In Memoriam: September 2011

IEEE mourns the loss of the following members

8 September 2011
obit_boyle Photo: McGill University

Willard S. Boyle
Nobel Laureate
Member Grade: Life Fellow
Age: 86; Died: 7 May

Willard S. Boyle helped invent the charge-coupled device (CCD), the electronic light sensor that paved the way for digital photography.

Boyle taught physics for two years at the Royal Military College of Canada, in Kingston, Ont. In 1953, he was hired as a researcher at Bell Laboratories, in Murray Hill, N.J., where he helped develop the ruby laser, a solid-state laser that relies on a synthetic ruby crystal. Such lasers are now found in rangefinders and diamond-cutting tools. He also developed the semiconductor injection laser, used in telecommunications, bar code readers, and CD and DVD technologies.

In 1962, he was assigned to Bellcomm, a Bell subsidiary that provided technical support to NASA. He helped select landing sites on the moon as part of the Apollo space program before returning to Bell Labs in 1964. In 1969, he and IEEE Fellow George Smith, a colleague at Bell, invented the CCD, which revolutionized photography by allowing light to be captured electronically in the form of pixels rather than on film. They shared half of the 2009 Nobel Prize in Physics for the invention.

Boyle and Smith also shared the 1974 IEEE Morris N. Liebmann Memorial Award for “the invention of the charge-coupled device and leadership in the field of MOS device physics.”

Boyle earned bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral degrees from McGill University, in Montreal, in 1947, 1948, and 1950.


Carlos Becerra
Former chair of IEEE Peru Section
Member Grade: Life Senior Member
Age: 65; Died: 20 May

Carlos Becerra, an active volunteer in the IEEE Peru Section, was technical manager of T. J. Castro, a Lima manufacturer of lighting fixtures, switchboards, and electrical distribution panels. After retiring, he became a consultant. Becerra was vice chair of the IEEE Peru Section in 1987 and 1988 and chair in 1989. He was a founding member of the IEEE-sponsored Elektron Award committee. Presented every two years, the award is sponsored by IEEE and the Asociación Electrotécnica Peruana, a professional electrical engineering society. He was chairman of the committee in 2005 and 2007.

He received a degree in electrical and mechanical engineering in 1966 from Universidad Nacional de Ingeniería, in Lima.

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