Edward E. David, Jr.
Edward E. David, Jr.
Edward E. David, Jr. has been a research scientist, corporate executive, and the science adviser to President Richard Nixon.
David was born in North Carolina on January 25, 1925, and received a B.S. degree in from the Georgia Institute of in 1945. He subsequently earned a doctorate from the Massachusetts Institute of in 1950, where he was the first graduate student of Jerome Wiesner, who left MIT to become President John F. Kennedy's science advisor.
After graduating from MIT, he worked at AT&T's Bell Telephone from 1950 until 1970. At Bell Labs, he earned eight patents derived from his experiments in underwater sound, , and .
He began his career at Bell Labs as a specialist in underwater sound, applying this expertise to research in undersea warfare and communication . In the early 1960s, David researched acoustical psychophysics with the goal of determining how the brain received sound. He developed sound reproduction technologies, such as an inexpensive artificial larynx to correct speech disorders after surgery, and published a number of books on sound and communications. In 1965, David was appointed Bell Lab’s executive director of communications system research. He led a team of 200 scientists working on , communications principles, and electronic systems, such as technologies to prevent airplane hijackings.
In September 1970, President Nixon chose David to serve as the director of the Office of Science and and as the chairman of the President’s Science (PSAC). David, who was the first industrial scientist picked for this role, entered office with the goal of balancing the needs of scientists, the President’s staff, research , and the public. To encourage , he drafted a program that expanded federal funding for hazardous projects, like fast-breeder nuclear reactors, offered anti-trust immunity to that pooled research resources, and backed loans for smaller . He also sought to expand federal and state control over public utilities to develop new sources of power and conserve . David left this role in January 1973, having clashed with the Nixon administration over its plans to site antiballistic missiles and build a supersonic jet. These conflicts contributed to Nixon’s decision to abolish PSAC in 1973.
David returned to the private sector, leading research teams at Gould, Inc., in the mid-1970s and Exxon Research and Engineering from 1977 until 1986. He also has served as U.S. Representative to the NATO Science Committee and sat on twenty boards of directors and technical advisory boards.