Edward E. David, Jr.

January 25, 1925 – February 13, 2017

Brief Biography

Born in Wilmington, North Carolina, Edward E. David, Jr. is an INFORMS  Frederick W. Lanchester Prize recipient who was Science Advisor to United States President Richard M. Nixon. He served in the US Navy in World War II and received a bachelors degree in electrical engineering from the Georgia Institute of Technology in 1945. He pursued graduate study at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, obtaining his doctoral degree in 1950 with a thesis on microwave oscillators written under the guidance of Jerome Wiesner, who later became President of MIT.  

David then joined the technical staff of Bell Laboratories in Homdel, New Jersey. During his twenty year career at Bell Labs he inspired and worked on projects ranging from the development of an inexpensive artificial larynx to preventing airplane hijackings.  He was named director of acoustics research in 1956, and nine years later, was appointed executive director of communications systems research. In 1966, he was elected to the National Academy of Engineering.

In 1964, David and three Bell Labs colleagues met with his former graduate school roommate John Truxal (then at Polytechnique Institute of Brooklyn), three college educators, and two high school teacher administrators to discuss the development of a curriculum to improve understanding of technology at the high school level.  What ensued is described in a 1971 article in the Proceedings of the Institute for Electrical and Electronics Engineers, coauthored by David and Truxal.  In the years following the 1964 meeting, the attendees and a dozen others developed a course and a text, The Man-Made World, a 3-volume paperback series published in 1968 that was written in such a manner that young students could be inspired to learn how OR, systems analysis, and other engineering approaches can be applied to real world problems. Among the chapter headings are: Decision Making, Optimization, Modeling, Models and the Analog Computer, The Organization of a Computer, Programming Languages, Dynamic Systems, and Men and Machines.   The Man-Made World included a collection of problems in the form of a laboratory manual. 

In 1971, David, John G. Truxal, and Emil Joseph Piel (Principal of West Essex High School in West Caldwell NJ) received the Frederick W. Lanchester Prize for best publication in operations research for The Man-Made World

On August 19, 1970, President Nixon nominated David to succeed Dr. Lee A. Dubridge as Director of the Office of Science and Technology and Scientific Advisor to the President, a position similar to that which had earlier been held by Jerome Wiesner under John F. Kennedy.  As Director of the Office of Science and Technology, he pressed for increases in the budget for applied research and development conducted outside of the government, drafted proposals for pollution control and alternative energy, reorganized the federal scientific bureaucracy, and brought about the first presidential message on science and technology. But he resigned from his White House position in 1973, leaving disappointed that his advice had not been heeded.

David became Executive Vice President of Research & Development and Planning at Gould, Inc., then founded the consulting group EED, and began advising industry, government, and university partners on research and innovation management. in 1977 he  became President of Research and Engineering for Exxon, where he brought about an expansion in the use of computing and oversaw the construction of a major research facility in Clinton, NJ.  He retired from Exxon in 1986 and later joined the Washington Advisory Group, serving as its Treasurer until 2004.

In addition to receiving the Lanchester Prize, election to the National Academy of Engineering, and several honorary degrees, David has been honored with the Delmer S. Fahmey Medal of the Franklin Institute and the Industrial Research Institute Medal.

Other Biographies

Wikipedia Entry for Edward E. David Jr.

DeSmog Blog. Edward E. David Jr. Accessed May 29, 2015. (link)

Engineering and Technology History Wiki. Edward E. David, Jr. Accessed May 29, 2015. (link

The Century Foundation. Experts & Staff: Edward E. David, Jr. - Emeritus Trustee. Accessed May 29, 2015. (link


Georgia Institute of Technology, BS 1945

Massachusetts Institute of Technology, MS 1947

Massachusetts Institute of Technology, ScD 1950


Academic Affiliations
Non-Academic Affiliations

Key Interests in OR/MS

Application Areas


Roberts, S (2017) Edward E. David Jr., Who Elevated Science Under Nixon, Dies at 92.  New York Times 28 Feb 2017, B13, New York Edition.  (link)


David, Edward Emil Jr.  papers.  Collection MC582, Institute Archives and Special Collections, MIT Libraries, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Edward E. David (White House Central Files: Staff Member and Office Files). Richard Nixon Presidential Library and Museum. (link)

Awards and Honors

National Academy of Engineering 1966

Frederick W. Lanchester Prize 1971

Industrial Research Institute Medal 1983

Delmer S. Fahrney Medal 1985

Selected Publications

Bolt R. H., Cooper F. S., David Jr E. E., Denes P. B., Pickett J. M., & Stevens K. N. (1970) Speaker identification by speech spectrograms: A scientists' view of its reliability for legal purposes. The Journal of the Acoustical Society of America, 47(2B): 597-612.

David EE, Truxal JG (1969) The man-made world: a course on the theories and techniques that contribute to our technological civilization.  McGraw-Hill  (3 volumes, paperback, with an accompanying laboratory manual

David Jr EE and Truxal JG (1971) The man-made world: a trend in education. Proceedings of the IEEE, 59(6): 924-932.

Bolt R. H., Cooper F. S., David Jr E. E., Denes P. B., Pickett J. M., & Stevens K. N. (1973) Speaker identification by speech spectrograms: some further observations. The Journal of the Acoustical Society of America, 54(2): 531-534.

David Jr EE (1979) Science futures: the industrial connection. Science, 203(4383): 837-40.

David Jr EE (1984). Renewing US mathematics: Critical resource for the future. Notices of the American Mathematical Society, 31(5): 435-466.

Additional Resources

Richard Nixon, Remarks at the Swearing In of Dr. Edward E. David, Jr., as Science Adviser to the President and Director, Office of Science and Technology Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project. Accessed November 13, 2018. (link

Wall Street Journal (2012) No Need to Panic About Global Warming. January 27. (link)