Clarence Zener


Clarence Zener

Clarence Melvin Zener (December 1, 1905 – July 15, 1993) was the American physicist who first described the property concerning the breakdown of electrical insulators.[1] These findings were later exploited by Bell Labs in the development of the Zener diode, which was duly named after him. Zener was a theoretical physicist with a background in mathematics who conducted research in a wide range of subjects including: superconductivity, metallurgy, ferromagnetism, elasticity (physics), fracture mechanics, diffusion and, geometric programming.

Zener was born in Indianapolis, Indiana and earned his PhD in physics under Edwin Kemble at Harvard in 1929. His thesis was entitled Quantum Mechanics of the Formation of Certain Types of Diatomic Molecules. In 1957 he received the Bingham Medal for his work in rheology and in 1959 received the John Price Wetherill Medal from The Franklin Institute. A notable doctoral student of Zener's was John B. Goodenough and Arthur S. Nowick held a postdoctoral appointment under Zener.

Zener was known both for his dislike of experimental work and for preferring to work on practical problems within the arena of applied physics, in which he was very insightful. Although he had a reputation of being very successful in these endeavors, he apparently considered himself as being less qualified to work on purely theoretical physics problems. In recognition of this, he once commented that after dining with physicist J. Robert Oppenheimer: "when it came to fundamental physics, it was clear there was no point in competing with a person like that."[2]

Contents

Career

Zener held the following posts/appointments:[3] He taught at Washington University in St. Louis (1935–1937), the City College of New York (1937–1940), and Washington State University (1940–1942) before working at the Watertown Arsenal during World War II. After the war, he taught at University of Chicago (1945–1951) where he was Professor of Physics,[4] before being appointed as Director of Science at Pittsburgh's Westinghouse (1951–1965).[5] Here he developed his system of Geometric programming, which he used to solve engineering problems using adjustable parameters, defined by mathematical functions. Using this, Zener modelled designs for heat exchangers, to perform Ocean thermal energy conversion, and discovered the most suitable areas for their deployment, many of these models are still being used today.[6] Following his career at Westinghouse, Zener returned to teaching, leaving Pittsburgh to become a professor at Texas A&M University(1966–1968), and finally at Carnegie Mellon University (1968–1993).

Eponyms

References

  1. ^ Zener, C.M. "Elasticity and anelasticity of metals" (1948). University of Chicago Press, Chicago.
  2. ^ Maguire, M. "Web Extra: Clarence Zener, A Rare, Strange Genius" Carnegie-Mellon Magazine, Winter, 1985, pp. 18-19 http://link.cs.cmu.edu/article.php?a=458
  3. ^ Seitz, F. "On the Occasion of the 80th Birthday Celebration for Clarence Zener: Saturday, November 12, 1985" J. Appl. Physics. 1986, Vol. 60, pp. 1865-1867.
  4. ^ http://www.nytimes.com/1993/07/06/obituaries/clarence-m-zener-87-physicist-and-professor-at-carnegie-mellon.html (accessed 01/APR/2011)
  5. ^ http://www.mpri.lsu.edu/textbook/Chapter3.htm (accessed 01/APR/2011)
  6. ^ http://link.cs.cmu.edu/article.php?a=470 (accessed 01/APR/2011)

External links


Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Clarence Zener — Clarence Melvin Zener (* 1. Dezember 1905 in Indianapolis, Indiana, USA; † 15. Juli 1993) war ein US amerikanischer Physiker und Elektrotechniker. Er postulierte 1934 die Theorie, dass eine hohe elektrische Feldstärke in Festkörpern dazu führen… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Clarence Zener — Clarence Melvin Zener (né le 1er décembre 1905 décédé le 15 juillet 1993) était un physicien américain. Il est le premier à décrire les propriétés électriques de ce qui fut nommé plus tard la diode Zener. Une distinction scientifique porte… …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Clarence Melvin Zener — Clarence Zener Clarence Melvin Zener (né le 1er décembre 1905 décédé le 15 juillet 1993) était un physicien américain. Il est le premier à décrire les propriétés électriques de ce qui fut nommé plus tard la diode Zener. Une distinction… …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Zener — can refer to:*Zener diode, a type of electronic diode *Clarence Zener, the American physicist after whom the diode is named *Zener cards, cards used to conduct experiments for extra sensory perception *Karl Zener, the American psychologist after… …   Wikipedia

  • zener diode — ☆ zener diode [zē′nər ] n. [after Clarence Zener (1905 93), U.S. physicist] a semiconductor diode usually used as a voltage regulator because its resistance breaks down at a precise, predetermined voltage level (zener voltage), at which time it… …   English World dictionary

  • Zener-Diode — Eine Zener Diode, oder auch Z Diode, ist eine besonders dotierte Silicium Diode mit geringer Sperrschichtdicke, die nach dem amerikanischen Physiker Clarence Melvin Zener, dem Entdecker des Zener Effekts, benannt ist. Die Charakteristik von Z… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Zener diode — A Zener diode is a type of diode that permits current in the forward direction like a normal diode, but also in the reverse direction if the voltage is larger than the breakdown voltage known as Zener knee voltage or Zener voltage . The device… …   Wikipedia

  • Zener — Cette page d’homonymie répertorie les différents sujets et articles partageant un même nom. Zener peut désigner : Le physicien Clarence Zener (1905 1993). Son nom a été donné à : La diode Zener, un composant électronique. La médaille… …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Zener — Clarence Melvin Zener (* 1. Dezember 1905 in Indianapolis, Indiana, USA; † 15. Juli 1993) war ein US amerikanischer Physiker und Elektrotechniker. Er postulierte 1934 die Theorie, dass eine hohe elektrische Feldstärke in Festkörpern dazu führen… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Clarence Melvin Zener — (* 1. Dezember 1905 in Indianapolis, Indiana, USA; † 15. Juli 1993) war ein US amerikanischer Physiker und Elektrotechniker. Er postulierte 1934 die Theorie, dass eine hohe elektrische Feldstärke in Festkörpern dazu führen kann, dass im… …   Deutsch Wikipedia