Eric Walker was born in England in 1910. He received his
B.S. in Engineering in 1932,
his M.B.A. in 1933,
and his D.Sc. in 1935 - all from Harvard University in Cambridge,
Walker taught mathematics and electrical Engineering for
two years, and became chairman of the Department of Electrical
Engineering at Tufts College (now Tufts University). It
was there that Dr. Walker met Dr.
Vannevar Bush who had also been the head
of the Electrical Engineering Department at Tufts.
also taught mathematics and electrical Engineering at
the University of Connecticut, where Walker initiated
courses for a special War Training Program.
the Americans had entered World War 11, Walker joined
Sound Laboratory at Harvard University.
He was promoted to Assistant Director, and then to Associate
Director. Working for Dr.
Vannevar Bush's Office of Scientific Research
and Development. Dr. Walker found himself in charge of
ordnance (specifically weapons).
Walker was instrumental in the development of sonar. Dr.
Walker had studied the industrial use of acoustics. His
studies were applied to the homing
torpedo, which was developed at the Underwater
Sound Lab and was successfully used against Axis submarines.
For his work, Dr. Walker was
awarded the Naval Ordnance Award,
and also a Presidential Certificate of Merit.
1944, Walker was a civilian employee of the Office
of Scientific Research and Development.
In 1945, Walker was persuaded by the Dean of Engineering
at Penn State to come there and fill a position as Department
Head of the Electrical Engineering Department.
enough, the ordnance section of the Harvard Underwater
Sound Laboratory was transferred to Penn State at the
same time. It became the Ordnance
Research Laboratory, one of the four major
Navy Research Laboratories. Dr. Walker was the Director.
1951, Dr Walker became Dean of the Department of Engineering
and Architecture at Penn State, and directed the construction
of a research reactor (Bereazeale Reactor) on the Penn
State University Park campus.
1956, the then presidents brother, Dr. Milton Eisenhower,
named Dr. Walker as Vice president and then President
of Penn State to succeed himself. Dr. Eisenhower moved
to run John Hopkins.
addition to his earned degrees, Dr Walker had
honorary Doctorates from the following Universities -
Temple, Lehigh, Hafstra, Lafayette, the University of
Penn, The University of Rhode Island, Elizabethtown College,
Jefferson Medical College, Wayne State University, the
University of Notre Dame, and the University of Pittsburgh.
Walker wrote two prize papers for the American
Institute of Electrical Engineering, and
co-invented the coliolithophone (a device used for the
acoustical detection of gallstones.)
Walker's awards include: the Navy
Distiquished public Service Metal; the American
Legion Distinquished Service Award; Fellow,
Institute of Radio Engineers; Fellow,
Royal Society of Arts (London); Fellow,
American Physical Society; Fellow,
American Acoustical Society; Horatio
Alger Award; Tasker
H. Bliss Award of the American Society of Military Engineers;
the Golden Omega Award of the
Electrical Insulation Industry; the Lamme
Award - and an Honorary
membership - from the American Society of Electrical Education;
the White House Citation
from President Nixon; and the Department
of Defense Distinguished Public Service Medal.
Walker's professional nominations include: member of the
us Army's Scientific Advisory Panel, Chairman of the Navy
Research Advisory Committee, Vice Chairman of the Presidents
Committee for Scientists and Engineers, member (and former
Chairman) of the National Research Council's Committee
on Undersea Warfare.
Walker was Executive Director (and therefore chief administrator)
of the Research and Development Board, from 1950 to 1951.
This is the same time as the Sarbacher/Smith conversation.
It should be noted that Vannevar Bush was not the Director
of the Research and Development Board at this time. He
had resigned as director, a few years earlier, in a disagreement
with Truman. There were a number of directors for this
period. During the interlude between directors, and when
the director was not available, Dr. Walker served as the
Walker was chairman of the National Science Foundation
Committee for Engineering, Chairman of the Engineering
College Research Foundation, President of the Engineers
Joint Council. He was appointed in 1957 by President Dwight
Eisenhower as General Chairman of the Conference on Technical
and Distribution Research for the Benefit of Small Businesses,
member of the Board of Visitorsof the United States Naval
Academy, Board of Visitors to the US Military Academy,
President of the Penn. Association of Colleges and Universities,
member of the Advisory Committee on Higher Education,
member of the Commission on Higher Education of the Middle
states association of Colleges and Universities, Vice
President and President of the American Association of
Engineering Education, founding member and President of
the American Academy of Engineering, President of the
Commonwealth Industrial Research Corporation, Chairman
of the National
Science Board, advisor on engineering and
technical manpower Pres. Sci. Advisory Committee.
was a member of the Board of the Engineering Foundation,
the Board of Trustees of the Science Service, the Board
of Directors of the Mid-State Bank and Trust Company.
Dr. Walker was Vice President of Science and Technology
for Aluminum Co. America. He was on the Board of Directors
of Girand Trust Company, and the Board of Directors of
Westinghouse Brake Company. He was chairman of the Board
of Directors of Melpar Corporation as well as Consultant
of Research and Engineering to Koppers Corp, Borg-Warner
Corporation, Bendix Aviation Co, Hughes Aircraft Corp,
IBM Corp, and other firms.
served as a member of the Institute for Defense Analysis
from 1958 to 1981 when he became Chairman of the Board.
In 1986 he became Chairman Emeritus and remained in that
position until his death. The Institute
for Defense Analysis (IDA)
is known as "the think tank to the highest echelons
of the Pentagon" and "the principal advisory
organization serving the office of the Secretary of Defense
as a whole".
of the work done by IDA
is TOP SECRET, the other 10% is for OFFICIAL EYES ONLY.
organization spawned off a group from within known as
or the Defense
Advanced Research Projects Agency. DARPA
was responsible for "the scientific investigation
into advanced technologies of the future". DARPA
is responsible for the initial research funding for over-the-horizon
radar, the Stealth Technology, and the Internet. ( The
internet was begun as a way to make all military computers
independent and yet able to communicate with each other
even in the event of a nuclear war. There is no central
computer to knock out)
Walker initiated the Conference on the Administration
of Research in1947.
published numerous articles in various periodicals and
professional journals and co-authored a book entitled
The Physical Basis of Electrical Engineering.
Walker wrote a column for the Center Daily Times of State
College, Penn and in the early 1970s, directed a nationwide
study for the ASEE on the "Goals
of Engineering Education". In 1989, Dr.
Walker published his autobiography Now
Its My Turn: Engineering My Way.
Walker maintained an office at Penn State University and
went there almost every day until his death. He died at
home February 17, 1995.