Joseph A. Becker, Ph.D., was born on January 24, 1897, in the Saar District in Germany, the son of Nicholas and Katherine (Paulus) Becker. Coming to the United States with his parents at the age of three years, he became a citizen through the naturalization of his father.
Doctor Becker received his formal education in the private and public schools of New York State. He attended St. Nicholas School in Brooklyn and Newtown High School in Elmhurst. From Cornell University at Ithaca, he received his Bachelor's Degree in 1918 and his Doctorate in 1922. He was awarded a National Research Fellowship at the California Institute of Technology from 1922 to 1924.
Although Dr. Becker has served on faculties at Cornell University, at California Institute of Technology and at Stanford University, for the most part, his professional work has been done in the field of pure research. In this capacity he has served with the Bureau of Standards, with the Research Department of the Westinghouse Electric and Manufacturing Company and since 1924 he has held the position of Research Physicist with the Bell Telephone Laboratories in New York City.
Many of his research publications have appeared in such journals as the Physical Review, Reviews of Modern Physics, Review of Scientific Instruments, Scientific Monthly, Bell Laboratories Record, Proceedings of American Electrochemical Society, and Philosophical Magazine. A review of these publications shows that his research has covered work in the fields of magnetism, X-rays, thermionic emission from oxide coated filaments and thoriated and cesiated tungsten, adsorption, electron conduction in solids, variable resistors and thermistors.
During his college days, Dr. Becker was the editor of the Sibley Journal of Engineering at Cornell University. His interest in editorial activities continues at the present time. He has served as Associate Editor and Acting Editor of the Review of Scientific Instruments.
Doctor Becker is a Fellow of both the American Physical Society and the American Association for the Advancement of Science.
Mendel Medal Presentation Program, May 3, 1942. Villanova College, Villanova, Pennsylvania.