Actions of MIT’s 15th president have ‘grown to inspire generations,’ Reif says.
Professor Emeritus Allan F. Henry of nuclear engineering, who came to MIT as a visiting professor in 1968 and stayed for 32 years, died of kidney failure at the MIT infirmary on January 28. He was 76 years old.
Professor Henry earned the BS in chemistry (1945), and the MS (1947) and PhD (1950) in physics, all from Yale University. Upon graduation from Yale, Professor Henry volunteered to drive an ambulance with the British troops in India after knee injuries precluded him from serving in the US Army. After the war, he joined the Bettis Atomic Power Laboratory as a senior scientist. From 1954-69 he was the manager of reactor theory and methods at Bettis.
Professor Henry, who developed mathematical models to describe neutron behavior in reactors, retired in 1995 but continued to teach until 1999. He was a member of the American Nuclear Society and wrote the book Nuclear Reactor Analysis (MIT Press, 1975). He chaired the Department of Nuclear Engineering Committee on Graduate Students and served on the Committee on Graduate School Policy.
A Boston resident, Professor Henry twice won the Outstanding Teacher Award in nuclear engineering (1974 and 1986). He received the E.P. Wigner Award from the American Nuclear Society and the Technical Achievement Award from the Reactor Physics and Mathematics and Computation Division of the American Nuclear Society, both in 1992.
He was a fellow of the American Nuclear Society and served on its board of directors. He was elected to the National Academy of Engineering in 1985 and served on advisory boards to several national laboratories.
Born in Philadelphia on January 12, 1925, Professor Henry was an accomplished classical pianist as a child, receiving several awards for his artistry, including the Pressor Award and the Chopin Award.
He is survived by two brothers, E. James Jr. of Dallas and Thomas H. of Huntington, WV. His family suggests donations in his honor be made for a worthy student in the Department of Nuclear Engineering. An MIT memorial service will be scheduled for the spring.
A version of this article appeared in MIT Tech Talk on February 14, 2001.