Invented music synthesizer
Life Member, 90; died 23 November
Melville Clark combined his understanding of physics and music to develop the Expressor Model A—an early synthesizer that had an electronic keyboard and reproduced the musical tones of several other instruments.
After earning his bachelor’s degree in physics from MIT in 1943, Clark worked with others from the institute on the Manhattan Project in Los Alamos, N.M., which developed the first atomic bombs.
He joined Brookhaven National Laboratory, in Upton, N.Y., as a nuclear physicist, in 1949. He left in 1953 to become a researcher at the University of California’s radiation laboratory, in Livermore. Clark returned to MIT in 1955 and taught nuclear engineering courses and researched controlled fusion and plasma theory until 1962.
In the mid-1960s, he turned his attention to acoustics engineering. He founded Melville Clark Associates in Wayland, Mass., where he developed his synthesizer and continued to improve it during the next few decades. Clark also worked as a consulting physicist and engineer for NASA, as well as for Raytheon, the defense contractor, in Waltham, Mass.
In 1992 he established the Institute for Scientific Research in Music, a nonprofit organization, in Wayland.
In addition to his bachelor’s degree, Clark earned master’s and doctoral degrees in physics from Harvard University in 1947 and 1949.
Biomedical engineering pioneer
Life Fellow, 86; died 19 December
Walter Welkowitz cofounded one of the country’s first college-level biomedical engineering departments, at Rutgers University in New Brunswick, N.J.
Welkowitz served in the U.S. Navy during World War II as an electronic technician’s assistant, working primarily with radar and radio control on a battleship.
After the war, he joined Gulton Industries, in Metuchen, N.J., as general manager of large-scale engine design and production. There he also designed medical instruments such as catheters, cardiac pressure gauges, and systems that monitored a patient’s breathing, blood pressure, heart rate, and temperature.
In 1964 he joined Rutgers as a professor of electrical engineering. A year later, he helped establish a biomedical engineering track within the university’s electrical engineering program. With two other schools in New Brunswick—the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey and the Robert Wood Johnson Medical School—he designed a program that covered basic biomedical and clinical sciences along with engineering fundamentals. In 1986 the biomedical department became an independent entity within the university’s school of engineering; he was named professor emeritus in 1993.
Welkowitz received a bachelor’s degree at the Cooper Union School of Engineering, in New York City. He went on to earn master’s and doctoral degrees in engineering from the University of Illinois.
Clinton S. Hartmann
SAW device pioneer
Life Senior Member, 68; died 4 February
Clinton Hartmann held more than 100 patents for his pioneering work with surface acoustic wave (SAW) devices.
Hartmann began his career in 1969 as an engineer for Texas Instruments in Dallas, where he researched and developed SAW devices, which rely on a mechanical wave motion that travels along the surface of a solid material. The devices convert electric signals to an acoustic wave and then back to an electric signal. In 1978 Hartmann was named a TI Fellow.
Hartmann left the company the following year to found RF Monolithics, which manufactured wireless networking circuits, in Providence, R.I. Some years later he became chief executive officer of RF SAW Inc., in Dallas. Hartmann is credited with inventing many SAW devices in common use today. These include enabling devices found in cellphones, pocket pagers, video tape recorders, automotive keyless entry systems, color television sets, garage door openers, and television remote controls and for radio-frequency identification.
Hartmann was a member of the IEEE Ultrasonics, Ferroelectronics, and Frequency Control Society.
He received a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering from the University of Texas, Austin. He went on to earn a Ph.D. from MIT.
John R. Mentzer
Life Senior Member, 96; died 21 February
John R. Mentzer was professor emeritus at Pennsylvania State University, in University Park.
Mentzer began his career in 1942 as a design engineer at the Westinghouse Electric Corp. in Baltimore. For a short period he was a researcher at MIT’s Antenna Laboratory before joining Penn State in 1954 as an associate professor of electrical engineering. Two years later he became a full professor and headed up the first honors program in the university’s college of engineering. In 1974 he was named head of the engineering science and mechanics department, a position he held until he retired in 1981 and was named professor emeritus.
He was a member of the IEEE Antennas and Propagation Society.
Mentzer received bachelor’s and master’s degrees in electrical engineering from Penn State in 1942 and 1948. He earned a Ph.D. in physics in 1952 from Ohio State University, in Columbus.