Type of Memorial


In Memoriam

Thompson, Bruce


East of the Applied Science Complex II main entrance

Plaque Text


R. Bruce Thompson served Iowa State University in many capacities, first coming to the university as part of the nondestructive evaluation (NDE) team that founded the Center for NDE. Bruce was a world-recognized leader in ultrasonic wave mechanics, leading the development of physics-based models and probability of detection studies at Iowa State from 1980 until his passing in 2011. As an Anson Marston Distinguished Professor of Materials Science Engineering and Aerospace Engineering, Bruce enjoyed teaching and mentoring of students whether they were an undergraduate pursuing the NDE minor or a PhD candidate that would soon leave ISU to make their contributions to NDE in industry or academia. Over the course of his career, Bruce had 25 patents, over 450 journal articles as well as numerous book chapters, non-refereed articles and reports. In 2004, Bruce was inducted into the National Academy of Engineering and was also recognized with lifetime achievement awards by the American Society for Nondestructive Evaluation and the International Society for Optics and Photonics. Driven by his passion for science, Bruce focused on delivering results that had an impact on safety and reliability of critical systems. He served as the Director of the Center for NDE from 1997 - 2011, leading efforts that impacted aviation, power generation, hazardous waste storage, and many other critical structures and systems. While Bruce's technical contributions are of much renown, he is best remembered by his friends and colleagues for his pleasant nature and caring smile. He approached everything with a winning attitude and a gracious nature. His sincerity and focus on excellence are much remembered and often missed. This bench was given by his family and overlooks the area that Bruce often walked with his dog, Nedie. Nedie, a golden retriever full of energy and mischief, suited Bruce well. She was named for Nederland, a small mountain town in Colorado where Bruce would retreat with his family to recharge. Bruce enjoyed hikes and skiing and good natured interactions with friends and family in both Colorado and Iowa. Daily walks with Nedie from his home on Kingman Avenue to grounds at the Applied Sciences Complex also gave Bruce a time for reflection. He encouraged and rewarded creativity and collaboration among the CNDE family and will always be remembered for his caring nature, his energy and that touch of mischief he saw in Nedie and appreciated in us all.