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Memorial Tributes, Volume 14
the conservation of energy. The key patents, developed and secured under Joe Burke’s leadership, do not bear his name as one of the inventors, although as his associates invariably say, ‘Joe was the key inventor; he just had a modest policy of not wishing to detract any credit from the scientists who worked for him.’ ”
Dr. Schmitt himself concluded Joe Burke’s retirement dinner with these carefully selected words: “I want to add that Dr. Joseph E. Burke has also always been an invaluable inspiration and guide to a generation of industrial researchers. His career stands as a model of the type of contribution that can be made by a single individual who brings to his job not only skills and knowledge but also optimism, enthusiasm, and wisdom. In my years at the R&D Center, I can recall no individual who embodied those qualities more completely than Joe Burke.”
Dr. Burke was elected to the National Academy of Engineering in 1976. He had been active in the American Ceramic Society (ACS), of which he was a fellow, for many years, and was made a distinguished lecturer in 1972, president in 1974, and a distinguished life member from 1982. From the ACS, he received the John Jeppson Medal in 1981 and the W. David Kingery Award in 1999. He also was a fellow of the American Nuclear Society and the American Society for Metals (ASM) and a member of the British Ceramic Society and the American Association for the Advancement of Science. He also was a fellow of the American Nuclear Society and ASM International. Results of his work are documented in six patents and more than 40 technical papers. He was co-author, with A. U. Seybolt, of the book Procedures in Experimental Metallurgy (Wiley, 1953) and co-editor, with D. W. White, of The MetalBeryllium (American Society of Metals, 1955). He also served as editor of a review series, “Progress in Ceramic Science.”
Joseph E. Burke, by his gentle, likeable, and modest nature, would never have approved of any efforts by friends to describe themselves as members of “the greatest generation.” But his co-workers, cognizant of his truly remarkable career—from key contributions at Los Alamos leading to the end of World War II, to his return to teaching at the University of