It has been said that 90 percent of the scientists that have ever lived are living today. Therefore
a "Who is Who" of the present scientists in the world need only be increased by about 10 percent to make it
inclusive of all of a given class of scientists going back into history.
The "World Who's Who in Science - From Antiquity to the Present" published in 1968 by the
Marquis Who's Who Company is just such a book. Abstracts of recognizably famous
scientists such as biologist Robert Koch, physicists Isaac Newton and Albert Einstein, and
mathematician John Von Neumann are included. This expanded Who's Who was probably
published at a small increase in cost above that for a conventional Who's Who in which only
living scientists are listed. And it became a much more unique book.
Among the living scientists included was Bill Koch, much to his surprise. His abstract was
prepared by the Marquis editors from the information he submitted in 1966 and appeared as
Biographical Abstract from "WORLD WHO"S WHO IN SCIENCE", p. 951
Koch, Herman William, Am. Physicist; b. N.Y.C.,
Sept. 28, 1920; s. John William and Elizabeth (Hirsh)
K.; B.S., Queens Coll., 1941; M.S., U. Ill., 1942,
Ph.D., 1944; m. Margaret Giles, Feb. 3, 1945; children: John, Kathleen, Donald, Robert, Russell. Asst.
prof. physics U. Ill., 1944-49; research physicist, Oak
Ridge, Tenn., 1945-46; chief high energy radiation
sect. Nat. Bur. Standards, U. S. Dept. Commerce,
Washington, 1949-62, chief div. radiation physics,
1962 . Named Alumnus of Year, Queens Coll., 1960;
recipient Gold medal U. S. Dept. Commerce, 1962.
Fellow Am. Phys. Soc.; mem. Nat. Com. Radiation
Protection, Sigma Xi, Phi Kappa Phi, Gamma Alpha.
Pioneered in the application of high energy x-rays to
nuclear research; responsible for the devel., realiza-
tion and calibration of standard instruments and
methods for radiation protection, units and measure-
ment. Home: 2922 Stanton Av., Silver Spring, Md.
20910. Office: Nat. Bureau of Standards, Washington
Bill was surprised because he felt his abstract was pretty ordinary when compared to other
physicist abstracts in the same volume. He concluded that whoever sponsored his inclusion
must have been someone influential in the National Bureau of Standards top
administration. It may have been Bob Huntoon, Director of the NBS Institute for Basic Standards in 1968, who was particularly
pleased at the job that Bill and his High Energy Radiation Section had done since Bill's
employment in 1949. NBS demonstrated that by budgeting millions of dollars to his Section's
research program over the years. They demonstrated that also by arranging for Bill and one other
physicist to receive a special Public Law 313 appointment in about 1960 that permitted the two
to receive annual salaries that were above the top Civil Service pay scale. The second physicist
so honored was Lew Branscomb, who later became Director of NBS in 1969 and later still, Vice
President for Research at the International Business Machines Corporation. So Bill had excellent
The fact that Bill's name was included in this or any other "Who's Who" volume will probably
also come as a surprise to other members of his family. The reason is that Becky and Bill
kept most information about Bill's work separate from the day-to-day details of family life. It
was not necessarily a deliberate decision. It just happened that way. Because of this separation,
Bill intended here to explain to his family some of the many interesting experiences that he
never had time or encouragement to explain before. The details of his career should be
sufficient in the Physicist part of this website so that family members can judge with the help of other physicists as to whether
their Dad should have been included in any "Who's Who in Science". On the other hand, the
details in the Family part should demonstrate to non-family readers why he was always so proud to be the
father of a truly understanding and supportive family.