Julius Tabin, a member of Enrico Fermi’s personal team at the Trinity Site blast in 1945, died in Chicago of heart failure at the age of 92 last month.
Tabin joined a small group of physicists working on the Manhattan Project, first at the University of Chicago and then at Los Alamos.
As part of Fermi’s team, he assisted in a series of studies that included measuring the efficiency of the first atomic test blast.
After the blast, Tabin rode in a lead-lined Sherman tank to ground zero to be the first to collect a core sample of earth for analysis. Due to exposure to excessive radiation while gathering this material, he was restricted from conducting further physics research for an extended period.
According to the Chicago Tribune, he turned to the law, where his background in physics and his contacts with other pioneers of the atomic age made him the go-to attorney for those who began to form companies in the new industry of nuclear energy.
“With all those personal contacts, he was quite a rainmaker for the firm,” said Jim Schumann, now of counsel to the intellectual property law firm of Fitch, Even, Tabin & Flannery, where Tabin practiced for 56 years before retiring in 2006.