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Carl Gamertsfelder ’35

Physics and mathematics major

One of the scientists who ushered in the nuclear age, Carl Gamertsfelder, Ph.D., worked alongside Enrico Fermi when the world’s first controlled nuclear chain reaction occurred in Chicago on December 2, 1942. For a time, Gamertsfelder worked with the Manhattan Project, which eventually led to the construction of the first atomic bomb by the United States in the summer of 1945.  

Other highlights from Gamertsfelder’s career include helping design the first atomic reactor and conducting research that led to utilizing nuclear power for the Apollo space mission’s Lunar Excursion Module—also known as the moon landing vehicle. His later work on the effects of radiation on humans earned him recognition as one of the true founders of the field of health physics.

Gamertsfelder received the North Central College Outstanding Alumni Award in 1975.