Former IEEE president
Life Fellow, 87; died 25 May
For more than 50 years, Arthur Stern was a dedicated volunteer for IEEE and its predecessor societies, IRE and AIEE.
Stern served as IEEE president in 1975. He was also president of the IEEE Circuits and Systems Society and chair of the IEEE History Committee. Stern was a guest editor of Proceedings of the IEEE and IEEE Transactions on Circuit Theory. He received several IEEE awards, including the 2000 IEEE Millennium Medal and the 2001 IEEE Haraden Pratt Award for outstanding service to IEEE.
Stern came to the United States in 1951, a Swiss bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering in hand, six years after he was freed from the Bergen-Belsen Nazi concentration camp, near Hanover, Germany. He began his career that year as a researcher at General Electric’s electronics laboratory, in Syracuse, N.Y. In his first two years there, he helped develop color television technology. In 1954 he was promoted to manager of the laboratory’s advanced circuits group, where he helped develop solid-state techniques for transistor circuits, radios, and integrated circuits.
Stern left GE in 1961 to head the electronics division of Martin Marietta Corp., in Bethesda, Md. Three years later, Martin Marietta became Bunker-Ramo Corp., and Stern stayed on as its director of engineering. He led the development of advanced mobile missile, command and control, and antisubmarine warfare systems. He was later promoted to director of operations.
In 1966 Stern joined Magnavox’s West Coast division in Torrance, Calif., where as vice president he played a key role in developing GPS navigation systems for commercial and military ships. He retired in 1991 as vice chair of Magnavox and president of Magnavox Advanced Products and Systems Co.
Stern received his electrical engineering degree in 1947 from the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology, in Zurich. He earned a master’s degree in electrical engineering in 1955 from Syracuse University, in New York.
To learn more about Arthur Stern’s life and career, visit the IEEE Global History Network website to read his oral history. You can also express condolences or share memories of Stern by using the comment form below.