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'Ice Age' heats up career

  Alumni Profile  

An Academy Award was probably the furthest thing from his mind when Richard Hadsell ’66 left his career path in physics to work on “Ice Age” and other animated films.

“It’s been great fun watching what the artists do,” says Hadsell, “I only work on the software that they use to make the final pictures, but it’s a hoot to see my name in the credits.”

Hadsell is a software designer for Blue Sky Studios, which won an Oscar for its animated short, “Bunny,” and has produced its first featurelength film, the popular “Ice Age.” Hadsell provides animators with tools to create the visually stunning images you see on the screen.

His journey from Mount Vernon to the big screen was a circuitous one. After studying physics at Cornell, Hadsell completed a PhD in physics at Yale. He decided his calling was in computer software for experimental physics and moved his family to a nuclear physics research lab in West Germany. He later moved on to IBM’s Research Division before finding Blue Sky right in his back yard in Westchester County, N.Y.

He credits Cornell with the foundations of his long career in computer science.

“Cornell gave me an excellent, well-rounded liberal arts education with an easygoing social atmosphere,” says Hadsell. “Dr. Dam and Dr. Graber were both dedicated teachers.”

Hadsell has two grown children, David and Sara, and two adopted children, Lili Quan and Rose Helen, and has been married to his wife, Les, for 20 years.

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