Thomas E. Everhart

Born: February 15, 1932 | Kansas City, MO, US

Thomas E. Everhart matriculated at Harvard University where he majored in physics. After graduation he went to University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) for a master’s degree, in conjunction with Hughes Aircraft Company, where he focused on applied physics and engineering. There he first began working with electron beams. For his PhD he went to Clare College, University of Cambridge, working in Charles W. Oatley’s lab. In his dissertation he dealt with SEM contrast formation, observed voltage contrast across P-N junctions, and explored potential applications. After graduation Everhart became an assistant professor of electrical engineering at University of California, Berkeley. With Donald O. Pederson and Paul L. Morton, they founded the first integrated circuit (IC) lab. During his years at Berkeley, Everhart consulted for Watkins-Johnson, Ampex, Westinghouse Research Laboratories, and Hughes Aircraft Company. He also progressed to full professor and then to chairman of the electrical engineering and computer science (EECS) department. Everhart left Berkeley to become Dean of Engineering at Cornell University. After six and a half years at Cornell, Everhart was offered the chancellorship of the University of Illinois. Three years later Everhart was chosen to be president of California Institute of Technology a position he held for ten years. 

The information listed below is current as of the date the transcript was finalized.

			

Interview Details

Interview no.: Oral History 0689
No. of pages: 110
Minutes: 364

Interview Sessions

David C. Brock and Cyrus C. M. Mody
28 March 2007 and 3 May 2011
Santa Barbara, California

Abstract of Interview

Thomas E. Everhart’s oral history begins with a discussion of his work with the scanning electron microscope (SEM). Everhart talks about Gordon E. Moore’s contributions to the electronics world. He describes his time as president of California Institute of Technology (Caltech). At the end of the first session, Everhart discusses his admiration for Moore.

            His second interview starts with his childhood in Missouri. He discusses his family, hobbies, and school. He talks about work, the Methodist Youth Fellowship, where he met his future wife, and his desire to go to Harvard.

            Everhart entered Harvard University and shortly after starting was offered the Gerrish Scholarship, for all four years. At Harvard he played intramural basketball; was active in the Wesley Foundation; helped found the Crimson Key Society; and became engaged. He majored in physics, helped set up laboratories, but had no opportunities for research. After graduation he went to University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) for a master’s degree, in conjunction with Hughes Aircraft Company, where he focused on applied physics and engineering. There he first began working with electron beams. For his PhD he went to Clare College, University of Cambridge, funded by Marshall Scholarship, and working in Charles W. Oatley’s lab. His dissertation dealt with SEM contrast formation, observed voltage contrast across P-N junctions, and explored potential applications.

            PhD in hand, Everhart became an assistant professor of electrical engineering at University of California, Berkeley. Initially working on microwave tubes. With Donald O. Pederson and Paul L. Morton, they founded the first integrated circuit (IC) lab. During his years at Berkeley, Everhart consulted for Watkins-Johnson, Ampex, Westinghouse Research Laboratories, and Hughes Aircraft Company. He took leave to help Oliver Wells build a SEM at Westinghouse Research Labs. He built his own SEM, the first with transistorized circuits. He had funding from the Air Force, the National Institutes of Health (NIH); and from the National Science Foundation (NSF). He also progressed to full professor and then to chairman of the electrical engineering and computer science (EECS) department. While he was chairman of EECS, the NSF wanted to establish an accessible microfabrication facility. Berkeley did not take advantage of this opportunity, instead the lab went to Cornell University.

            Everhart left Berkeley to become Dean of Engineering at Cornell University. He felt he greatly improved the engineering college’s morale, faculty, and financial position. During his tenure, the Knight Laboratory, the Snee building, and the Pew Engineering Quadrangle were dedicated. He worked on the advisory committee for the submicron facility, funded by NSF. After six and a half years at Cornell, Everhart was offered the chancellorship of the University of Illinois. There he started new programs, helped get personal computers for faculty, and improved the facilities for semiconductors. He also encouraged the founding of the Beckman Institute.

            After three years, Everhart was chosen to be president of Caltech, a position he held for ten years. At Caltech he was also on the advisory committee for micro devices at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL). Throughout the interview Everhart explains his relationships with many scientists and their work. He remains amazed by the speed of evolution of transistors to integrated circuits and he exclaims over the continued validity of Moore’s Law.

 

Education

Year Institution Degree Discipline
1953 Harvard University AB Physics
1955 University of California, Los Angeles MSc Applied Physics
1958 Clare College, University of Cambridge PhD Engineering

Professional Experience

Hughes Aircraft Company

1953 to 1955
Member of Technical Staff

Watkins-Johnson Company

1960
Research and Development, microwave electron tubes
1961
Consultant, mm-wave low noise tubes

Westinghouse Research Laboratories

1961
Research and development, electron beams as applied to semiconductor analysis and fabrication
1962 to 1963
Research and development, electron beams as applied to semiconductor analysis and fabrication

Ampex Research and Development Laboratories

1961 to 1970
Consultant, electron beam recording

Hughes Research Laboratory

1965 to 1980
Consultant, problems of electron optics electron physic

University of California, Berkeley

1958 to 1962
Assistant Professor, Electrical Engineering
1962 to 1967
Associate Professor, Electrical Engineering and Computer Science
1972 to 1977
Department Chairman, Electrical Engineering and Computer Science
1967 to 1978
Professor, Electrical Engineering and Computer Science

Cornell University

1979 to 1984
Professor, Electrical Engineering and Applied Physics and Joseph Silbert Dean of Engineering

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

1984 to 1987
Chancellor and Professor of Electrical and Computer Enginering

California Institute of Technology

1987 to 1997
President and Professor, Electrical Engineering and Applied Physics
1997 to 2012
Board of Trustees

University of Cambridge

1998
Pro-Vice-Chancellor

Honors

Year(s) Award
1949 to 1953

William Scott Gerrish Scholarship, Harvard College

1953

Phi Beta Kappa

1953

Sigma Xi Associate Member

1953

AB Magna cum laude qui adseculus est summos honores

1955 to 1958

Marshall Scholar, University of Cambridge

1958

Sigma Xi, University of California, Berkeley

1962

Distinguished Teaching Award, University of California, Berkeley

1966 to 1967

National Science Foundation Senior Postdoctoral Fellowship

1969

Fellow, Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers

1969 to 1970

Miller Research Professor, University of California, Berkeley

1974 to 1975

John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Fellowship

1978

National Academy of Engineering

1984

IEEE Centennial Medal

1984

Scientific Member, Böhmische Physical Society

1988

Fellow, American Association for the Advancement of Sciences

1989

ASEE Benjamin Garver Lamme Award

1990

Honorary Doctor of Laws, Illinois Wesleyan University

1990

Honorary Doctor of Laws, Pepperdine University

1990

Honorary Doctor of Engineering, Colorado School of Mines

1990

Microbeam Analysis Society Presidential Science Award

1990

Foreign Member, Royal Academy of Engineering

1992

Clark Kerr Award, University of California, Berkeley

1993

Professional Achievement Award, Alumni Association, University of California, Los Angeles

1993

ASEE Centennial Medallion

1995

Founder's Award, Energy and Resources Group, University of California, Berkeley

2002

IEEE Founders Medal

2002

Okawa Prize

Table of Contents

Early Research
1

University of California, Berkeley. Scanning electron microscope. Westinghouse Research Labs. Fairchild Semiconductor. Andy Grove. Advancement of integrated circuits. Metal Oxide Semiconductor transistors and circuits. Electron beam lithography. Comparing early work to work at Intel. Moore's Law, Moore's Observation, and the influence of Moore. Grove's lessons.

Leadership and Management
9

Caltech and the integrated circuit revolution. Cornell University submicron laboratory. Interviewing for president position at Caltech. Gordon Moore and entrepreneurship. Growth at Caltech. Arnold Beckman.

After California Institute of Technology
19

The Moore Foundation and its impact on Caltech. Final impressions of Gordon Moore.

Childhood
23

Growing up. Family life. Hobbies, sports, faith, and work. Education.

College Years
28

Harvard; scholarships; work; and sports. Summers. Wesley Foundation. Student Council. Crimson Key Society. Edward Purcell; physics major. Rhodes Scholarship.

Graduate School Years
40

UCLA Master’s Degree. Microwave tubes. Simon Ramo. Dean Wooldridge. Richard Johnson. Tony Siegman. John Whinnery. PhD at Clare College, University of Cambridge. Charles Oatley’s lab. Dennis McMullan, Oliver Wells, Fabian Pease, Alec Broers. Louis Marton. IEEE. Robert Bakish. Instrumentation.

First Academic Job
59

UC, Berkeley. First integrated circuit lab at Berkeley. Donald Pederson. Wright Patterson Air Force Base. Westinghouse Research Laboratories. Ernest Sternglass. Consulting. Ken Shoulders. Funding and promotions. Simulation Program with Integrated Circuit Emphasis (SPICE). Electron beam lithography. Sabbatical in G. Moellenstedt’s lab. Electron beam imaging system (EBIS) at Bell Laboratories. Three beams conference. Growth of field. SEMATECH and SRC.

Cornell University Years
86

Cornell. Noel MacDonald. James Mayer. Ilesamni Adesida. Funding.

University of Illinois
94

Chancellorship. Industry affiliates. Donald Greenberg.

President of California Institute of Technology (CalTech)
97

President. Advisory committee at JPL. Nanotechnologies advancing. 

Thoughts about Small
100

Atoms on planar surfaces. Erwin Müller’ field ion microscope. Mini parallel beams. LIGO. Ahmed Zemail and femtosecond pulses. Nobel Prize. Cryogenic electron microscope. International science.

Index
106

About the Interviewer

Cyrus C. M. Mody

Cyrus Mody is an assistant professor of history at Rice University. Prior to that position he was the manager of the Nanotechnology and Innovation Studies programs in the Center for Contemporary History and Policy at the Chemical Heritage Foundation. He has a bachelor’s degree in mechanical and materials engineering from Harvard University and a PhD in science and technology studies from Cornell. He was the 2004–2005 Gordon Cain Fellow at CHF before becoming a program manager. Mody has published widely on the history and sociology of materials science, instrumentation, and nanotechnology.

David C. Brock

David C. Brock is a senior research fellow with the Center for Contemporary History and Policy at the Chemical Heritage Foundation. As a historian of science and technology, he specializes in the history of semiconductor science, technology, and industry; the history of instrumentation; and oral history. Brock has studied the philosophy, sociology, and history of science at Brown University, the University of Edinburgh, and Princeton University.

In the policy arena Brock recently published Patterning the World: The Rise of Chemically Amplified Photoresists, a white-paper case study for the Center’s Studies in Materials Innovation. With Hyungsub Choi he is preparing an analysis of semiconductor technology roadmapping, having presented preliminary results at the 2009 meeting of the Industry Studies Association.