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Jon Myer, 78; Experimental Physicist and Inventor


Jon H. Myer, experimental physicist and inventor whose work ranged from semiconductors to developing the scanners used to tote up bills at grocery checkout counters, has died. He was 78.

Myer, who applied for 375 U.S. patents and obtained 50, died Aug. 30 at his home in Woodland Hills, said his son, Kenneth, of Seattle.

Born in Heilbronn, Germany, Myer fled the Nazis, immigrating with his parents to British-governed Palestine. He earned his engineering degree at Hebrew Technical College in Haifa.

During his involvement with the Israeli underground independence movement, his son said, Myer devised a system for secret communication that remained a state secret until a few years ago.

In 1942, Myer became an instrument designer and engineer for the Anglo Iranian Oil Co. in Abadan, Iran. He later returned to Hebrew Technical College as an instrument designer and engineering consultant.

Myer immigrated to the United States in 1947 and worked for six years in USC's chemistry department. He spent the bulk of his career, from 1953 until his retirement in 1991, at Hughes Aircraft Co.

Myer was the author of 11 scholarly papers on semiconductor materials technology, optical instrumentation, information processing and the history of science.

A lecturer at California Lutheran College for many years, Myer taught science and technology in law enforcement.

Myer earned the Boy Scouts of America Silver Beaver Award for helping to establish the first Scouting Explorer post specializing in science and technology.

Myer is survived by his wife, Gerda; sons Gary, Eric and Kenneth; a daughter, Karen; a brother, Michael; and six grandchildren.

The family has asked that memorial donations be sent to the nonprofit Southern Poverty Law Center, 400 Washington Ave., Montgomery, AL 36104.

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