Louis Drummeter

In Memoriam: Louis Drummeter

March 20, 2008

OSA Remembers Louis Drummeter

Louis F. Drummeter Jr., a retired research scientist at the Naval Research Laboratory in Washington DC and an OSA member for over fifty years, died March 20, 2008 of a heart attack at St. Agnes Hospital in Baltimore, MD. He was 86.

Dr. Drummeter joined the Naval Research Lab in 1948 and helped design early satellites, among his other projects. His specialties included infrared spectroscopy, chemical warfare, submarine detection and atmospheric optics. He helped develop a process to give temperature-sensing equipment a white coating to reflect sunlight, thus providing more accurate readings. As a result, the National Weather Service made changes in the way upper-level air temperatures were measured. Dr. Drummeter also helped develop methods of measuring the intensity of nuclear explosions at Los Alamos, N.M., and on Bikini Atoll in the Pacific. He received several awards for meritorious service from the Navy. He retired from the research laboratory in 1980.

Dr. Drummeter was born in Pottsville, Pa., and was a graduate of Johns Hopkins University. He received a PhD in physics from Johns Hopkins in 1949.

While at Johns Hopkins, he collaborated on instruments used in the revolutionary “blue baby” surgeries to correct heart defects in children. He also was the co-inventor of an electrical thermometer to measure blood temperature.

He lived in Fort Washington from 1958 to 1999 and helped found the Henson Valley Civic Association and the Oxon Hill Meals on Wheels program, for which he volunteered for 20 years. He was a research volunteer with the National Museum of American History's Division of Medicine and Science and was a member of the Cosmos Club and the Optical Society of America.

After moving to Catonsville in 1999, he enjoyed tai chi and participating in theater groups.

Survivors include his wife of 63 years, Bette Drummeter, four children, three grandchildren and three great-grandchildren.

Dr. Drummeter’s obituary appeared in the Washington Post, Tuesday, April 8, 2008.