In Memoriam: August 2013

IEEE mourns the loss of the following members

28 August 2013
ObitPavagada Photo: IEEE

Pavagada V. Indiresan
Former director of the Indian Institute of Technology
Honorary Member, 85; died 24 February

Pavagada V. Indiresan was the former director of the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Madras.

He began his career in 1953 at the University of Roorkee (now IIT Roorkee). Indiresan left in 1965 to become a professor of electronics and electrical engineering at IIT Delhi. He then joined IIT Madras, where he was director from 1979 to 1984 and then stayed on as an EE professor until 1986, when he returned to the Delhi campus. Indiresan retired from the school in 1993.

In 1998 he was named an honorary IEEE member for “contributions to the growth of electrical engineering in India through his leadership in education, applied research, and professional engineering institutions.” Honorary membership is bestowed by the IEEE Board of Directors to recognize individuals who are not IEEE members but have benefited humanity through contributions to one of the organization’s fields of interest.

Indiresan received a bachelor’s degree from the Indian Institute of Science, in Bangalore, and a master’s degree from Birmingham University, in England.

Obitburkhardt Photo:

Royal H. Burkhardt
Electrical engineer
Life Member, 86; died 21 March

Royal H. Burkhardt was an electrical engineer for the U.S. Department of Defense (DOD), in Washington, D.C., for more than 30 years.

Burkhardt began there in the early 1950s after serving in the U.S. Army. He was also a scientific advisor to NATO, and he retired from DOD in 1988.

He was a member of the IEEE Communications and Signal Processing societies.

Burkhardt earned his bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral degrees—all in electrical and computer engineering—in 1946, 1947, and 1950 from the University of Iowa, in Iowa City.

ObitLagos Photo: IEEE

Eduardo Lagos
Engineering manager
Senior Member, 78; died 24 April

Eduardo Lagos was an engineering manager at Uruguay’s National Administration of Power Plants and Electrical Transmissions (UTE), a government-owned utility in Montevideo.

He began his career in the early 1960s as an assistant engineer in UTE’s water purification plant design department. A few years later he was promoted to engineering manager, a position he held until he retired in 2002.

Lagos was chair of the IEEE Uruguay Section from 2002 to 2003 and vice chair from 2004 to 2005.

He received a bachelor’s degree in civil and electrical engineering in 1965 and a master’s degree in economic and social development in 1966, both from the Universidad de la República, in Montevideo.

ObitCantrell Photo: University of Texas

Cyrus D. Cantrell III
Professor of electrical engineering
Life Fellow, 72; died 19 June

Cyrus D. Cantrell III was a professor of electrical engineering at the University of Texas, Dallas (UT Dallas), for almost three decades.

An associate professor of physics at Swarthmore College, in Pennsylvania, from 1967 to 1973, Cantrell left there to become a staff member in the laser division at Los Alamos National Laboratory, in New Mexico. In 1980 he joined Université Paris-Nord as an associate professor of physics. Nine months later, in September 1980, Cantrell left there to join UT Dallas. He began as a professor of physics but then started teaching electrical engineering in 1986. Cantrell’s research focused on various aspects of photonics, including the statistical properties of light, modern molecular spectroscopy, and quantum and nonlinear optics.

In 2002 he was named senior associate dean for academic affairs at the university’s Erik Jonsson School of Engineering and Computer Science. He oversaw academic program accreditation, faculty evaluations, and the development of new graduate programs. He was also an advisor to the IEEE student branch at UT Dallas as well as the school’s Battlebot team—a student group that designs and builds robots each year to compete in the annual Battlebots National Championship. In 2011, under Cantrell’s mentorship, the team’s robot won first place in its division.

He was a member of the IEEE Computer, Communications, Consumer Electronics, Microwave Theory and Techniques, and Photonics societies.

Cantrell earned a bachelor’s degree in physics in 1962 from Harvard University. He went on to earn master’s and doctoral degrees, both in physics, from Princeton University in 1964 and 1968.

ObitGordon Photo: Optical Society

James P. Gordon
Optics pioneer
Life Fellow, 85; died 26 June

James P. Gordon helped develop the maser (short for microwave amplification by stimulated emission of radiation), which paved the way for the invention of the laser.

In 1954, while earning his doctorate in physics from Columbia University, Gordon worked with his professor Charles H. Townes and his fellow student Herbert Zeiger to design, build, and demonstrate the maser. The device produces and amplifies electromagnetic radiation mainly in the microwave region of the spectrum. The laser, invented in 1960 by physicist Theodore Maiman, operates on the same basic principles as the maser. 

Gordon became a researcher at AT&T Bell Laboratories, in Holmdel, N.J., in 1955 and was promoted to head its quantum electronics research department three years later. He spent his entire career there, retiring in 1996.

Gordon made several fundamental contributions to the field of optics, including the analysis of Gaussian laser beams and the design of the confocal laser resonator. He also worked with MIT researcher Hermann A. Haus on what is now known as the Gordon-Haus effect, which estimates the performance of solitons, a self-reinforcing solitary wave. He also pioneered a quantum theory that determines the information capacity of an optical communications channel.

Gordon was a Fellow of the Optical Society and the American Physical Society. He was also a member of the National Academy of Engineering and the National Academy of Sciences.

Gordon received a bachelor’s degree in 1949 from MIT. He went on to earn master’s and doctoral degrees, both in physics, from Columbia University in 1951 and 1955.

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