Born October 13, 1927, in Bell County, Sam Hurst, together with two brothers and two sisters worked the family’s rural farm in the small community of Ponza. He enrolled in Berea College at age 15. He would go on to earn an MS in physics from the University of Kentucky and a PhD, also in physics from the University of Tennessee in 1959.
Beginning his career at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) in 1948, Dr. Hurst worked as a researcher in the emerging field of health physics, to which he made significant contributions in instrumentation and field analysis. He travelled to Japan with colleagues to study latent disease effects and mortality rates of atomic bomb survivors.
He loved his home-state alma mater, and served as professor of physics at the University of Kentucky in the late sixties. Returning to ORNL, Dr. Hurst’s career took an exciting new direction into ultra-sensitive laser-based spectroscopy. He held over 30 patents and authored numerous technical papers. He invented the original computer touch-screen.
Sam Hurst’s insatiable curiosity and optimistic enthusiasm for the world around him were rivaled only by his unconditional love of family and friends.
He was a member of Grace Covenant Church.
In addition to his wife, he is survived by a son, Donald E. Hurst and wife Linda; daughter, Karen Popham and husband Mike; sister, Sadie Robbins; three grandchildren, Erika Thum and husband George, Joshua Hurst and wife Kati, and Abby Hurst; and great-granddaughter, Rachel Thum.
The family will receive friends on Wednesday, July 7, from 12-2 p.m. at Weatherford Mortuary.
The funeral will be at 2 p.m. with Dr. Larry Dipboye officiating. Burial will follow at Oak Ridge Memorial Park. The family requests that any memorials be in the form of contributions to the Mission of Hope or Habitat for Humanity.
An on-line guest book can be signed at www.weatherfordmortuary.com.
Arrangements by Weatherford Mortuary, Oak Ridge, Tenn.