William D. Neff, former physiology and psychology professor at the University of Chicago, died in 2002. Mr. Neff, known as Dewey, was born in Lomax and moved several times before graduating from high school in Freeport. He entered the University of Illinois in 1930, interrupting his schooling several times to work full-time during the Depression. Mr. Neff earned his bachelor's degree from the University of Illinois in 1936 and his doctorate from the University of Rochester in 1940. That year he became a research assistant at Swarthmore College, resigning in December 1941 to work at the U.S. Navy Underwater Sound Laboratory in New London, Conn., during World War II. In 1946 Mr. Neff became an assistant professor of psychology at the University of Chicago, where he became internationally known for his work in hearing and physiological psychology. In 1961 Mr. Neff became director of the laboratory of physiological psychology at an acoustical research organization in Cambridge, Mass. Two years later, he joined Indiana University, where he taught for 20 years.
He was interested in the link between science and societal impact and served as an adviser to the Office of the Surgeon General, the National Institute of Health, the National Science Foundation, and NASA. He was a member of many panels and groups, including the National Academy of Sciences and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. He was also a recipient of the annual award of the Beltone Institute for Hearing Research. Mr. Neff trained more than 30 graduate students and many postdoctoral students.