In Memoriam: November 2014

IEEE mourns the loss of the following members

28 November 2014

Alan W. Postlethwaite

Metallurgic scientist

Life Senior Member, 89; died 7 August

Postlethwaite was acting director of the Smithsonian Institution’s Conservation Analytical Laboratory, in Gaithersburg, Va.

Born in Margate, England, Postlethwaite earned a bachelor’s degree from the University of Sheffield, in South Yorkshire, then moved to the United States to study at MIT, where he earned a master’s degree in metallurgy and founded the Men’s Rugby Football Club. After graduating, he worked for several companies in Massachusetts, including Gillette, a maker of razors and other personal-care products in Boston; Raytheon, a defense contractor in Waltham; and Sylvania, a lighting manufacturer in Danvers.

Postlethwaite moved in 1974 to Washington, D.C., to become lead researcher for hydrodynamics and photovoltaic commercialization at the U.S. Energy and Research Development Administration (now the U.S. Department of Energy). He left in 1982 to join the Smithsonian Institution as deputy director of the Conservation Analytical Laboratory. Postlethwaite later became acting director and was instrumental in the lab’s relocation from Washington to Gaithersburg.


Samuel Zwass

Electrical engineer

Senior Member, 89; died 1 September

Zwass worked as an electrical engineer for Hughes Aircraft Co., an aerospace and defense contractor in Glendale, Calif.

He began his career at Triad Transformers (now Triad Magnetics), an electronics manufacturer in Venice, Calif. There he specialized in power supplies and circuits. He spent 20 years at Triad before joining Hughes Aircraft. He retired from Hughes after 25 years.

He was a member of the IEEE Magnetics and IEEE Systems, Man, and Cybernetics societies.

Zwass earned a bachelor’s degree in engineering from the Technical University of Munich.


Ray H. Lee

LCD developer

Life Member, 96; died 18 September

Lee helped develop early LCD and television display technology at several companies, including Boeing, Paramount Pictures, Sarnoff (now SRI International), and Texas Instruments. He was granted a number of patents, including one for color display tubes that he shared with Ernest O. Lawrence, who received the 1939 Nobel Prize in Physics for his invention of the cyclotron.

Lee enjoyed painting, playing chess, composing music, and writing poetry.

He received master’s and doctoral degrees in electrical engineering from Stanford University in 1945 and 1946, then went on to earn a master’s degree in mathematics in 1947, also from Stanford.


Henry Follingstad

Mathematics professor

Life Senior Member, 92; died 1 October

Follingstad was professor emeritus at Augsburg College, in Minneapolis, where he taught mathematics for 25 years.

He served in the U.S. Army as a radar specialist during World War II. In 1948 he began working for Bell Telephone Laboratories (now Alcatel-Lucent), in Murray Hill, N.J., as an electrical engineer. He left in 1962 to join North Star Research Development Institute, an engineering research firm in Minneapolis. That year he also became a professor at Augsburg. From 1964 to 1974 he was a scientific research consultant at Honeywell in St. Paul, Minn. He retired from Augsburg in 1987 and was named professor emeritus.

He authored or coauthored numerous research papers on topics that included the modeling of physical systems, Doppler microwave systems, and solid-state transistors. He wrote Einstein Special Relativity Chaos and a View Beyond (Lakes Printing, 2008), which analyzes and challenges Albert Einstein’s theory of relativity.

Follingstad was a member of the IEEE Professional Communication Society.

He earned a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering in 1947 from the University of Minnesota, in Minneapolis.


Louis S. VanSlyck

Developed methods for managing electric power

Life Fellow, 82; died 15 October

VanSlyck was cofounder of Priority-based Control Engineering (PCE), a company in Dublin, Ohio, that develops computer methods for managing electric power generation.

After earning bachelor’s and master’s degrees in electrical engineering in 1955 and 1957 from North Dakota State University, in Fargo, he began teaching electrical engineering at the school. He took a leave of absence in 1962 and 1963 to earn a Ph.D. in EE from the Illinois Institute of Technology, in Chicago.

In 1968 he left NDSU to join American Electric Power, a utility in New York City, where he worked with other engineers to develop the first state estimator, a device that enables operators to monitor the performance of electric grids and predict possible power outages. He transferred in 1972 to AEP’s Power Production Control Center, in Canton, Ohio, where he managed computer applications for system operation, automatic power generation control, and energy data acquisition and processing. He moved in 1985 to the company’s facility in Columbus, Ohio, where he worked on techniques analyzing power transfer and monitoring operating costs. He also helped develop the Power Systems Concepts course taught by AEP to its staff.

VanSlyck left the utility in 1994 to cofound PCE. Two years later the company submitted a report to the North American Reliability Council (now the North American Electric Reliability Council), a nonprofit in Atlanta that promotes the quality and reliability of bulk power transmission over the continent’s electric utility systems. The report, “Control Performance Standards and Procedures for Interconnected Operation,” outlined ways to optimize the efficiency of power-grid interconnections without compromising system security. In 1997 the NERC established new performance criteria for all major power transmission systems in North America based on recommendations in PCE’s report. VanSlyck retired in 1997 but remained vice president of the company until he died.

He served on IEEE’s Power Engineering Education Committee from 1963 to 1975 and was chair of IEEE’s Educational Resources Subcommittee from 1971 to 1974. He was elevated to Fellow in 1991 for “contributions to automatic generation control and power system state estimation.”

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