Brooks, Harvey 1915-2004

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BROOKS, Harvey 1915-2004


See index for CA sketch: Born August 5, 1915, in Cleveland, OH; died of complications from congestive heart failure, May 28, 2004, in Cambridge, MA. Physicist, educator, and author. A professor emeritus at Harvard, Brooks not only had a distinguished career in academia but, as an expert on nuclear energy and undersea warfare technology, was a key scientist for the U.S. military and an advisor to three U.S. presidents. After earning a mathematics degree at Yale University in 1937 and studying for a time at the University of Cambridge, he received a Ph.D. in physics from Harvard in 1940. During World War II, Brooks assisted the war effort at Harvard's Underwater Sound Laboratories, where he helped develop a torpedo that was guided by sound called the "Fido." With the war over, he was hired by General Electric to conduct research on nuclear power reactors; he consequently helped develop technology that was later used on the nuclear-powered Sea Wolf submarine, which became famous for traversing the North Pole underwater. In 1950, Brooks became part of academic life as a professor of applied physics at Harvard; he remained in this position until 1986, adding to this duties as professor of technology and public policy at Harvard's Kennedy School of Government, as well as serving as dean of the division of engineering and applied physics from 1957 to 1975. During the Eisenhower, Kennedy, and Johnson administrations, Brooks was also an active science advisor to the federal government, serving on the National Science Board, as well as chairing the committee for undersea warfare for the National Research Council, among other activities. It was his input that helped select who would be on the Science Advisory Committee to the President. Though officially retired in 1986, Brooks continued to teach for years afterward at Harvard. He was the author of The Government of Science (1968), as well as a contributor to scholarly books, reports, and journals.



New York Times, June 13, 2004, p. A31.


Kennedy School of Government, (June 3, 2004).

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Brooks, Harvey 1915-2004

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