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MS068: Edward N. Clarke Papers

Identifier: MS068

Scope and Contents

This collection spans the years from 1951 to 2012. The largest amount of material relates to (1) Dr. Clarke's work in the semiconductor field, including inventions, papers and presentations and work at National Semiconductor Corporation; and (2) his work on solar projects at WPI.

The material is organized in six series: Series I: Ph.D. Thesis and Inventions; Series II: Presentations, Papers, Lecture Notes; Series III: National Semiconductor Corporation; Series IV: Work at WPI; Series V: Reflections, Recognition, Life Story; Series VI: Photographs and DVDs.

In 2010 the American Institute of Physics conducted an all-day oral history interview with Dr. Clarke, the transcript of which can be read in Series V. The DVD is in Series VI.


  • 1951 - 2012

Conditions Governing Access

Permission of archivist

Conditions Governing Use

Copyright restrictions may apply

Biographical / Historical

Dr. Clarke was born in Providence, RI in 1925. After high school, he enrolled at Brown University and was also a Naval Reservist in the Navy V-12 program, an accelerated officer training program during World War II. He received his bachelors degree in engineering at Brown, and served with the Navy in the Pacific soon after the war ended. He returned to the U.S. and studied at Harvard University, receiving Masters degrees in engineering science and applied physics. He returned to Brown to wrok toward a doctorate and during that time married his wife, Vivian, who had graduated from Pembroke College.

He received a Ph.D. in Physics from Brown and in 1950 was hired by Sylvania Electric to move Sylvania into the new semiconductor field. He focused on growing single crystals of germanium and the surface properties of germanium, and invented methods for producing semiconductor transistors. In 1956, Dr. Clarke left Sylvania and helped to create the semiconductor division of Sperry Rand, until 1959 when he and his friend and colleague from Sperry Rand, Bernie Rothlein, formed National Semiconductor Corporation and focused on silicon as the primary material of semiconductors. National Semiconductor mass produced the first simple integrated circuit. National supplied semiconductors for military uses including the minuteman (Intercontinental Ballistic nuclear Missile), and the U.S. Space program, as well as industry.

In 1965, ready for a new challenge, Dr. Clarke came to Worcester Polytechnic Institute as Associate Dean of the Faculty and Director of Research, and later as Associate Dean of Graduate Studies. For eight years, until he retired from WPI in 1995, he created and ran the Center for Solar Energy and taught applications of solar energy with photovoltaics, teaching totally through undergraduate IQPs (Interactive Qualifying Projects). Projects were also expanded to include MQP (Major Qualifying Project) solar racing car projects and IQPs to include electric vehicles.

After retiring, Dr. Clarke continued to work with WPI on energy-related projects. He also became a member of one of Nichols College Advisory Councils and gave a series of lectures on science and technology. He also lectured on semiconductors at Brown University.


3 Linear Feet

Language of Materials



These are papers of Dr. Edward N. Clarke, co-founder of National Semiconductor Corporation and Director of Research, Associate Dean of Faculty and Director of the Center for Solar Energy at Worcester Polytechnic Institute.

Edward N. Clarke papers
Molly Bruce
Language of description
Script of description
Code for uncoded script

Repository Details

Part of the WPI Manuscript Collections Repository

100 Institute Rd
George C. Gordon Library
Worcester MA 01609 USA