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Clarence ZenerClarence Melvin Zener (1905–1993) was the American physicist who first described the property concerning the breakdown of electrical insulators. These findings were later exploited by Bell Labs in the development of the Zener diode, which was duly named after him. Zener was a theoretical physicist with a background in mathematics who conducted research in a wide range of subjects including superconductivity, metallurgy, ferromagnetism, elasticity, fracture mechanics, diffusion and, geometric programming.

Zener was born in Indianapolis, Indiana and earned his PhD in physics at Harvard in 1929. His thesis was entitled Quantum Mechanics of the Formation of Certain Types of Diatomic Molecules.

Zener was known both for his dislike of experimental work and for preferring to work on practical problems within the arena of applied physics, in which he was very insightful. Although he had a reputation of being very successful in these endeavors, he apparently considered himself as being less qualified to work on purely theoretical physics problems.

You can read more about Zener here...

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