In Memoriam: December 2011

IEEE mourns the loss of the following members

6 December 2011
obit_rypinski Photo: Ericsson

Chandos A. Rypinski

Mobile Phone Pioneer
Member Grade: Life Fellow

Age: 86; Died: 27 July


Chandos A. Rypinski was a radio engineer who designed mobile phone systems for several countries. A subsystem he developed was used on NASA’s Pioneer space probes.


In 1948 he joined Northrop Aircraft (now Northrop Grumman) in Burbank, Calif., and then left for Collins Radio Corp. (now Rockwell Collins), which designed and produced equipment for shortwave and AM broadcast radios, also in Burbank. He left in 1958 to start his own firm, C.A. Rypinski Co., in Pasadena, Calif., to design and build radio components for aerospace applications.


The company developed an antenna duplexer, which made it possible to transmit voice or data without having to hit the “push to talk” button or saying “over” to conclude a transmission. The technology was used in NASA’s first three Pioneer spacecraft and later in mobile phones.


In 1961 Rypinski became vice president of engineering at Secode Corp., a supplier of mobile phone systems. Nine years later he founded Rydax, a company that designed mobile phone systems. 


Rypinski was a founding member of the IEEE 802.11 Wireless Standards Committee and was a member of the IEEE Antennas and Propagation, IEEE Communications, IEEE Computer, and IEEE Microwave Theory and Techniques societies.


Rypinski received a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering in 1948 from Caltech.



obit_murakami Photo: Philly.com

Tomomi Murakami

Pioneer of Color TV

Member Grade: Life Senior Member
Age: 89; Died: 7 September

Tomomi Murakami helped develop the first mass-produced color television set.


In 1945 he began working for RCA Corp. in Camden, N.J., as an engineer on a research team that helped develop the first color TV.


In 1962 he joined RCA’s Advanced Development Group, in Moorestown, N.J., where he helped develop technology for the U.S. government’s Aegis shipborne missile-defense system. He retired in 1982 but continued as a consultant for RCA for 10 years.


Murakami received a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering in 1944 from Swarthmore College, in Pennsylvania. He earned master’s and doctoral degrees, both in electrical engineering, from the University of Pennsylvania, in Philadelphia, in 1947 and 1970.



obit_greatbatch Photo: University of Buffalo

Wilson Greatbatch

Co-Inventor of Implantable Pacemaker
Member Grade: Life Fellow

Age: 92; Died: 28 September

Wilson Greatbatch helped to develop the implantable pacemaker, a device that relies on electrical impulses to regulate and reproduce the human heart’s correct rhythm.


In the early 1950s, Greatbatch was an assistant professor of electrical engineering at the University of Buffalo, in New York. In 1958 he collaborated with William Chardack, a surgeon at the Veterans Administration Hospital in Buffalo, to build the first internal pacemaker. Two years later the device was successfully implanted inside a 77-year-old man, who lived with it for 18 months.


Greatbatch founded Greatbatch Ltd., a company that manufactured his pacemakers, in 1970 in Clarence, N.Y. Two years later he invented a corrosion-free lithium battery that replaced the earlier zinc–mercuric oxide battery. That extended the pacemaker’s longevity from about 2 years to more than 10 years.


In 1986 Greatbatch was inducted into the U.S. National Inventors Hall of Fame. He received the 1990 National Technology Medal from President George H. W. Bush. Greatbatch was a member of the IEEE Nuclear and Plasma Sciences Society.


He received a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering from Cornell University, in Ithaca, N.Y., and earned a master’s degree in electrical engineering in 1957 from the University of Buffalo.

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