Memoir

Zay Jeffries

General Electric Company

April 22, 1888 - May 21, 1965


Election Year: 1939
Scientific Discipline: Engineering Sciences
Membership Type: Member

Zay Jeffries’ work with tungsten, aluminum, and steel helped the companies he advised modify their manufacturing processes to allow for safe and efficient production. Jeffries focused much of his career on the microstructures of metals, implementing X-ray diffraction into the laboratory. He developed a procedure for the measurement of tungsten grain size and published The Slip Interference Theory of the Hardening of Metals in 1921 with R.S. Archer. He was a consultant at the Metallurgy Laboratories at the University of Chicago, which served as one of the Manhattan Project’s significant research facilities. In hopes of influencing political decisions, Jeffries and his colleague James Franck submitted a report outlining the dangers of an atomic arms race and the aftermath of atomic warfare.

Jeffries devoted much of his time to the National Research Council, serving on many metallurgic committees during World War II. All of these committees aimed to aid the government on wartime scientific issues by presenting unbiased research on the subjects at hand. Under the National Research Council’s Division of Engineering and Industrial Research, Jeffries was a member of the Metallurgical Advisory Committee. He also served as vice chairman of the War Metallurgy Committee. He was a member of the Research Board for National Security, which was a joint civilian and military effort to advise research initiatives for the U.S. military.

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