Dr. William J. Thaler - 1960
Dr. William John Thaler, recipient of Villanova University's 1960 Mendel Medal, was born December 4th, 1925, in Baltimore, MD. He attended St. James Parochial School in Baltimore and Loyola High School in Towson, MD.
Dr. Thaler was graduated from Loyola College of Baltimore in 1947 and two years later earned his Master's Degree in Science at the Catholic University of America. He took his Doctor of Philosophy Degree in Physics at Catholic University in 1951.
Villanova University's Mendel Medal winner joined the office of Naval Research in 1951 as a member of the Acoustics Branch. Dr. Thaler's specialty is ultrasonic physics - the study of molecules through the use of sound.
He transferred to the Field Projects Branch of the Office of Naval Research in 1952 where his primary work has been in nuclear weapons effects test planning and execution. Dr. Thaler has participated in every nuclear weapons test at Eniwetok and Nevada since 1952.
His recent work on the "Teepee Project" is considered a major breakthrough in our national defense. At the age of 33, Dr. Thaler has perfected what may be one of the most significant of modern inventions: - a radar eye that can spot a rocket blast 5000 miles away almost as soon as the missile leaves the ground.
Last summer in the line of his regular duty, Dr. Thaler directed the Navy's Argus Project in which atom bombs were exploded 300 miles above the South Atlantic. In Washington, some 7000 miles away, a Project Teepee group picked up the shot.
Dr. Thaler is a member of the American Physical Society, the Society of Sigma Xi and the Acoustical Society of America. Among his published works are: Distortion of Progressive Ultrasonic Waves; Ultrasonics-A Tool For Biological Research; A New Method of Measuring Sound Velocity and many others.
He served as a Research Assistant at Catholic University before becoming associated with the Office of Naval Research in 1951. Dr. Thaler is married and the father of four children. The family resides in Silver Spring, Maryland.
Mendel Medal Presentation Program, May 4, 1960. Villanova University, Villanova, Pennsylvania.