It is with great sadness that I have to report the untimely death of Roger Pollard, 65, a prominent British engineer and educator, who was a long-time volunteer of IEEE. Dr. Pollard died on Saturday, 3 December, having been diagnosed with a terminal disease in October. At the time of his death, Dr. Pollard was the secretary of IEEE and a member of the IEEE Board of Directors.
Dr. Pollard had served as chair of the Technical Activities Board (2010) and as leader in several key IEEE volunteer positions—within the IEEE Microwave Theory and Techniques Society (of which he was president in 1998), the United Kingdom and Republic of Ireland Section (chair, 1996-1999), Region 8, the IEEE Awards Board, the IEEE Finance Committee, the IEEE Strategic Planning Committee, and the IEEE Publications Services and Products Board. In 2010 he was recommended by the IEEE Board of Directors to the membership as one of the candidates for 2012 President-elect.
Dr. Pollard always considered his most important IEEE achievement to be his contribution as chair of the TAB/PAB Electronic Products Committee that led to the creation and launch of the online IEEE Xplore digital library platform. His work as chair resulted in IEEE acquiring a leading position as a source of online authoritative technical information, and made IEEE’s intellectual property available to millions worldwide.
Until September 2010, Dr. Pollard served as the Agilent Technologies Chair in High Frequency Measurements and dean of the Faculty of Engineering at the University of Leeds. He was previously the head of the School of Electronic and Electrical Engineering, where he had been a faculty member since 1974. He was an active member of the Institute of Microwaves and Photonics, and a well-known researcher of microwave passive and active devices. His personal research interests were in microwave network measurements, calibration and error correction, microwave and millimeter-wave circuits, terahertz technology, and large-signal and non-linear characterization.
In these areas he had contributed to 10 books, authored over 120 refereed publications, and was awarded three patents. His activity had significant industrial collaboration; he served as consultant to many industrial companies, most notably since 1981 to Agilent Technologies (previously Hewlett-Packard Co.) in Santa Rosa, Calif. For his scientific and engineering contributions Roger Pollard was elevated to IEEE Fellow (1997) and was elected to the UK Royal Academy of Engineering (2005). He was also a Chartered Engineer and Fellow of the Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET; formerly the IEE).
To his friends in IEEE, Roger Pollard exemplified the dedicated and fully committed IEEE volunteer. He has given to the organization of his time and intellectual effort, generously and consistently, for more than 25 years. He was a well read and broadly educated man, and very often raised the level of conversation with his wide knowledge of literature, language and the arts, and with his substantial understanding of law, political history, and economics. He was known as a passionate advocate of the organizational units he served, and of the ideas and causes he favored. He was a highly eloquent and persuasive speaker, not shying away from expressing strong opinions and decisive plans that often flew in the face of conventional wisdom and challenged the existing order.
Yet he was open to persuasion and to hearing and learning from individuals of different opinions, and was frequently the architect of compromises that resulted in widely -supported decisions based on consensus. He was a strong proponent of globalization of IEEE, and supported structural reforms in the way IEEE is organized—to increase the organization’s effectiveness and diversity. Of special note in this regard are his contributions to the 2009 and 2010 ad hoc committees on IEEE Board Transformation, for which he worked indefatigably.
We express our heartfelt condolences to Roger Pollard’s family, colleagues and friends over their great loss. We take some solace in the many initiatives and projects he had led to success, and whose substantial and positive impact will continue to benefit IEEE and its constituents for many years to come.
To share your condolences or memories of Roger Pollard, please use the commenting form below.