In Memoriam: June 2016

IEEE mourns the loss of the following members

10 June 2016

Boris Mokrytzki

Power systems engineer

Life Fellow, 82; died 6 December

Mokrytzki began his career in 1955 as an R&D engineer at Westinghouse Electric in Churchill, Pa. He left in 1962 to develop solid-state power controls as a senior engineer at Norbatrol Electronics, in Pittsburgh. In 1964, he joined the electronic research department of Reliance Electric, a manufacturer of motors, in Cleveland. He moved back to Pittsburgh and Westinghouse in 1972 as an engineering manager. He left in 1975 to become a manager at Robicon, a manufacturer of power control systems, also in Pittsburgh.

From 1977 to 1981 he was chief engineer at Canadrive Systems, a manufacturer of solid-state power systems in Oakville, Ont., Canada. He left to join Siemens, an electronics conglomerate, in Toronto, where he was an R&D manager. He retired in 1994 and then worked as a consultant, specializing in power systems and power controller design, analysis, and testing.

He was elevated to IEEE Fellow in 1992 “for developments in pulse-width modulation techniques for semiconductor inverters for large AC motors.” He was a member of the IEEE Industry Applications Society.

Mokrytzki received a bachelor’s degree in 1955 from Case Western Reserve University, in Cleveland. He earned a master’s degree in 1964 from the University of Pittsburgh.


Steven B. Sample

Former university president

Life Fellow, 75; died 29 March

Sample was president of the University of Southern California, Los Angeles, for 19 years.

From 1982 to 1991 he was president of the University of Buffalo, New York. He helped it to become a major research institution and revitalized its sports program. He received the 2004 Charles P. Norton Medal, UB’s highest honor. The university also established a scholarship fund in his name for undergraduate students in the engineering and applied sciences department.

He left UB in 1991 to become president of USC, whose national academic ranking rose during his leadership. During his leadership, the university’s national academic ranking rose from number 41 in 1999 to number 26 in 2010, the year he retired.

He wrote The Contrarian’s Guide to Leadership (Wiley, 2003), which became a Los Angeles Times best seller and was translated into five languages. He was elevated to IEEE Fellow in 2009 “for leadership in education.”

Sample earned bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral degrees—all in electrical engineering—from the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign.


Huntly D. Millar

Founder of biomedical instrumentation companies

Life Member, 89; died 11 April

Millar started two companies specializing in biomedical instruments.

After working in the early 1950s as a researcher at Baylor College of Medicine, in Houston, he founded in 1957 the E&M Instrument Co., which developed laboratory equipment for medical schools. Four years later the company merged with Narco Bio Systems of Austin, Texas.

In 1969 he founded Millar Instruments, in Houston. The company develops catheter-tip sensors for measuring blood pressure and cardiac volume. Now known as Millar Inc., the company also develops sensors to measure pressure in the brain and other parts of the body.

Millar received the 2001 Laufman-Greatbatch Award from the Association for the Advancement of Medical Instrumentation for his contributions to the field.

He earned a bachelor’s degree from McGill University, in Montreal, and a master’s degree from the University of Houston.


David R. Brown

Computer pioneer

Life Fellow, 92; died 16 April

Brown was a member of the team at MIT that created Project Whirlwind, one of the first large-scale, high-speed computers.

In the late 1940s he led the group that developed and installed the project’s magnetic ferrite-core memory. Later he worked on the pioneering SAGE U.S. air defense system at MIT’s Lincoln Laboratory, in Lexington, Mass. The cost of the project, both in funding and the number of military, civilian, and contractor personnel involved, exceeded the cost of the Manhattan Project, which developed the atomic bomb. By the time the SAGE system was deployed, it consisted of 3 combat centers, 24 direction centers, and hundreds of radars spread across the United States.

In 1963 Brown joined SRI International, a nonprofit research institute in Menlo Park, Calif., as manager of its Computer Techniques Laboratory. He did early work in artificial intelligence and robotics at SRI, where he was inducted into the organization’s hall of fame last year.

He was elevated to IEEE Fellow in 1969 “for leadership in the development of digital-computer components and the design and operation of large-scale information processing systems.”

Brown earned a master’s degree in 1946 from MIT.

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