Oral-History:Jay Lathrop

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About Jay Lathrop

Dr. Lathrop was born in 1927 and grew up in Orono, Maine. He attended first the University of Maine and then the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, from which he received his BS, MS, and Ph.D. degrees in physics. He received his doctorate in 1952 and then joined the National Bureau of Standards/Harry Diamond Laboratories, where he worked the microminiaturization of solid-state circuits for the U.S. Department of Defense. For this work he was awarded the Department of the Army Meritorious Civilian Service Award in 1959. The previous year Lathrop joined Texas Instruments, where he continued his work on miniaturization of integrated circuits. He joined the faculty of Clemson University in 1968, where he is a professor of electrical engineering. During the 1970s he oversaw students' research into the characteristics of solar cells and co-invented the solar chemical converter system of energy conversion. Presently Lathrop and the EE department at Clemson University are working on joint projects with the Semiconductor Research Corporation. He is a Fellow of IEEE and a consultant on solar energy and reliability.

The interview covers Lathrop's education and career, focusing mainly on his work with Diamond Labs, Texas Instruments, and Clemson University. Lathrop concentrates on the continuity of his work, explaining how Defense Department uses for miniaturization ultimately led to work on civilian projects like business machines for Texas Instruments and solar cells for solar energy. He discusses his contributions to the microminiaturization field and explains the importance of integrated circuit development to the electrical engineering field. Lathrop praises Clemson University's working relationship with industry, and advocates teaching future electrical engineers to be innovators and not just problem-solvers. The interview concludes with Lathrop's own attempts to encourage innovation in his students.

About the Interview

JAY W. LATHROP: An Interview Conducted by David Morton, Center for the History of Electrical Engineering, 1 May 1996

Interview #265 for the Center for the History of Electrical Engineering, The Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, Inc., and Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey

Copyright Statement

This manuscript is being made available for research purposes only. All literary rights in the manuscript, including the right to publish, are reserved to the IEEE History Center. No part of the manuscript may be quoted for publication without the written permission of the Staff Director of IEEE History Center.

Request for permission to quote for publication should be addressed to the IEEE History Center Oral History Program, Rutgers - the State University, 39 Union Street, New Brunswick, NJ 08901-8538 USA, or email ieee-history@ieee.org. It should include identification of the specific passages to be quoted, anticipated use of the passages, and identification of the user.

It is recommended that this oral history be cited as follows:
Jay W. Lathrop, an oral history conducted in 1996 by David Morton, IEEE History Center, Rutgers University, New Brunswick, NJ, USA.


Interview: Jay W. Lathrop
Interviewer: David Morton
Date: 1 May 1996
Place: West Union, S.C.