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W8CWN was the callsign of H. Richard Crane, a distinguished professor of physics at the University of Michigan and one of the founders of the Ann Arbor Hands-On Museum. Below is the text of Dr. Crane's obituary as found on the University of Michigan website. We obtained this call to honor Dr. Crane and plan to use it for some of our operations at the Ann Arbor Hands-On Museum.

Dan Romanchik, KB6NU, Trustee


H. Richard Crane was one of the most distinguished experimental physicists of the 20th century who was presented with the National Medal of Science by President Ronald Reagan in 1986, died April 19, 2007.

(Photo by Jens Zorn)

Crane’s early work on nuclear physics and the physics of accelerators culminated in the invention of the race track synchrotron, a design emulated by almost every particle accelerator since 1950. His pioneering measurements on the gyro-magnetic ratio of the free electron are a cornerstone of quantum electrodynamics. His analyses of helical structures in molecules continue to be significant in genetic research.

Crane was born Nov. 4, 1907 in Turlock, Calif. He married Florence Rohmer LeBaron in 1932. He earned a Bachelor of Science degree and in 1934 his doctorate degree, cum laude, from the California Institute of Technology.

Crane was a member of the U-M physics department from 1934 until his retirement in 1978 and served as department chairman from 1964-72. During World War II, Crane worked as a research associate on radar at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and as a physicist on the proximity fuse at the Carnegie Institution of Washington. He served as the director of proximity fuse research at U-M and as director of the atomic research project for the Manhattan District. He also was consultant for the National Defense Research Commission and Office of Scientific Research and Development.

Crane was a member of the National Academy of Sciences. He earned awards and served in key roles for professional groups including service as president of the Midwestern Universities Research Association from 1957-1960, as president of the American Association of Physics Teachers in 1965; and as chairman of the board of governors for the American Institute of Physics from 1971-75.

Crane was a columnist for The Physics Teacher, writing on how things work. That led to a book and best seller for the American Institute of Physics, and for the Hands-On-Museum in Ann Arbor.

His hobbies included building and using ham radio equipment, traveling, hiking, camping, raising orchids and cacti, photography, fly fishing, writing, teaching, volunteering and building exhibits for the Hands On Museum. He also supported technical education at Washtenaw Community College. Crane’s wife Florence died in 1993; the couple’s daughter Janet died in 1960.

Survivors include: daughter Carol Kitchens (Fred), of Chelsea; and son George Crane (Ann) of Los Altos, Calif.; and five grand children—Fred Kitchens, Anne Kitchens, Susan Kitchens Wolding, James Crane and Beth Crane-Tarcea.

Contributions in Crane’s honor may be made to the U-M Physics Department H. R. Crane Fellowship, or the Ann Arbor Area Community Foundation.

142042 Last modified: 2011-01-22 00:51:54, 3781 bytes

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