Dr. Chauncey Starr, Marshall Institute Board Member, Dies at Age 95
April 18, 2007
We regret to announce the passing of the George C. Marshall Institute Board Member, Dr. Chauncey Starr on April 17, 2007.
Dr. Starr, the founder and President Emeritus of the Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI), died in his home in Atherton, Calif., one day after attending a celebration in his honor at the Institute that was attended by more than 200 of his research colleagues.
Dr. Starr?s life-long conviction that science and technology should play an important role in increasing quality of life ultimately led to his pioneering work at EPRI. Following a distinguished career in industry, academia, and government, which included seminal work in both nuclear power and risk assessment, he formed EPRI in 1972 as a research and development organization to address the challenges faced by the electric utility industry. At the time of his death, Dr. Starr was actively working on projects involving risk-based decision analysis of nuclear plant investments and the development of the "SuperGrid" utilizing superconductors to transport electricity with near-zero energy losses.
Dr. Starr?s brilliance and innovative ideas were globally recognized. He was regularly consulted for his insightful opinions on energy issues by world leaders, scientists and energy policy makers.
He published more than 400 technical and scientific articles. He received numerous honors, including the following recognitions:
- Arthur M. Bueche Award (2006): Awarded by the National Academy of Engineering of the National Academies, for leadership in the development of nuclear power, contributions to the creation of the field of risk analysis, and leadership in electric power R&D as the founding president of EPRI
- George C. Laurence Pioneering Award (2006): Awarded by the American Nuclear Society for outstanding pioneering contributions to nuclear reactor safety
- The National Medal of Technology (1990): Awarded by then President George H.W. Bush for contributions to engineering and the electric industry
- United States Energy Award (1990): Awarded by the United States Energy Association for long-term contributions to energy and to international understanding
- Rockwell Medal (1988): Awarded by the International Technology Institute for excellence in technology and contributions to the betterment of mankind
Prior to establishing EPRI, Chauncey Starr was dean of the UCLA School of Engineering and Applied Science (1966-1973). While at UCLA, he directed a research effort on societal safety in technical systems. This work led to a paper titled "Social Benefits versus Social Risks," published in the journal Science in 1969. That paper is widely considered the starting point of the formal technical field of risk analysis.
And prior to UCLA, Dr. Starr had a 20-year industrial career, during which he served as Vice President of Rockwell International and founded and became President of its Atomics International Division.
During World War II, Dr. Starr worked with physicist J. Robert Oppenheimer for the Manhattan Engineering District at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory in Oak Ridge, Tenn., focusing on isotope separation technology. Following World War II, he pioneered the development of nuclear reactor designs, including the first non-military reactor, and the first reactor in space.
Dr. Starr earned an electrical engineering degree in 1932 and a Ph.D. in physics in 1935 from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy, N.Y. He then became a research fellow in physics at Harvard University.
Dr. Starr was a member and past Vice President of the National Academy of Engineering, and a founder and past President of the American Nuclear Society. He is also a member and past Director of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, a Foreign Member of the Royal Swedish Academy of Engineering Sciences, and an Officer of the French Legion of Honor.
He is survived by his wife of 69 years, Doris; a daughter, Ariel Wooley of Los Altos, Calif., a son, Ross Starr of San Diego, Calif., and five grandchildren.