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Donald Hornig

Donald Hornig was born in Milwaukee, Wisconsin on 17 March 1920.

He received his undergraduate degree in 1940 and his doctoral degree in physical chemistry from Harvard University in 1943. Hornig then worked at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute, and later at Los Alamos where he developed and conceived a triggered spark-gap switch to initiate the explosive lenses used to set off the implosion in the plutonium device.

Hornig held teaching positions at Brown University and Harvard

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University, and joined Princeton University as chairman of the Department of Chemistry. In 1964, Hornig became President Johnson’s science advisor and served in that role until 1969.

Hornig is the recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship, a Fulbright Fellowship and the Charles Lathrop Parsons award of the American Chemical Society.