In Memoriam: August 2017

IEEE mourns the loss of five members

31 August 2017

Charles L. Britt Jr.

Aviation engineer

Life Member, 86; died 18 March

Britt helped develop a lifesaving airborne wind shear radar-detection system that is now standard on all U.S. commercial aircraft.

He served in the U.S. Army Signal Corps in 1952 and 1953, then began working for General Electric, where he oversaw the payload of NASA’s first successful Atlas missile launch at Cape Canaveral, Fla. In 1962 he joined the Research Triangle Institute, in North Carolina, where he worked on electronic systems and computer applications.

For his analysis of aircraft collision hazards, he received the 1971 IEEE M. Barry Carlton Award from the IEEE Aerospace and Electronic Systems Society.

In 1979 Britt founded RTI, a consulting firm in Marshall, Va., and worked with NASA and the Federal Aviation Administration to develop, test, and certify the airborne wind-shear system. He received several awards for that work, including a 1994 Laurels award from Aviation Week and Space Technology magazine and the NASA Langley Research Center Guidance and Control Division’s 1990 Best Paper award.

Last year he was inducted into the North Carolina State University Alumni Hall of Fame.

His interests included flying, sailing, bicycling, model planes, astronomy, photography, amateur radio, world travel, and particle physics. In 2015 he wrote a memoir for his children, “Memories of My Dog Spot and Other Stories,” which he updated in January.

He was a member of the IEEE Antennas and Propagation Society.

Britt earned bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral degrees in electrical engineering from North Carolina State University, in Raleigh.


Robert Goodrich

EE professor

Life Member, 82; died 25 March

Goodrich was professor emeritus at Norwich University, in Northfield, Vt., where he spent the last 11 years of his career teaching and mentoring students.

He began teaching in 1960 as an assistant professor of electrical engineering at the University of New Hampshire in Durham. In the early 1970s he left to join Northeast Utilities (now Eversource Energy), a power company serving Connecticut, Massachusetts, and New Hampshire. As a planning engineer, he developed a computer program to track the company’s distribution of electricity over its network.

He was later promoted to director of research and worked on a project that uncovered the physiological mechanism by which electrical burns cause necrosis in skin.

In 1994, after retiring from Northeast, Goodrich joined Norwich as a professor of electrical engineering. He was named professor emeritus in 2005.

He was a member of the IEEE Power & Energy Society.

He received a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering in 1956 from the University of New Hampshire. He earned a Ph.D. in 1970 from Case Western Reserve University, in Cleveland.


John L. Gust

Electrical engineer

Life Member, 84; died 25 April

Gust was a consultant specializing in investigating fires for possible electrical origins.

He served in the U.S. Army during the Korean War, where he was trained in electronics and radio. Later he worked at several companies in the Chicago area, designing and improving resistive heating products.

He bought and operated a screen-printing business and later became part-owner of a precision machine shop, both in Chicago. Finally, he founded a Chicago-based consulting firm that focused on fire investigation.

Gust was a member of the IEEE Communications and IEEE Computer societies.

He received a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering from the Illinois Institute of Technology, in Chicago.


Edward Tomsic

Design engineer

Life Senior Member, 92; died 28 April

Tomsic was assistant chief design engineer at the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation, in Washington, D.C.

He worked on several notable projects during his career with the bureau, including overseeing the Inga-Shaba project—a 500-kilovolt, direct-current transmission system—in Zaire (now the Democratic Republic of the Congo). He was appointed leader of the bureau’s solar energy team, whose efforts led to wind turbine installations at Medicine Bow, Wyo. He also served on Colorado’s Solar Advisory Group, the U.S. interagency committee on underground high-voltage research, and the American National Standards Institute’s switchgear committee. He also served on numerous task forces and steering committees related to research on gas-insulated transmission systems.

Tomsic and his wife, Liz, shared many hobbies including polka dancing and hot-air ballooning. He also enjoyed bowling and making jewelry.

He received a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering from the University of Colorado in Denver.


Arnold Weinberger

Computing pioneer

Life Fellow, 92; died 21 May

Weinberger was an engineer at IBM, where he received more than a dozen awards for his computer research.

He served in the U.S. Army and then began his engineering career in 1950 with the National Bureau of Standards (now the National Institute of Standards and Technology). There he helped design research computers and focused on computer arithmetic, logic, and design automation.

In 1960 he joined IBM at the T.J. Watson Research Laboratory, in Yorktown Heights, N.Y., where he pursued research on computer arithmetic, logic, memories, and design automation. He invented a layout technique for metal-oxide semiconductors for large-scale integration—MOS-LSI—gate-array logic, for which he received two IBM awards.

In 1966 he transferred to IBM’s location in Poughkeepsie, N.Y., where he worked on large system-design projects.

He was elevated to IEEE Fellow in 1984 “for contributions to the theory of computer arithmetic logic, and to the layout of large-scale integrated circuits.” He was recognized at the 1997 IEEE Symposium on Computer Arithmetic for contributions to the field. He was a member of the IEEE Computer Society.

Weinberger was an avid table-tennis player, competing in tournaments well into his 80s.

He received a bachelor’s degree in computer science from New York University, in New York City.

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