Willis Whitfield; his clean room helped gadgets, medicine
The enemy was very small but it was everywhere. World peace, medical advancement, iTunes — all would eventually be threatened. Half a century ago, as a rapidly changing world sought increasingly smaller mechanical and electrical components and more sanitary hospital conditions, one of the biggest obstacles to progress was air, and the dust and germs it contains. Then, in 1962, Willis Whitfield invented the clean room. Mr. Whitfield, who worked at Sandia from 1954 to 1984, died on Nov. 12 in Albuquerque. He was 92. The cause was prostate cancer, his wife, Belva, said.