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Dr. Eric A. Walker
Dr. 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, Massachusetts.

Dr. 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.

Walker also taught mathematics and electrical Engineering at the University of Connecticut, where Walker initiated courses for a special War Training Program.

Once the Americans had entered World War 11, Walker joined the Underwater 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).

Dr. 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.

In 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.

Interestingly 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.

In 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.

In 1956, the then president’s 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.

In 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.

Dr. 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.)

Dr. 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.

Dr. 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.

Dr. 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 acting Director.

Dr 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.

Walker 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.

Walker 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".

90% of the work done by IDA is TOP SECRET, the other 10% is for OFFICIAL EYES ONLY.

This organization spawned off a group from within known as DARPA, 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)

Dr. Walker initiated the Conference on the Administration of Research in1947.

He published numerous articles in various periodicals and professional journals and co-authored a book entitled The Physical Basis of Electrical Engineering.

Dr. 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.

Dr. Walker maintained an office at Penn State University and went there almost every day until his death. He died at home February 17, 1995.



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