. Bragg served in the military during World War II and then used the money allotted to him from the G.I. Bill to attend Illinois Institute of Technology (IIT), Bragg pursued a career in physics following the war. He received his B.S. degree in physics in 1949 and continued his graduate studies under the tutelage of Frances L. Yost, graduating from IIT in 1951 with his M.S. degree and his thesis on quantum mechanical scattering theories.
Following his graduation, Bragg was hired at the Dover Electroplating Company on the North Side of Chicago, and then the Portland Cement Association Research Laboratory. While working with the latter of these companies, Bragg became an expert in x-ray crystallography and xray diffraction. He was then hired by the Armour Research Foundation at IIT, where he worked for another five years while continuing his graduate studies working under his mentor, Dr. Leonid V. Azaroff. Bragg completed his studies at IIT in 1960 and earned his Ph.D. degree in physics.
His research was in the areas of X-ray crystallography, eutectic solidification, and the properties of carbon materials. Dr. Bragg's major contributions have been in the areas of materials characterization using x-ray diffration and small angle x-ray scattering, and their use as a tool in studying thermally activated processes in materials. Bragg’s investigations in chemistry and physics earned him numerous honors and awards throughout his career. He was named a fellow of the National Society of Black Physicists (NSBP) in 1995 and a professor emeritus of the University of California, Berkeley upon his retirement in 1987.
Dr. Bragg passed away on October 3, 2017 at age 98. NSBP dedicated its annual conference in 2017 to the memory of Professor Bragg.