National Academy of Engineering Memorial Tributes: National Academy of Engineering, Volume 10
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Memorial Tributes: National Academy of Engineering, Volume 10

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             N.BRUCE HANNAY                                           127
                             N.BRUCE HANNAY
                               BY MORRIS TANENBAUM
                N.BRUCE HANNAY, retired vice-president for research and patents of Bell
            Laboratories and former foreign secretary of the National Academy of
            Engineering, died on June 2, 1996, at Harrison Memorial Hospital in Bremerton,
            Washington. He was a resident of Port Ludlow, Washington, where he and his
            wife, Joan, had lived since 1989.
                Bruce was born on February 9, 1921, in Mt. Vernon, Washington, and was a
            descendent of early Scottish settlers in the area. He lived in Seattle until leaving
            for Swarthmore College, where he was elected to Phi Beta Kappa and graduated
            summa cum laude with a B.A. degree in chemistry in 1942. He received his M.S.
            and Ph.D. degrees in physical chemistry in 1943 and 1944, respectively, from
            Princeton University, where he studied the dipole moments of molecules with
            C.P.Smyth, one of the pioneers in the field. This work, during the remarkably
            short period of two years between his bachelor’s and Ph.D. degrees, resulted in
            five published papers. He was also involved in the Manhattan Project during this
                Immediately after receiving his Ph.D., Bruce joined the Research Division
            of Bell Laboratories and focused on the chemical and physical aspects of
            electronic materials and processes. His fundamental studies included thermionic
            emission, electron
             N.BRUCE HANNAY                                           128
             attachment and ionization phenomena in molecules, and the mass spectrographic
             analysis of solids. The latter work led to important techniques for the
             identification of trace impurities in solid-state electronic materials.
                In 1954 Bruce was placed in charge of a group engaged in the chemical
             physics of solids. This group did pioneering work on the chemical and electronic
             properties of semiconductors and, later, solid-state laser materials. Some of the
             work of this group lead to the creation of the first silicon transistors. Bruce’s later
             research interests centered on superconductivity, and he was the first to suggest
             and demonstrate that intercalated (layered) compounds could be
                At Bell Laboratories Bruce rose through the research managerial ranks. He
             was appointed director of the Chemical Research Laboratory in 1961 and
             executive director, Materials Science and Engineering, in 1967. He became vice-
             president of Research and Patents in 1973 and retired from that position in 1982.
                As foreign secretary of the National Academy of Engineering in 1976, Bruce
             initiated a series of studies on international competitiveness, a response to the
             Academy’s and his own concerns about the changes in the position of the United
             States relative to the rest of the world, especially Japan and Europe. These
             changes were just becoming visible, and the work Bruce initiated was among the
             first to bring a bright spotlight onto the fact that our long competitive lead in
             technology and manufacturing had significantly shortened and, in some areas,
             was questionable. That stimulated other work at the National Academies and was a
             significant part of the activity that stimulated much introspection in industry and
             government and that eventually significantly improved our national
                A prolific author, Bruce produced some eighty technical papers and authored
             the book Solid State Chemistry. He edited the book Semiconductors, which was
             one of the earliest (1959) authoritative texts devoted to the modern understanding
             of the chemical and physical properties of these important materials. He was the
             editor of the series Treatise on Solid State Chemistry and coeditor of the books
             Electronic Materials and Taxation, Technologyand the U.S. Economy. He also
             served on the editorial boards of
             N.BRUCE HANNAY                                           129
             many of the leading solid-state journals including the Journal ofSolid State
            Chemistry, Materials Science and Engineering, and Revuede Chimie Minerale
            among others.
                Higher education was one of Bruce’s strongest interests. He was a trustee of
            Clarkson College and served in advisory and visiting committee roles at many
            universities, including Princeton, Harvard, Yale, Brown, Caltech, Cornell,
            Stanford, the University of California at San Diego and at Berkeley among
            others. He served as Regents Professor at the University of California, Los
            Angeles, and the University of California, San Diego, and as the Centennial
            Scholar at Case Western Reserve University. He received honorary doctorates
            from Swarthmore, Polytechnic Institute of New York, and Tel Aviv University
            and the Berkeley Citation of the University of California. He was especially
            pleased to be instrumental in the establishment of the Bruce Hannay Fund at
            Swarthmore, which was recently used to endow a tenure-track position in their
            Department of Chemistry.
                Bruce’s activities in corporate, governmental, academic, and professional
            organizations were legion. He was a member of the boards of Rohm and Haas,
            General Signal, Plenum Publishing, and a family of mutual funds of Alexander
            Brown & Sons. He was a member of the Science and Technology Advisory
            Councils at Atlantic Richfield, Chrysler, Comsat, Inco, Merck, Sci/Tech
            Holdings, SRI, and United Technologies. He was a member of the governing
            board of the National Research Council (NRC), the Solid State Sciences
            Committee, the National Materials Advisory Board, and the Report Review
            Committee of the NRC, a member of the National Academy of Sciences
            Committee for Joint US-USSR Study of Fundamental Science Policy and the
            Committee for the Survey of Materials (COSMAT). He was a consultant to the
            National Laboratories at Brookhaven, Lawrence Livermore, and Sandia and to
            the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, International
            Institute for Applied Systems Analysis, and the Alexander von Humboldt
            Foundation. He was a frequent adviser to the White House, congressional
            committees, the Departments of Defense, Commerce, State, and Transportation,
            the Science and Technology Policy Office of the National Science Foundation,
            the Office of Tech
             N.BRUCE HANNAY                                           130
             nology Assessment, the National Bureau of Standards, and the Office of Science
             and Technology.
                In addition to his service as foreign secretary and a member of the Council
             of the National Academy of Engineering, he was a member of the National
             Academy of Sciences, a corresponding member of the Mexican National
             Academy of Engineering, a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and
             Sciences and of the American Physical Society, president of the Electrochemical
             Society and of the Industrial Research Institute, chairman of the Directors of
             Industrial Research, a member of the board of the American Society for Testing
             and Materials, and a member of the American Chemical Society.
                Bruce received many recognitions of his contributions, including two of the
             most prestigious honors for a chemist, the Perkin Medal of the Society of
             Chemical Industry, and the Gold Medal of the American Institute of Chemists.
             He was also the recipient of the Industrial Research Institute Medal, the Acheson
             Medal of the Electrochemical Society, and was the Monie A.Ferst Memorial
             Lecturer at the Georgia Institute of Technology and the Almquist Lecturer at the
             University of Idaho.
                Bruce Hannay was a man of many talents that he devoted to his country, his
             profession, his company, and his family. He is survived by his wife, Joan, who
             continues to live in Port Ludlow, Washington, and his two daughters, Brooke
             Meecher of Olympia, Washington, and Robin Nelson of McLean, Virginia. He is
             deeply missed by all of us.
             N.BRUCE HANNAY                                                   131
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