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Computer Authority Bruce Waxman Dies

Dr. Bruce D. Waxman, 67, a long-time contributor to major developments in biomedical computing, cartography and image processing, died on Apr. 12 after a struggle with cancer.

As executive secretary of the advisory committee on computers in research at NIH from 1961 to 1965, he helped shape computer activities at NIH in the earliest days of biomedical computing. "In the formative early years of NIH-sponsored computing, Bruce was a splendid and encouraging guide to many a young investigator testing the waters of the complex NIH grants system," noted Dr. Donald Lindberg, director, National Library of Medicine.

Waxman was principally responsible for NIH's decision to fund the LINC (Laboratory Instrument Computer) Evaluation Program, which made it possible for LINC computers, then under development at MIT, to be built and placed in the laboratories of more than a dozen distinguished biomedical scientists around the country.

"The real impact of this program was that within each of our laboratories and research institutions, we spawned a whole generation of young scientists and colleagues who began looking at science in a completely different way," said Dr. George Malindzak of NIEHS. "The computer was now more friendly and approachable."

Waxman went on to become chief of the Special Research Resources Branch at NIH from 1965 to 1968.

He later worked at the Defense Mapping Agency, where he was responsible for innovations in cartography and image processing, with applications that ranged from identifying narcotics production sites to do-it-yourself mapping workstations.

In his last years, Waxman was employed by the University Research Foundation, where he was instrumental in establishing the foundation's Microelectronics Laboratory in Columbia, Md.

Former NIH deputy director and acting director Dr. William Raub said, "I've never known anyone more adept at getting others excited about and working on his vision du jour--even when it was not a great idea! Also, as I told Bruce many times over the years, I still carry around and make use of a host of Waxman maxims--e.g., 'If you don't have at least three motives for the action you're about to take, stop; you probably haven't thought it through.'" Added Dr. Philip S. Chen, Jr., NIH associate director for intramural affairs, "Bruce was very willing to respond to help those in need, in both the personal and professional spheres--the former in aiding children in need of a hospitable home, the latter in aiding placement of capable younger scientists. By example, he inspired colleagues to do something that would be of enduring value to humanity."

Waxman is survived by Shirley, his wife of 46 years, sons David, Harold, James, Robert, and Michael, daughter Deborah, seven grandchildren, his mother Ida, and his brother Edward.

ORS' Tom DeKorte Mourned

Francis T. "Tom" DeKorte died May 3 after a short illness.

He was born in Boston. At age 17, he enlisted in the U.S. Navy and served in the Naval Submarine Service during the Korean and Vietnam wars. He retired as a chief petty officer after 13 years of active duty and 13 years in the Naval Reserves.

Francis T. "Tom" DeKorte

After completing his active naval service, he was employed at the Navy Shipyard in Washington, D.C., as an electrician. In 1970, he transferred to NIH as an electrician in the maintenance engineering section. In 1982, he was promoted to electrical engineering technician in the office of the chief of the maintenance engineering section.

DeKorte had completed 43 years of federal service when he retired on Feb. 1, 1998. He was the first wage grade employee at NIH to receive the NIH Director's Award. He also received Outstanding Performance Awards and many other honors and letters of commendation.

He is survived by his wife Tina, a son Stephen, two nieces and two nephews.

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