EntrepreneurJ. Lawrence Cassingham

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Cassingham worked as a newspaperman, a movie extra in Hollywood, and then as a meteorologist in the U.S. Army Air Corps during World War II. After the war he was an entrepreneur, inventing the first practical (powered by standard dry cell batteries) portable Geiger counter in the 1940s, and later the nucliometer — to capitalize on the “uranium boom.” Since he was one of the few nuclear materials experts in the private sector, and lived near Hollywood, he was often recruited as a technical adviser for 1950s “atomic” movies and adventure TV shows.

Dad during his Army days during World War II (family photo).

After retiring in the late 1960s, Cassingham moved to northern California, but was lured into a second career in the Silicon Valley, consulting at chip fabrication plants to reduce the number of circuits damaged by static electricity — a major problem in the 1970s and 80s. All his life, Cassingham loved science, especially astronomy, so he really liked it when his son got a job at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory and could get him current “inside” information. Summary: writer, interest in science, entrepreneur, high tech electronics — the perfect blood line for the creator of This is True. My dad, J.L. “Larry” Cassingham, died in Northern California on December 23, the day after his 89th birthday.

From This is True for 23 December 2007