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William C. Parkinson

William C. Parkinson, age 94, passed away on Monday, March 19, 2012.

Professor Parkinson was born in Jarvis, Ontario, Canada to Charles F. and Euphemia A. (Johnston) Parkinson. Professor Parkinson, a resident of Ann Arbor for 80 years, graduated from the University of Michigan where he received a B.S.E. degree in 1940, a M.S. in 1941 and a PhD in 1958.

He was a member of the Physics department at the University for 40 years, retiring in 1988 as an Emeritus Professor of Physics. He was director of the University of Michigan Cyclotron Laboratory from 1962 to 1977.

From 1942 to 1946, Professor Parkinson served as a Physicist at the Applied Physics Laboratory, Johns Hopkins University, Silver Spring, Maryland. He spent a year in Europe during World War II for the Office of Scientific Research and Development. He was awarded a Certificate of Merit from the OSRD and an Ordnance Development Award from the Bureau of Ordinance, U.S. Navy.

He was a Fellow of the American Physical Society, a member of the Biophysical Society, The Bioelectromagnetics Society and a Quondam Member of Trinity College, Cambridge University, Cambridge, England. He was a Fulbright Research Scholar at the Cavendish Laboratory, Cambridge University 1952-1953. He was an honorary member of the Graduate "M" Club and Senior Member of the Flounders water polo club.

He served on many University and National committees, including the Willow Run Executive Committee, the Board in Control of Intercollegiate Athletics and many in the Department of Physics, the College of LSA and the Rackham School of Graduate Studies. He was at various times a member of the Physics Advisory Panel of the National Research Council, the sub-panel on Management and costs of the nuclear program, a consultant on Graduate Science Facilities, and Chairman of the National Science Foundation fellowship evaluation committee. He was a consultant to the Los Alamos National Laboratory, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Lawrence Berkeley Laboratory and the Argonne National Laboratory where he was a former chairman of the Physics Advisory Committee.

Professor Parkinson remained active in research well into the new millennium. His early research was in the area of nuclear physics and was pioneer in developing high-resolution nuclear spectroscopy using cyclotrons. He was the inventor of the technique for high-resolution neutron spectroscopy using cyclotrons. He invented the electronic judging and timing system used to judge national and international swimming competitions.

During the 1990's his interest turned to biophysics and particularly the effect of low frequency magnetic fields on mammalian systems and on plant growth.

He was preceded in death by his wife of 47 years, Martha Capron Parkinson and by his two sisters Brenda Ayers and Gladys Holben. He is survived by a daughter, Martha R. Parkinson of Ann Arbor and a son, William Reid (Deborah) Parkinson of Woodstock, Georgia, two grandchildren, Amanda L. (Gregg) Cantelmo and William Geoffrey (Tiffany) Parkinson of Juneau, Alaska.

A warm friendship with Doris Terwilliger of Ann Arbor enlivened the last 20 years of his life.