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Robert Bacher, 99; was physicist with Manhattan Project

PASADENA, Calif. -- Robert Bacher, a physicist who worked at Los Alamos Laboratory during the Manhattan Project and later became one of the first members of the US Atomic Energy Commission, died Thursday at his home in Montecito, near Santa Barbara. He was 99.

Born in Loudonville, Ohio, Dr. Bacher earned his bachelor's degree from the University of Michigan and his doctorate in 1930. He joined the faculty at Columbia University in 1934 and was named the director of the Laboratory of Nuclear Studies at Cornell University a year later.

He was affiliated with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology's Radiation Laboratory and the top-secret Manhattan Project to build an atomic bomb at Los Alamos from 1940 to 1945. Once the bomb-making production phase began, he headed up the bomb physics division

Dr. Bacher also served on the US Science Advisory Committee during the Eisenhower administration.

He joined the faculty of the California Institute of Technology in 1949 and remained there for the rest of his career. He served appointments as chairman of the school's division of physics, mathematics and astronomy and as vice president and provost before taking emeritus status in 1976.

Dr. Bacher helped initiate the creation of the Owens Valley Radio Observatory, one of the leading radio astronomy facilities in the world.

He was president of the American Physical Society in 1964 and president of the International Union of Pure and Applied Physics from 1969 to 1972.

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