Index of Memorial Resolutions and Biographical Sketches

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Bernhard Bruno Kinsey was born June 15, 1910, in London, England, and died in Austin, Texas, on November 22, 1995.

Kinsey earned his BA in 1932 from Cambridge University while studying and working in the laboratory of Lord Rutherford, discoverer of the atomic nucleus. Lord Rutherford oversaw Kinsey's first publication, "Transmutation of Lithium of Protons and Ions of the Heavy Hydrogen Isotope," which appeared in Proceedings of the Royal Society of England in 1933.

After graduation from Cambridge, Kinsey was offered a Commonwealth Fellowship (equivalent to a Rhodes Scholarship) at the University of California. There, Kinsey worked on the earliest linear accelerator designs with E. O. Lawrence and J. Robert Oppenheimer from 1933 to 1936.

Kinsey left the Lawrence Laboratory to return to Cambridge, earning his PhD in 1937. From 1936 to 1939, he lectured at the University of Liverpool. From 1939 to 1942, during the German threat to England in World War II, Kinsey pioneered airborne microwave radar technology as a scientific officer with the Ministry of Aircraft Production. He also continued his work as a research scientist at Cambridge until 1944.

After World War II, Kinsey migrated to Canada to research nuclear structure using neurons as a probe. From 1944 to 1954, Kinsey worked with the Canadian National Research Council, Atomic Energy of Canada Limited, and Chalk River Laboratories, producing much of the work for which he is still known. His research during this time brought him fellowships in the American Physical Society (1952) and the Royal Society of Canada (1954), while also establishing Chalk River as the leading Canadian nuclear physics research facility.

The University of California at Berkeley hosted Kinsey as a guest researcher from 1954 to 1955, and, immediately afterward, he crossed the Atlantic once more, serving as the deputy chief scientific officer at the Atomic Energy Research Establishment in Harwell, England, from 1955 to 1958. At Harwell, Kinsey continued his accelerator research, using protons as a probe.

Around this time, the University of Texas at Austin began the development of its physics program, focusing growth in general relativity and high energy nuclear physics. Tom Bonner of Rice University suggested to Emmett Hudspeth that Bernhard Kinsey's established international reputation might convince the University of Texas administration to fund a major nuclear physics research laboratory in conjunction with the new development. Hudspeth became instrumental in the recruitment effort, and in 1958 Kinsey joined UT Austin as professor of physics and director of the Center for Nuclear Studies.

While Kinsey's gruff and bearish appearance and memory for minute details could easily intimidate young professors, his colleagues describe him as a kind man with an irrepressible sense of humor, a love for animals, and a pencil precariously dangling from the corner of his mouth almost all the time. His reputation as "some sort of eccentric" often preceding him, Kinsey was regarded with considerable awe by young researchers and professors even in the earliest stages of his career. Although he has been described as "inclined towards disrespect for authority, particularly if that was in the least restrictive," Kinsey enjoyed people and made a point of putting them at ease. Many colleagues and students have described kindness and advice he offered that made them feel like part of his family and that revealed him as a truly caring teacher and friend. Family was important to Kinsey, and he always took particular pride in his children's and grandchildren's accomplishments.

Kinsey retired as director of the Center of Nuclear Studies in 1969, and from the physics department and UT Austin in 1976, being named professor emeritus that same year.

Kinsey's enthusiasm for life stayed with him after his retirement. He read avidly and followed world affairs, traveled, participated in swimming exercise programs at UT, and dabbled in the invention arena. He cooled his home with an improved-efficiency air conditioning unit he designed, and he penned A Bunch of Narcissus, a book he described as "a story of bigotry and megalomania in a Texas university." Failing health and advancing age did not slow Kinsey down. His regular long-distance visits to friends and relatives inspired those around him and showed many how one could make the best of life and enjoy it to the fullest no matter what the circumstances.

Kinsey is survived by his wife, Marian Hall Kinsey; children Jennifer Modigliani and husband Julian Rangel of Victoria, B.C., Nicholas and wife Andree of Quebec, and Peter and wife Katalina of Victoria, B.C.; step-children Clare Dyer and husband Jack Wilkins of Austin, and James Dyer of Berkeley; grandchildren Leah, Simone, Jessica, Jacob, Maia, Josee, Eve, Thomas, Nicholas, and Natasha.


Larry R. Faulkner, President
The University of Texas at Austin


John R. Durbin, Secretary
The General Faculty

This memorial resolution was prepared by a special committee consisting of Dr. J. W. Jagger (retired, UT Austin), Dr. V. D. Mistry of Austin, Texas, and Professors A. P. French (MIT), Austin M. Gleeson (chair, UT Austin), and Peter J. Riley (UT Austin).

Distributed to the Dean of the College of Natural Sciences, the Executive Vice President and Provost, and the President on December 7, 1999. Copies are available on request from the Office of the General Faculty, FAC 22, F9500. This resolution is posted under "Memorials" at: .