Berlyn Brixner, 98 years old, beloved Father, Grandfather & Great-Grandfather, died peacefully in Albuquerque, NM on 1 August 2009. He is survived by his daughter Annette Stewart of Dallas, TX, daughter Kathleen Brixner & her partner Rita Kerrigan of Albuquerque, NM, granddaughter Patricia Copeland of Addison, TX, granddaughter Tanya Copeland & her husband, Tsherling Tobgay, who reside in Honolulu, HI with their two children, his great-granddaughters Zenden Lhamo & Rinzin Zangmo. He donated his body to UNM Medical School and, at his request, wished no funeral nor memorial arrangements be made. Hailing from El Paso, TX, he attended the University of Texas, worked & studied photography under Willis W. White, MD, who operated a pathology laboratory in El Paso. He moved to Albuquerque during the Dust Bowl & Great Depression era to work for the US Conservation Department as a regional photographer, documenting the ravages of drought on New Mexico, pictures & notes on file at the US National Archives. He was an enthusiastic amateur photographer, much of his photography resides at the Los Alamos Historical Society, Museum of Santa Fe & the National Hispanic Cultural Center. When WWII began, he joined the secret Los Alamos National Laboratory's Manhattan Project in 1942, designing & engineering extremely high speed cameras under Professor Julian Mack. Berlyn Brixner took photos of the first atomic bomb test at Trinity, NM in 1945. After the war, he stayed on at LANL, heading the Optical Engineering Group until his retirement. He contributed a chapter to the book Behind Tall Fences about the war years, authored & coauthored some 45 papers describing major developments in camera engineering, optical instrumentation and fabrication techniques. His scientific work & photography are on file at LANL Historic Archives. His optical lens design was used to construct a high resolution telescope mounted on the Mariner 1969 & 1970 spacecrafts to Mars. He received the E.I. du Pont gold medal from the Society of Motion Picture & Television Engineers and the Robert Gordon Memorial Award from the Society of Photo-Optical Instrumentation Engineers. He was an amateur Egyptologist, a world traveler, visiting Egypt in 1956 and '58 and giving camera & optical engineering papers at various conferences in numerous countries over the years. At age 93, five years after his beloved wife Audrey Chew Brixner died, he moved to Albuquerque.
Published on: Sun August 09, 2009