OSC remembers Dr. Clyde B. "Bud" Bratton

COLUMBUS, Ohio (Mar 24, 2008) — 

Clyde B. Bratton, a retired Cleveland State University physics professor whose doctoral research contributed to the development of MRI equipment, died of a heart attack Tuesday at his son's home in Willoughby.

The 77-year-old Euclid resident taught at CSU from 1967 until retiring in 2002.

As a doctoral student at Western Reserve University in 1964, Bratton did nuclear magnetic resonance studies on living muscle.

He later collaborated with Frederick Reines and other physicists across the country on the Irvine-Michigan-Brookhaven Proton Decay Project, for which Reines won the 1995 Nobel Prize in physics. Experiments on Reines' theories about atomic particles known as neutrinos were conducted at the Morton Salt Mine in Grand River. The site was far underground, away from the effects of solar rays. "Dad was more or less the supervisor of the mine site out here," his son, Scott, said.

Bratton, a Canton native, studied at Florida State University while serving in the Air Force in the early 1950s. He also served in the U.S. Air Force during the Korean Conflict and was a private pilot. Following his military service, he continued his studies at Western Reserve University, receiving a bachelor's degree, master's degree and doctorate, all in physics. His Ph.D. thesis was frequently cited by physicists and engineers in the development of MRI equipment. He taught at WRU before joining the faculty at CSU in 1967.

In 1989 Bud was awarded the prestigious Rossi Prize, conferred by the High Energy Astrophysics Division of the American Astronomical Society for his participation in the proton decay experiment.

Dr. Bratton was a professor of physics at Cleveland State University for 35 years, serving as chairman of the department for seven years before his retirement.

CSU professor Jearl Walker described Bratton as an optimistic and encouraging teacher and colleague.

"A quiet voice with a gift of laughter to get across something as potentially imposing as physics," Walker said. "I think he was always stopping students to talk to them about how they were doing."

During his retirement years, Bud continued to visit the CSU office daily and participated in a meaningful way to the department's work.

Dr. Bratton served on the Ohio Supercomputer Center's Statewide Users Group for many years. His contributions to the Hardware Committee were invaluable to the Center and to the researchers who use its high performance computing systems everyday. Dr. Bratton was also an enthusiastic participant in OSC's workshops.

He sang in his church choir and with the Chagrin Valley Choral Union. He also sang with the Berkshire Choral Institute in Massachusetts once a year. He was also a patron of Severance Center and the Cleveland Opera.

Every Friday night for at least 25 years, Bratton rewarded himself with a steak and a glass of red wine at the Cabin Restaurant in Willowick. His son said that the staff at the eatery "kept him well-fed and watered. They all knew him as 'Bud.' "

Bratton, an elder at Forest Hill Presbyterian Church in Cleveland Heights, taught a class called "Science and Religion," designed for students who did not major in science.

Survivors are his sons, Scott Bratton of Willoughby and Mike (Tammy) Bratton of Copley; daughter, Susie (Duane Chornobay) Bratton of Raleigh, N.C.; grandchildren, Erica, Kristen and Ryan; and brother, Carl D. (Barbara) Bratton of Northfield. His parents, Clyde E. and Elsie L. Bratton, are deceased.

In lieu of flowers, the family suggests contributions to Rainbow Babies and Children's Hospital, 11100 Euclid Ave., Cleveland, OH 44106, or the Friends of Music at Forest Hill Presbyterian Church, Cleveland Heights, OH 44121.