Digital Collections

Oral history interview with Henry I. Smith

  • 2005-Oct-25

Henry I. Smith begins the interview with a description of his childhood in New Jersey, his early aptitude in science, and his decision to pursue the sciences. After obtaining an undergraduate degree at Holy Cross College, Smith enrolled in Boston College Graduate School to pursue his interest in physics. Upon receiving his master's degree, Smith took a research position at the Air Force Cambridge Research Laboratory (AFCRL) in order to fulfill his ROTC requirement. At AFCRL he worked with top scientists and proved himself an able researcher. Smith returned to Boston College following his stint at the Air Force to pursue his PhD. His research in x-ray diffraction formed the basis for his pioneering work on x-ray lithography later in his career. While working at the MIT Lincoln Laboratory, Smith realized the importance of fabrication technology and submitted a grant proposal to the National Science Foundation for building a national research and fabrication center. Despite his unsuccessful proposal, Smith established a Submicron Structures Laboratory with MIT funding. Migrating to MIT's campus, Smith investigated a variety of lithography methods such as x-ray, conformable photomask, interferiometric immersion-projection, and zone plate array lithography. He concludes the interview by offering some insights on the semiconductor industry, and how to best develop a research culture that stimulates innovation.

Access this interview

By request 1 PDF Transcript File and 3 Audio Recording Files

Fill out a brief form to receive immediate access to these files.

If you have any questions about transcripts, recordings, or usage permissions, contact the Center for Oral History at

PDF — 98.8 KB