Clarke Donates Key Papers to Archives

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Tue, Aug 14, 2012

Alumni

Ed Clarke, a former WPI associate dean of the faculty and director of research, has donated a selection of important papers to the Institute’s Archives.

Dr. Clarke joined WPI following a successful career with National Semiconductor, which he co-founded. In addition to his administrative roles at WPI, Dr. Clarke was appointed Professor of Science and Engineering and decided to teach full time through the Project Center at what most faculty members would consider retirement age. Dr. Clarke created the WPI Solar Energy Center, concerned primarily with photovoltaics, and supervised IQP projects in the US and in thirteen foreign countries between 1986 and 1995.

According to archivist Margaret Anderson, Dr. Clarke’s donation consists of key articles and documents relating to the founding, not only of National Semiconductor, but of the semiconductor industry as a whole, including technical documents, invention notes, and publications, some relating to germanium, a material that was a forerunner to silicon.

National Semiconductor, today a unit of Texas Instruments, manufactured semiconductor components for NATO’s F-104 fighter plane, the Minuteman ICBM, and the Apollo Moon Landing Program, among other military and space programs. The company and its founders were catalysts for much-needed innovations during the Sputnik era, one of the most significant eras in science and technology marking the confluence of academic, industry, and government collaboration in funding and carrying out technology development.

Dr. Clarke’s donated collection also includes articles and documents relating to his supervision of student projects at WPI, and an oral history interview conducted by the American Institute of Physics. Dr. Clarke also donated several documents relating to his time at Sylvania Electric Products during the 1950s, including his work on germanium at the time Sylvania was developing a semiconductor division. A man of wide-ranging interests and capabilities, he wrote religious treatises and philosophical essays, some of which are included in the donation. Cataloging and preservation work on the collection will begin immediately.

For more information on the Clarke papers, contact Margaret Anderson at 508-831-6112.

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