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William Parrish
(born 1915-    )

William E. Parrish was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 1915, the son of Russian Jewish immigrants Fannie and Max Parrish, proprietors of a shoe shop. Growing up in Philadelphia, he no doubt encountered the mineral displays at the Philadelphia Academy of Science, and discovered a love of mineralogy and mineral collecting. He studied crystallography at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where he received his PhD in 1940. He continued as a Research Assiciate at MIT while serving as an Instructor in Mineralogy and Crystallography at the University of Pennsylvania from 1939 to 1942. In 1942 he was appointed by the War Department to the post of Chief Technologist, and charged with developing methods of manufacturing quartz oscillator plates for use in radio communication by the Armed Forces.

In 1943 Parrish joined Philips Laboratories as Chief of the X-ray and Crystallography Section. There he developed many of the instruments and methods which were marketed by Philips Electronics Instruments and were widely adopted by laboratories around the world. In 1968 Parrish was appointed Chief of the Materials Characterization Branch, NASA Electronics Research Center, to develop structural methods for analyzing electronic materials. Parrish joined the IBM Research Division in San Jose, California in 1970, as Manager of the Crystallography and Microstructure Department. He set up diffraction and fluorescence methods for characterizing new materials, including thin films. A large number of analytical programs were developed which were marketed by IBM, and Parrish was recognized with an IBM Outstanding Contribution Award.

In 1977, Parrish became interested in the new storage ring radiation sources and began studies at the Stanford Synchrotron Radiation Laboratory with Professor Michael Hart of Bristol, England. Diffraction topography was used to study garnet films grown on garnet substrates for magnetic bubble memory devices. The new techniques he developed were applied to crystal structure refinements, anomalous scattering, texture analysis, precision lattice parameter determination, quantitative analysis, and depth profiling of thin films.

Parrish is the author of about 300 papers in virtually all aspects of powder diffraction, including a number of articles in American Mineralogist in the 1940's, some of them co-authored with mineralogist Sam Gordon of the Philadelphia Academy of Sciences. He organized the first World Directory of X-ray Crystallographers and was Chairman of the IUCr Committee to establish the Journal of Applied Crystallography. He was Secretary-Treasurer of the American Crystallographic Association and a member of the USA National Committee of Crystallography.

SMITH, D.K. (1988) The 1987 J.D. Hanawalt Award for contributions to powder diffraction analysis. Commission on Powder Diffraction, International Union of Crystallography, Newsletter no. 1, January 1988, p. 5.
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