William H. Nelson | April 4, 2011 Issue - Vol. 89 Issue 14 | Chemical & Engineering News
Volume 89 Issue 14 | p. 49 | Obituaries
Issue Date: April 4, 2011

William H. Nelson

Department: ACS News
Keywords: Obituaries, People

William H. Nelson, 67, a Georgia State University professor, died on Dec. 19, 2010, from a heart attack.

Born in Huntsville, Ala., Nelson earned a B.S. in physics from Auburn University in 1966 and a doctorate in physics from Duke University in 1970.

After holding positions at Hollins College in Roanoke, Va., and at Duke, he joined Georgia State as an assistant professor of physics in 1974. He was tenured in 1981 and became full professor in 1988. He served as acting chair of the physics and astronomy department from 1992 until 1994 and chair of the department from 1994 until 2004. He joined the university’s College of Arts & Sciences dean’s office as an associate dean in 2004. He also served as interim chair of the department of mathematics and statistics for much of 2009.

His research focused primarily on radiation damage to molecules in condensed media, radiation biophysics, and electron paramagnetic resonance spectroscopy and electron nuclear double resonance spectroscopy. He had recently published papers in ACS’s Journal of Physical Chemistry A and in Radiation Research. Funding for his work came from the National Cancer Institute, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, the National Science Foundation, and the Department of Energy. He joined ACS in 1997.

Nelson devoted much energy to mentoring students, providing guidance to colleagues, and promoting the growth and development of Georgia State.

He is survived by his wife of 39 years, Joyce; daughters, Mary Scott Foreman and Sarah Nelson Wade; son, John; and five grandchildren.

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