In Memoriam: July 2012

IEEE mourns the loss of the following members

30 July 2012

Photo: Konex Foundation

Humberto Ciancaglini
Dean of engineering
Fellow, 93; died 1 March

Humberto Ciancaglini’s career in electrical engineering spanned more than 50 years, beginning in the early 1940s as an engineer in the R&D laboratory of Philips Argentina, in Buenos Aires.

He left to become an engineering professor at the University of Buenos Aires, where he played a key role in developing the first electronic digital computer in Latin America. He later joined a research team at the university that designed and built one of Argentina’s first nuclear reactors. Shortly afterward, he was named dean of engineering.

In the 1960s, he was appointed a board member of the National Agency for Space Research and the National Council for Scientific Technical Research. During the 1980s he served as Argentina’s secretary of communications.

He was chair of the IEEE Argentina Section in 1965 and 1966, and in 1985 he received the IEEE Region 9 Eminent Engineer Award. On his 90th birthday, the Argentina Section recognized his career and service to IEEE with a tribute and commemorative plaque.

Ciancaglini received a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering in 1942 from the University of Buenos Aires.

Photo: University of California, Berkeley

Charles Birdsall
Professor emeritus
Life Fellow, 86; died 6 March

Charles “Ned” Birdsall was a professor of microwave and plasma physics at the University of California, Berkeley.

He spent the first four years of his career as a researcher at Hughes Aircraft Co., in Culver City, Calif., where he helped develop traveling-wave and other microwave tubes and amplifiers. He left in 1955 to head the electron physics group at General Electric’s Microwave Laboratory, in Palo Alto, Calif.

He left there in 1959 to join University of California, Berkeley, as a professor of electrical engineering, teaching plasma physics for more than 40 years. He pioneered the concept of coupling between positive and negative energy waves, and invented the ring-bar traveling wave tube—a high-power amplifier still used by the military for its broadband communications.

A member of the IEEE Nuclear and Plasma Sciences Society, Birdsall received the 2011 IEEE Marie Sklodowska-Curie Award for “theoretical investigations and fundamental discoveries involving microwave tubes, electron beam physics and particle-in-cell simulation of plasma physics.”

Birdsall received bachelor’s and master’s degrees in electrical engineering from the University of Michigan, in Ann Arbor. He went on to earn a Ph.D. in electrical engineering in 1951 from Stanford University.

Sever Anghel
Founder of Anghel Laboratories
Life Member, 68; died 17 March

Sever Anghel founded Anghel Laboratories, a defense contractor in Rockaway, N.J.

Anghel had worked as a microwave engineer for three companies in Whippany, N.J.—Wheeler Laboratories, ITT, and Engelmann Microwave—before founding Anghel Laboratories in the late 1970s. His company produced small, high-performance subsystems for the U.S. military that had several applications, including long-range radar and microwave landing systems.

After 20 years, he sold his company to Comsat RSI (now part of General Dynamics). He then joined MITEQ, in Hauppauge, N.Y., where he worked as an engineer until shortly before he died.

He was a member of the IEEE Microwave Theory and Techniques Society.

Anghel received a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering in 1967 from the City College of New York and a master’s degree in 1969 from Rutgers University, in Newark, N.J.

Photo: University of California, San Diego

Halbert L. White
Senior Member, 61; died 31 March

Halbert L. White was a leading economist who wrote a seminal paper on robust standard errors in econometrics. His work prompted observers to consider him a candidate for the 2011 Nobel Prize in economic sciences.

In 1976 White joined the economics department of the University of Rochester, in New York. Three years later he moved to the University of California, San Diego, where as a professor of economics he taught courses until this year on statistics, economic forecasting, and artificial neural networks.

A paper he published in 1980 laid out fundamental ways to evaluate the soundness of hypotheses posed by economists. That led to the White Standard Errors Test, which uses econometric methods, statistics, and modeling to help economists test their predictions and measure their probability of error. His article in the economics journal Econometrica is still the most-cited paper in its field.

In 1999, White and colleague Charles Bates founded Bates White Economic Consulting, with offices in San Diego and Washington, D.C. The company offers expert testimony and statistical analysis to law firms, Fortune 500 companies, and government agencies.

White was a member of the IEEE Computational Intelligence and IEEE Computer societies.

He received a bachelor’s degree in economics in 1972 from Princeton University and a Ph.D., also in economics, in 1979 from MIT.

Ralph W. Wager
Electrical engineer
Member, 49; died 8 May

Ralph W. Wager was an electrical engineer for PSE&G, the electric utility, in New Providence, N.J. He had worked for the company since 1997.

Wager was a member of the IEEE Dielectrics and Electrical Insulation and IEEE Power & Energy societies.

He received bachelor’s and master’s degrees, both in electrical engineering, from Polytechnic Institute of Brooklyn, in New York City.

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