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Sidney Langer

by Susan J. Ainsworth
January 27, 2014 | A version of this story appeared in Volume 92, Issue 4

Sidney Langer, 87, a retired chemist with nuclear energy expertise, died at home in La Jolla, Calif., on Aug. 18, 2013, after a battle with lung cancer.

Born in Brooklyn, N.Y., Langer served in the Marine Corps from 1943 to 1946. He served as a radar section chief on the island of Tinian and in the invasion of Okinawa and attained the rank of sergeant.

After the war, Langer earned a B.S. in chemistry cum laude from New York University in 1949 and a Ph.D. in chemistry at Illinois Institute of Technology in 1955.

Langer worked at Oak Ridge National Laboratory in Tennessee for six years and was a senior staff scientist at General Atomics Co. in La Jolla for 23 years.

Subsequently, Langer worked for the EG&G New Production Reactor Project Support Office at the Department of Energy headquarters in Washington, D.C., from 1984 until 1985. He then spent four years as the principal program specialist with the Three Mile Island-2 Accident Evaluation Program at the Idaho National Engineering Laboratory.

He joined Science Applications International Corp. in 1989, working principally on safeguards and safety issues at the company’s Rocky Flats Plant. He retired in 1993.

Langer published more than 45 technical papers and lectured extensively on the biological effects of radiation.

He was a fellow of the American Nuclear Society (ANS), serving both on its board of directors and as chair of its Materials Science & Technology Division. He received both its Meritorious Service Award and Exceptional Service Award in 1975 and the Outstanding Service Award from the ANS San Diego Section in 1983.

Langer was a member of Sigma Xi and an emeritus member of ACS, joining in 1948.

He was a world traveler, enjoyed playing tennis, and was an avid skier, camper, and backpacker.

Langer is survived by his daughter, Gail Reznik; and two grandchildren.

Obituary notices of no more than 300 words may be sent to Susan J. Ainsworth at and should include an educational and professional history.



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