Current Team Members

In memory of Keith Boyer

Keith Boyer, PhD
Professor Emeritus
(1915 - 2009)

Keith Boyer (1915 - 2009) passed away peacefully at his home in Santa Fe, NM on Wednesday, November 11 at the age of 94 following a final bout with pneumonia. Keith lived a full and rewarding life. The fourth of seven children, he was born to William Augustus and Geneva Adelaide Boyer on July 11, 1915 and raised in the mining town of Eureka, Utah. He studied electrical engineering at the University of Utah, then moved to New Jersey where he worked on radar at Bell Laboratories during WWII. In 1942 he married his Utah sweetheart Beth MacArthur in Morristown, NJ. In 1950, a year after receiving his Doctorate in physics from MIT, he traveled west to New Mexico with Beth and three children to work at Los Alamos Scientific Laboratories (now named LANL). In Los Alamos, he was blessed with three more children and a wonderful place to raise them. Work there provided him with many challenging yet rewarding technical projects. In 1974 he was awarded a citation from the Atomic Energy Commission for technical contributions while at Los Alamos. His final position at LANL was as Associate Director for Advanced Technologies, which allowed him to identify and oversee projects of more far-reaching impact such as nuclear power safety. He remained at the labs until his formal retirement in 1982. Keith continued to work into his nineties pursuing aggressive new objectives such as X-ray lasers and holographic methods capable of imaging proteins, molecules, and atoms. Much of this work was done at the University of Illinois Chicago. He also continued through the years to collaborate with many LANL personnel in a second career in research and engineering. In the spring of 2006 he was co-awarded the Los Alamos National Laboratory Medal, which is the highest honor the laboratory can bestow on an individual.

Keith’s story is a journey of discovery. From the lessons of hard work gained in the mines of Eureka, his life’s labors ranged from work on early radar, high energy physics, nuclear rocket thrusters (planned for manned interplanetary travel), and thermonuclear fusion research, to lasers scaled to drive new methods of clean power generation. He often spoke of how fortunate he was to have lived in a time when so much happened in the world of science. He felt honored to have worked with and contributed to the many exciting discoveries of the times. He was a loving and appreciative husband and father who truly enjoyed the people he met and those with whom he worked and celebrated. He loved to entertain us with his great repertoire of humorous stories from all periods of his life. He loved the outdoors and with Beth would lead great family activities, whether hiking, jeeping, camping or discovering the desert southwest. He is survived by his wife Beth and his six children: Lynn Kearny, Kent Boyer, Scott Boyer, Kirk Boyer, Shelley Longmire, Carl Boyer, and by eight grandchildren and one great-grandson.

He requested consideration of a donation to Parkinson’s research.
Keith was visionary, accomplished, loving, entertaining and an inspiration for us all.