In Memoriam: April 2017

IEEE mourns the loss of the following Fellows

28 April 2017

Irving Reingold

Electrical engineer

Life Fellow, 95; died 3 January

Reingold worked for many years at Fort Monmouth, a former U.S. Army post near Eatontown, N.J.

He began his career in 1949 as an EE for Westinghouse Electric Co. in Bloomfield, N.J. Two years later he left for Fort Monmouth, where he eventually became deputy director of the Electronics Technology and Device Laboratory. He retired in 1985.

After retiring, he did research for the Southeastern Center for Electrical Engineering Education, based in St. Cloud, Fla. In 1990 he became a member of the MIT Electromagnetics Academy. He was appointed in 1994 as special course director at Monmouth University’s Center for Continuing Education and Contract Research, in West Long Branch, N.J., where he remained until 2005.

He was elevated to IEEE Fellow in 1975 “for leadership in the field of display and microwave devices.” He was a member of the IEEE Electron Devices, IEEE Microwave Theory and Techniques, and IEEE Technology and Engineering Management societies, as well as the IEEE Society on Social Implications of Technology. He was chair of the IEEE New Jersey Coast Section’s honors and awards committee from 1985 to 1990. He received an IEEE Microwave Theory and Techniques Society Microwave Application Award.

Reingold received a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering in 1942 from Newark College (now the New Jersey Institute of Technology), in New Jersey.


Josh T. Nessmith Jr.

Radar engineer

Life Fellow, 93; died 10 January

Nessmith was a radar engineer at RCA and Georgia Tech.

He served in the U.S. Army Ordnance Corps during World War II. After the war, he returned to his studies at Georgia Tech, where he received a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering. He went on to earn a master’s degree and a Ph.D., both in EE, from the University of Pennsylvania, in Philadelphia.

He joined RCA in New York City as manager of the systems engineering department. He later served as deputy program manager, overseeing the development of the Aegis Weapon System, which incorporates computers and radar to find and destroy targets. He later directed research on multifunction radar and weapons systems.

He retired from RCA in 1993 and joined Georgia Tech as a senior faculty leader, performing research in radar and teaching phased-array radar design. He also was a radar and weapons systems consultant to the Office of Naval Technology and was a member of U.S. National Academy of Sciences radar technology panels.

Nessmith was elevated to IEEE Fellow in 1977 “for leadership in and the technical management of radar systems engineering.” He was a member of the IEEE Awards Board and the IEEE Fellow Committee, and he served as vice president of operations for the IEEE Aerospace and Electronic Systems Society.


Friedolf M. Smits

Semiconductor pioneer

Life Fellow, 92; died 17 January

Smits was born in Stuttgart, Germany, and received a Ph.D. in physics from the University of Freiburg, Germany, in 1950. In his Ph.D. thesis, he presented a new method of determining geological age of an artifact based on the radioactive decay of potassium.

In 1954 he moved to the United States to work with Nobel laureate William Shockley at Bell Laboratories. There Smits focused on the development of new semiconductor technology. He did pioneering work on the solar cells that powered Telstar, the first communications satellite. He retired from Bell in 1986.

He was elevated to IEEE Fellow in 1972 “for contributions and leadership in semiconductor device development.”

Smits served on the IEEE Board of Directors from 1988 to 1997. He received the 1997 Richard M. Emberson Award “for outstanding service to the institute in technical activities, electronic communications, and publication management and finance.” He was also a supporter of the IEEE History Center.


Harold A. Rosen

Communications satellite pioneer

Life Fellow, 90; died 30 January

Rosen was a driving force behind modern satellite communications technology.

In the early 1960s he led the team that developed NASA’s Syncom geosynchronous communications satellites. Of two satellites launched in 1963, one successfully reached its orbit, enabling the first phone call via satellite between two heads of state, U.S. President John F. Kennedy and Abubakar Tafawa Balewa, prime minister of Nigeria. A third Syncom satellite broadcast live TV signals around the world from the 1964 Summer Olympics in Tokyo.

Rosen was an electronics technician in the U.S. Navy during World War II. He continued his studies after the war at Tulane University, in New Orleans, where he earned a bachelor’s degree in 1946. He earned a master’s degree in 1948 and a Ph.D. in electrical engineering and aeronautics in 1951 from Caltech.

While studying at Caltech, he worked part time at Raytheon, focusing on improving antiaircraft guided missiles and radar. In 1956 he joined Hughes Aircraft in Glendale, Calif. He would go on to oversee the development of more than 150 communications satellites at Hughes and later at Boeing, where he was until he retired in 1993.

In 1992 he and his brother, Benjamin M. “Ben” Rosen, a legendary venture capitalist, founded Rosen Motors in Woodland Hills, Calif. The company developed a hybrid-electric powertrain relying on a flywheel. Automakers declined to use it, however, and the company closed in 1997. He later consulted for Boeing.

Rosen was elevated to IEEE Fellow in 1970 for “contributions in missile guidance and satellite communications.” He received the 1982 IEEE Alexander Graham Bell Medal “for pioneering contributions to, and leadership in, geostationary communications satellites.”

He was a member of the IEEE Broadcast Technology, IEEE Circuits and Systems, IEEE Electron Devices, and IEEE Microwave Theory and Techniques societies.

For more information about Rosen’s life and career, read an oral history conducted by the IEEE History Center.


Edward Emil David Jr.

Science advisor to U.S. President Nixon

Life Fellow, 92; died 13 February

David was science advisor to President Richard Nixon and head of the White House Office of Science and Technology from 1970 to 1973.

He served in the Navy during World War II. In 1950 he joined Bell Labs in Murray Hill, N.J., where he eventually became executive director of research. In the mid 1960s he worked with the National Science Foundation to develop a high school engineering curriculum.

As presidential science advisor, he successfully lobbied to increase the federal budget for grants for nongovernment, applied R&D for the first time in more than a decade. He also helped draft the Nixon administration’s proposals for pollution control and alternative energy that followed passage of the Clean Air Act in 1970. During his tenure and afterward, David warned of challenges that computers pose to personal privacy, advocated a federal communications network linking local emergency services to provide disaster warnings, expressed alarm at a national learning gap in mathematics, and supported ethical standards for research. He also encouraged Nixon to deliver the first presidential message on science and technology.

David quit in early 1973, three weeks before the president abolished the science and technology office. He then joined Gould Electronics of Eastlake, Ohio. From 1977 to 1986 he served as president of Exxon Research and Engineering Co.

He was the U.S. representative to the NATO Science Committee, a president of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and the founder of a consulting company.

He was elevated to IEEE Fellow in 1962 “for contributions to the understanding and exploitation of speech and hearing in communication.” He was a member of the IEEE Communications Society.

Outside his professional life, David was an avid tennis player and skier, enjoyed photography and traveling with his wife of 66 years, Ann, and was renowned as a collector of mineral specimens, a hobby he took up at the age of 6.

He received a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering in 1945 from Georgia Tech and went on to earn master’s and doctoral degrees from MIT.

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