- Category : 1915-births
- Type : ME
- Profile : 6/2 - Role Model / Hermit
- Definition : Single
- Incarnation Cross : LAX Incarnation 2
American physicist at the University of California credited with inventing the neoprene wetsuit, which helped to revolutionize scuba diving. He thus became known as the "father of the wetsuit."
A graduate of Ohio's Miami University, he received his doctorate from California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, California, in 1941. He worked at the US Naval Ordnance Laboratory during World War II, where he researched naval mines. In 1943, he was recruited by Robert Oppenheimer to join the Manhattan Project at the Los Alamos Laboratory. There, he worked with scientists including Luis Alvarez, John von Neumann and George Kistiakowsky on the development of the high explosives and exploding-bridgewire detonators required by atomic bombs.
After the war, Bradner took a position studying high-energy physics at the University of California, Berkeley, under Luis Alvarez. Bradner investigated the problems encountered by frogmen staying in cold water for long periods of time. He developed a neoprene suit which could trap the water between the body and the neoprene, and thereby keep them warm.
Bradner worked on the 1951 Operation Greenhouse nuclear test series on Enewetak Atoll in the Marshall Islands. He joined the Scripps Institute of Geophysics and Planetary Physics as a geophysicist in 1961. He remained there for the rest of his career, becoming a full professor in 1963, and retiring in 1980. In retirement, he continued to work both on oceanographic research, as well as on the DUMAND deep ocean neutrino astronomy project.
Bradner met his future wife, Marjorie Hall Bradner, who was also working as a secretary on the Manhattan Project at the Los Alamos Laboratory. The couple were married in Los Alamos in 1943. Security at the top secret facility was so tight that neither Bradner's nor Hall's parents were allowed to attend the ceremony, though Oppenheimer was among the wedding guests. The couple remained together for over 65 years until she died on 10 April 2008 at the age of 89. Hugh Bradner died at the age of 92 at his home in San Diego, California, on 5 May 2008 from complications of pneumonia.