I was born in Detroit, Michigan in 1924. The family moved to Grosse Ile, Michigan in 1929, and this is where we managed to make ends meet during the depression. After high school, I enlisted in the Military, choosing to join the Navy. A bunch of us were tested and the Navy decided to put me through college. From the University of Michigan, I received a B.S.E in engineering and physics in 1945, M.S. in physics in 1947, and a PhD in nuclear physics in 1950.
I began my career as a senior scientist at Westinghouse working in their atomic power division on the nuclear submarine program. Within a year, I left to join Los Alamos National Laboratory with the rest of the University of Michigan people that I knew. At Los Alamos, I worked in the physics department, focused on experimental physics, and co-authored publications with Dr. Hans Bethe. I joined General Atomic in 1957 as chairman of the Accelerator Physics Department, where my research on neutron thermalization led to the publication of my first book entitled Slow Neutron Scattering and Thermalization by Park, Nelkin, Beyster and Wikner. Since then, there have been approximately 60 publications and reports that I have written or co-authored. In the 12 years at General Atomic, we established the 100 million volt traveling wave linear accelerator facility and grew it to about 130 staff members.
SAIC — Science Applications International Corporation — was an unexpected happening. More on that later. But before there was SAIC, there was just SAI — Science Applications, Inc. — changing the name in later years. We started SAI on February 3, 1969, located in downtown La Jolla. A lot of good people joined us, and 36 years later, SAIC is a company with over 43,000 employees and annual revenues over $7 billion. It is estimated that more than 150,000 men and women have worked for SAIC since we began our experiment more than three decades ago.
As founder and CEO, it has been a real joy and honor to have had the opportunity to build a company, with such a talented crew, that has made a difference, and had a positive impact in the lives of many people around the world.