Robert “Pete” Bragg (PHYS ’49, M.S. ’51, Ph.D. ’60) to be honored by IIT for professional achievement

The annual Alumni Awards are an IIT tradition to recognize those who made notable contributions to their communities, professions, and the university. This year, the luncheon ceremony will be held Friday, April 19, 2013 and will recognize 11 winners in eight categories.

Robert “Pete” Bragg is among the four winners of this year’s Professional Achievement Award, which honors outstanding achievement in any professional field. This award honors alumni whose achievements in their fields have brought distinction to themselves as well as credit to the university. Recipients have achieved great success as recognized by any or all of the following qualities:

  • Membership in peer-elected professional organizations marking the highest level of achievement in a given industry
  • Industry awards and special recognition received
  • Leadership positions held

Read on for more about Bragg and look for new winner profiles in IIT Today each Monday, Wednesday, and Friday until the event.

B.S. Physics (’49), M.S. Physics (’51), Ph.D. Physics (’60), Illinois Institute of Technology

Bragg graduated from Tilden Technical High School and Woodrow Wilson Junior College in Chicago. His education was interrupted by WWII and US Army service in the Pacific, where he received a direct commission from General Douglas MacArthur. After the war, he used his GI Bill to attend IIT completing his undergraduate and M.S. graduate studies in physics. While at IIT Research Institute he earned his Ph.D. for significant advances in the use of X-ray crystallography to characterize the structure of materials.

Bragg then joined the Lockheed Research Laboratory in Palo Alto and his success in developing high performance aerospace materials earned him a promotion to Manager of the Physical Metallurgy Department.

In 1969, he joined the University of California at Berkeley as full professor in the Department of Materials Science and concurrently as faculty senior scientist in the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. For over 20 years Professor Bragg taught courses and conducted research, and at various times chaired the Department and served on National and International Committees, including those of the National Research Council and National Science Foundation. He attended International conferences in Europe and Japan and spent a sabbatical year in France. He became Professor Emeritus in 1987, but remained active, eg. A Fulbright Research Fellowship in Nigeria and a visiting professorship in Japan.

Proudest Innovation
“Few challenges exceed the difficulty of characterizing the defective structure of real materials. As an applied physicist, I am proud of my contributions to the development of X-ray crystallographic techniques for materials characterization.”

Thanks to IIT
“IIT gave me a solid foundation in electronics and physics that was the basis of my successful career. It enabled me to grasp new concepts quickly and teach myself emerging fields from the original literature.”

Favorite Memories of IIT
“When I came to IIT the campus was full of veterans eager to get on with their education. The classes were full yet small, and because of the maturity of the students the intellectual stimulation was unparalleled. I was also drawn to the music and arts scene in Chicago. I loved jazz and blues and once wanted to be a tap dancer.”