Oral history interview with Frank J. Biondi

Oral history interview with Frank J. Biondi

  • 1996-Mar-19

This interview discusses Frank J. Biondi's education, career, and involvement in The Electrochemical Society, beginning with college experiences as a chemical engineering major at Lehigh University and initial work at Bell Telephone Laboratories [BTL]. Biondi describes his position within the structure of BTL in the 1930s and reasons for his pursuit of graduate education at Columbia University.

After completing his master's degree in chemical engineering, he enrolled in the Ph.D. program and became involved in the Manhattan Project. Biondi worked on a gaseous diffusion program to separate uranium 235 from uranium ore, designing the diffusion barrier used for the atom bomb. Biondi describes the reasons for Union Carbide's appropriation of his barrier's design and related patent applications and process details, and the subsequent manufacture of large amounts of barrier.

After making his contribution to the Manhattan project, Biondi returned to BTL work and focused on electronics, initially developing long-life cathodes used by the British during the war. He continued cathode work, becoming involved with the ASTM to standardize three nickel alloys for electronics industry electron tube cathodes. Biondi describes his rise through various BTL departments, his entry into transistor work, and associations with The ECS, which began in an effort to assure BTL metallurgists designing semiconductor devises an outlet for publishing and presenting their work.

After touching on solid state activity and descriptions of new electrochemical processes in ECS publications the interview returns to Biondi's BTL career progress, particularly his relationships with N. Bruce Hannay and R. M. Burns, the electronics industry's first dust-free white room, semiconductor work for satellites, and improvements in battery manufacture and design. The interview closes with comments on the effects of changes related to AT&T and Lucent Technologies, the future of The ECS, and consulting work since retirement from BTL.

Place of interview
Original file type PDF, MP3
  • 57 pages
Rights In Copyright - Non-Commercial Use Permitted
Rights holder
  • Science History Institute
Related URL
Credit line
  • Courtesy of Science History Institute

Physical location


Cite as

F. J. Biondi, interviewed by Arnold Thackray in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania on March 19, 1996. Philadelphia: Science History Institute, n.d. Oral History Transcript 0147. https://digital.sciencehistory.org/works/pn89d750s.

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Transcript (Published Version)

The published version of the transcript may diverge from the interview audio due to edits to the transcript made by staff of the Center for Oral History, often at the request of the interviewee, during the transcript review process.

Complete Interview Audio File Web-quality download

4 Separate Interview Segments Archival-quality downloads