In Memoriam: March 2012

IEEE mourns the loss of the following members

5 March 2012
Photo: IEEE

Robert Galvin
CEO of Motorola
Member Grade: Honorary Member
Age: 89; died 12 October

Robert Galvin was chief executive officer of Motorola for 27 years.

He began working as a stockroom assistant in 1940 at his father’s electronics company in Evanston, Ill., Galvin Manufacturing Corp., which made the Motorola-brand car radio. He held various positions in the company’s factory and business departments before becoming its director in 1945. Two years later the company was renamed Motorola Inc., and it began manufacturing TV sets as well as mobile radio equipment for the U.S. government.

In 1956 Galvin was named president of Motorola, and succeeded his father as CEO three years later. During his time in that position, Motorola developed the radio technology for several NASA missions including Explorer 1 and Apollo 11. He also oversaw Motorola's pioneering efforts in the cellular phone industry, including the development of the first commercial cellphone in 1973 and the first cellphone network in the early 1980s. He retired in 1986 but remained on the board of directors until 2001.

Galvin also helped develop Six Sigma, a business management strategy that tries to minimize errors in manufacturing and business practices by applying statistical methods and quality-control techniques. Implemented at Motorola in 1986, it has since been adopted by many technology companies. In 2005 Galvin started the Galvin Electricity Initiative, a nonprofit organization dedicated to ensuring the U.S. electrical grid meets Six Sigma standards of quality.

He received a number of awards, including the 2000 IEEE Founder's Medal for his “distinguished leadership in promoting quality, technological excellence and cooperation between government and the private sector, and expanding the applications of electronics and communications technology globally." He was named an IEEE honorary member in 1993.

Galvin briefly attended the University of Notre Dame, in Indiana, before leaving to join Galvin Manufacturing. He received an honorary doctor of humane letters degree in 1990 from the Illinois Institute of Technology, in Chicago.


Photo: IEEE

Norman F. Ramsey
Work led to development of the atomic clock
Member Grade: Honorary Member
Age: 96; died: 4 November

Norman F. Ramsey was a physicist who devised a method of probing the structure of atoms and molecules—which led to the development of the atomic clock.

He began his career during World War II in the Radiation Laboratory at MIT, where he served as a radar consultant to the U.S. Secretary of War. In 1943 he joined the Los Alamos National Laboratory, in New Mexico. The lab was established that year to house the Manhattan Project, whose mission was to design and build the first atomic bomb. There, he led the team that helped assemble the atomic bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Japan.

After the war, Ramsey became a professor and a research scientist at Columbia University, in New York City. He also helped establish the Brookhaven National Laboratory and its particle accelerator, in Upton, N.Y., and in 1946 became its first head of physics. The following year he left to join the physics department at Harvard University, where he was a professor for 40 years until retiring in the late 1980s. He continued his research in molecular physics, and in recent years studied the symmetry of the neutron, searching for evidence that it was not perfectly spherical.

In 1949, Ramsey discovered a new way to study atoms and molecules by sending a stream of them through rapidly alternating magnetic fields. Since 1967 the technique, known as the Ramsey method, has been used by scientists to define the exact span of a second. His method led to the development by others of magnetic resonance imaging and the atomic clock, a device that uses an electronic transition frequency in the microwave, optical, or ultraviolet region of the electromagnetic spectrum of atoms as a standard for timekeeping. Atomic clocks are now used for international time-distribution services, frequency control of television broadcasts, and in GPS navigation.

Ramsey shared the 1989 Nobel Prize in Physics for “the invention of the separated oscillatory fields method and its use in the hydrogen maser and other atomic clocks.” He was named an IEEE honorary member in 1983 and received the 1984 IEEE Medal of Honor for developing accurate time and frequency standards.

Ramsey received bachelor's and master’s degrees and, in 1940, a doctorate—all in physics from Columbia.


Photo: National Academy of Engineering

Jordan J. Baruch
Assistant secretary of the U.S. Department of Commerce
Member Grade: Life Fellow
Age: 88; died: 17 November

Jordan J. Baruch was an electrical engineer and acoustics expert who served as Assistant Secretary of the Commerce Department under U.S. President Jimmy Carter.

During World War II, Baruch was an electrical engineer in the U.S. Army Signal Corps. After the war, he worked as an assistant professor of electrical engineering at MIT before founding Jordan Baruch Consulting, a firm that specialized in acoustics.

In 1977 President Carter appointed him Assistant Secretary of Commerce. In that role, he went to China to help establish business relationships with executives and managers at technology companies. He left the Commerce Department in 1981 to found Jordan Baruch Associates, a technology consulting firm in Chevy Chase, Md. He remained president of the company until he retired in the early 2000s.

Baruch held several patents for sound-dampening technology and loudspeaker systems.

He received bachelor’s and master’s degrees in electrical engineering in 1948 and a doctorate in electrical instrumentation in 1950—all from MIT.

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