Gertrude M. Clarke

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Gertrude Clarke

Gertrude M. Clarke is a former educator who primarily taught high school physics and nucleonics, also extensively engaged in nuclear physics research. She founded the New Jersey Business/Industry/Science Education Consortium (NJ BISEC) and served as its Executive Director from 1981 until 1999. She has been on the Board of Trustees of the New Jersey Inventors Hall of Fame for sixteen years, and President Emeritus since 2012..


Gertrude M. Clarke received her baccalaureate degree from Douglass College in 1954. Her pre-doctural studies included radiological courses at Rutgers University, electronics at the RCA Institute, chemistry, and physics at Seton Hall University and atomic, nuclear and solid-state physics at the Yale University Graduate School.

Ms. Clarke taught physics, science survey, practical chemistry and environmental science classes at Chatham High School, in New Jersey. She designed a college-level course for accelerated seniors unique to the State of New Jersey called Nucleonics.[1]

Nuclear Physics and Medical Research[edit]

Clarke was a medical associate at the Brookhaven National Laboratory (BNL) and assisted in conducting research. She conducted independent research on the "Generation of Electromagnetic Radiation by the Interaction of Charged Particle Beams Transiting Periodic Structures" primarily using the Rutgers University (New Brunswick, NJ) accelerator. In 1978 she was given the opportunity to continue that research using the cyclotron at Harvard University. She also conducted experiments at the Stevens Institute of Technology (Hoboken, NJ) laser laboratory. In 1985 she was selected by the Lawrence Berkeley Laboratory (California) for a "Residence in Science & Technology Program". In 1987 she received her PhD from Rutgers University. Her thesis was titled, "A Reassessment of Gastrointestinal Dose from a Continental United States Nuclear Weapons Test".

Writing and Lectures[edit]

In 1980 Dr. Clarke was invited to write an article about "The Real World of Physics Teaching" by the editor of "The Physics Teacher" magazine [2] Dr. Clarke has presented, invitational lectures at Yale, Wesleyan, Princeton Universities and other collegiate institutions on "The Use of High Energy Particle Beams as a Modality for the Treatment of Localized Cancer". In 1994 she lectured on "Medical Applications of High Energy Charged Particles" at the annual Physics Conference and Exploratorium for High School Teachers and Students (March 16, 1994) held at New Jersey Institute of Technology (Newark, NJ)[3] Starting in 1975 in Washington, D.C. she gave more than forty invitational speeches at conferences throughout the country about the need for development of industry-education partnerships. In 1995 Dr. Clarke was a panelist with the U.S. Secretary of Education, R. Riley, in a satellite TV program titled "Perspectives on Math and Science". Her last speech on the subject of strategies for effecting educational change at the request of the National Alliance of Business (Washington, D.C., May 1999) was titled "Employers & Educators Working Together".

Organization Woman[edit]

In 1981 Dr. Clarke established The New Jersey Business/Industry/Science Education Consortium (NJ BISEC), an organization dedicated to improving the teaching/learning process so that kindergarten through grade 12 New Jersey students could experience the excitement and recognize the relevance of science, mathematics, computer science and technology. Automatic Data Processing, Atlantic Electric, Bristol-Myers-Squibb, Exxon Chemical Company, Ciba Pharmaceuticals, Honeywell, Johnson & Johnson, Mobil Chemical Company, Unilever Research U.S., Merck, Public Service Electric & Gas Company, and Hoffman-LaRoche were among the many New Jersey companies enlisted so that NJ BISEC could provide competitive grants, and conduct diverse training programs, for teachers throughout New Jersey. In addition 13 University research laboratories, several hospitals, the State of New Jersey, and the National Science Foundation were enlisted to contribute financial, and human resources.

At the 1992 New Jersey Science Convention in Cranford, Dr. Clarke lectured on "Classroom Connections with New Jersey's Science and Math Industries" [4] Dr. Clarke directed the NJ BISEC for 18 years raising millions of dollars to provide training programs designed to improve the quality of teaching. More than 1.8 million dollars for direct-award grants and stipends were given to teachers for participating in those various programs. In 1996 Dr. Clarke was invited to become a Board of Trustees member of the New Jersey Inventors Hall of Fame,.[5] The New Jersey Inventors Hall of Fame (NJIHoF) is reportedly the only State invention-awarding organization which annually honors qualified inventors, innovators and recent University-graduate inventive students. The NJIHoF was organized in 1987.[6] The New Jersey Institute of Technology (NJIT) remained the headquarters until 2002. In her capacity as president starting in 2006, she acquired a new headquarters and sponsor with Stevens Institute of Technology (Hoboken, NJ). She re-instituted the annual black-tie awards banquet and ceremony and led funding efforts to financially stabilize the organization. With board approval she instituted the prestigious "Trustees Award" which recognized annually one person who has made an outstanding contribution to the inventive and/or innovative process in New Jersey. As of 2012, 156 inventors including fourteen Nobel Laureates have been inducted into the NJIHoF.[7] On her retirement as president of the NJIHoF she was presented by the Board of Trustees with the first "Outstanding Contributions Award".[8] Dr. Gertrude M. Clarke served as NJIHoF president from May 2006 to December 2011.

Honors and Awards[edit]

In 1978 Princeton University cited Gertrude Clarke for "Distinguished Secondary School Teaching in the State of New Jersey".[9] In 1979 Douglass College presented her with "The Douglass Society Award for Distinguished Achievement" In 1981 Ms. Clarke was presented with the Citation for Distinguished Service to Science Education Award" by The National Science Teachers Association,.[9] In 1985 Ms. Clarke was a New Jersey finalist for the "Presidential Award for Excellence in Science Teaching". In 1985 she was selected by the Lawrence Berkeley Laboratory (California) for a "Residence in Science & Technology Program". In 1989 Dr. Clarke received the first National "Teacher Award for Community Service" award. The award honored her for "her contributions to the New Jersey Business/Industry/Science Education Consortium as an outstanding teacher who has provided exemplary service and leadership in the development of the Consortium's activities". The award was presented by P. Roy Vagelos, M.D., chairman and CEO of Merck and Company and John Fowler, PhD, director of the Triangle Coalition for Science and Technology Education.[10] Dr. Clarke was also cited in the local newspaper [11] In 1998 New Jersey Governor, Christine T. Whitman spoke of her as a "heroine" for the vision to create the NJ BISEC statewide partnership. In 2013 Dr. Clarke was a recipient of the 32nd annual "State of New Jersey Woman of Achievement Award" sponsored by New Jersey State Federation of Woman's Clubs of GFWC.[12] Both the former NJ Governor, Christine Todd Whitman and the theoretical physicist Dr. Shirley Ann Jackson, president of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute were former recipients of that award.


  1. ^ The Physics Teacher magazine, May 1980 Vol.18 pp 352-357
  2. ^ The Physics Teacher magazine May 1980 pp 352-357
  3. ^ New Jersey Institute of Technology lecture information pamphlet
  4. ^ New York Times, article by Pricilla Van Tassel, October 17, 1982
  5. ^ 1997 New Jersey Inventors Hall of Fame Awards Banquet program
  6. ^ Star-Ledger, Newark, NJ
  7. ^
  8. ^ 2012 New Jersey Inventors Hall of Fame Awards Banquet program
  9. ^ a b The National Science Teachers Association citation, April 5, 1981
  10. ^ The Daily Record, July 27, 1989
  11. ^ Chatham Courier, August 10, 1989
  12. ^ Douglass Associate Alumnae News, Spring 2013, p.4

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