Russel Acton grew up in Columbus, Indiana, and joined the U.S. Army Air Corps immediately after graduating from high school. While in the military, he participated in the Manhattan Project, researching and developing the first nuclear weapons. When WWII ended, he applied to Purdue University, earning a degree in Metallurgical Engineering. Acton spent his career working at Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Los Alamos National Laboratory, and Sandia National laboratories, where he specialized in research on thermal diffusivity for the Thermal Testing and Analysis Division. Acton was one of the world’s foremost authorities in thermal conductivity, helping to develop materials for use in spacecrafts, nuclear reactor safety, military applications, and many other projects.
International Conference on Thermal Conductivity, 19th, Yarbrough, D.W. (1987). Thermal Conductivity 19. New York: Plenum Press.