Issue Date: November 9, 2009
David F. Pickett Jr.
David F. Pickett Jr., 73, a Harvest, Ala., physical chemist and aerospace batteries consultant, died of cancer on July 24.
Born in Benjamin, Texas, Pickett served in the Navy from 1956 to 1961. He then earned a B.S. in chemistry in 1962, an M.A. in chemistry in 1965, and a Ph.D. in physical chemistry in 1970—all from the University of Texas, Austin.
He began his career at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, in Dayton, Ohio, working in the Air Force Aero Propulsion Laboratory. While there, he invented and patented the alcohol electrochemical impregnation process for the manufacture of nickel-plated rechargeable alkaline batteries.
Pickett joined Hughes Aircraft’s Space & Communications Group in 1978, allowing him to integrate the alcohol electrochemical impregnation process into a Ni-H2 battery product there. At Hughes, he became manager of the battery product area and helped establish the company’s cell and battery manufacturing facility in Torrance, Calif.
After leaving Hughes, Pickett became a consultant to battery developers and users.
During his 30-year career, Pickett’s patented work contributed to the development of several satellite and shuttle batteries used in the U.S. space program. Pickett received the S. D. Heron Award for Exceptional Scientific Achievement in the Advancement of Aerospace Battery Technology in 1974.
Pickett was an emeritus member of ACS, joining in 1966. He was also a member of the Electrochemical Society and the American Institute of Aeronautics & Astronautics.
Pickett was an avid fisherman and a diehard supporter of his alma mater, UT Austin.
He is survived by his wife of 38 years, B. Christine.
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