Dr. Gertrude M. Clarke, an inspiring Class teacher and brilliant scientist, died on May 15th at the age of 88. I have been writing the NewtonSTEM blog for over nine years, driven by an interest in MINT, which was taught in Dr. Clarke in Chatham, NJ. She is not only my favorite teacher, but also:
- Studied atomic, nuclear and waste physics in Yale;
- Earned her Ph.D. from Rutgers University;
- Carried out research at the Brookhaven National Laboratory using the accelerator from Rutgers University, the cyclotron at Harvard University and the laser laboratory at the Stevens Institute of Technology;
- Teached physics, science research, practical chemistry and environmental science at Chatham High School and created a high school AP course in nucleonics;
- Received awards from Princeton University and the National Science Teachers Associations for their excellence in high school teaching;
- Improved the precision of medical proton beams in numerous cancer treatments through her research;
- Founded the New Jersey Business / Industry / Science Education Consortium and served as Executive Director;
- Was a trustee, the first president and later a candidate for New Jersey inventor Hall of Fame.
Dr. Clarke was super smart, energetic, understanding, and very committed to her students, with a great sense of humor. Her classes were fun, challenging and insightful. I remember one day when we were doing experiments, she said, “This is a laboratory – with a focus on work, not rhetoric!” I am sure that Dr. Clarke has inspired several hundred students to pursue careers in science, technology and STEM.
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