In Memoriam: May 2008

IEEE mourns the loss of the following members

7 May 2008

Michael J. Barnsley


Member, 48; died 6 December

Michael J. Barnsley was pro-vice-chancellor of Swansea University, England.

He joined the school in 1995 as research professor of geography and remote sensing. He became head of the university’s geography department in 2002 and also served as director of its Climate and Land-Surface Systems Interaction Center. He was appointed head of the university’s School of the Environment and Society in 2005. He died of skin cancer shortly after being promoted to pro-vice-chancellor last year.

He began his career in 1984 as a lecturer on remote sensing and geographic information systems at London’s Birkbeck College and at the University of London. In 1989 he became director of the University of London’s Remote Sensing Unit.

Barnsley studied remote sensing and the bidirectional reflectance distribution function, which describes how the apparent reflectance of a surface varies according to the angles at which it is illuminated by the sun and viewed by a sensor. He developed an instrument for measuring hyperspectral multiangular information from space for the British National Space Center and the European Space Agency’s compact high-resolution imaging spectrometer, which is used on board the Proba satellite, launched by the European Space Agency in 2001.

He was also on the editorial boards of two journals, Canadian Journal of Remote Sensing and IEEE Transactions on Geoscience and Remote Sensing.

He earned a bachelor’s degree in human and physical geography and a Ph.D. from the University of Reading, in Berkshire, England, in 1982 and 1986.


Joseph L. N. Violette

Electromagnetic compatibility engineer

Life Member, 75; died 2 January

Joseph L. “Norm” Violette was an engineering consultant for the U.S. Air Force.

He joined the Air Force in the late 1950s and achieved the rank of lieutenant colonel before retiring in 1977. Afterward, he continued to consult for the service.

In 1986 he designed the lightning protection system for the Statue of Liberty, which was added during its restoration.

Violette was a member of the IEEE Electromagnetic Compatibility Society for 50 years and was a speaker in its Distinguished Lecturer program. The society awarded him with its 2004 Richard R. Stoddart Award for Outstanding Peformance.

He received a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy, N.Y. He went on to receive a Ph.D. in electrical engineering in 1971 from North Carolina State University, in Raleigh. He also earned a master’s in business administration in 1972 from Auburn University, Alabama.


J. Francis Reintjes

Professor emeritus

Life Fellow, 96; died 21 February

J. Francis “Frank” Reintjes was professor emeritus at MIT, where he taught electrical engineering and computer science.

He began his career with General Motors in Lockport, N.Y., before joining Manhattan College in New York City to teach electrical engineering. He left there in 1943 to be a researcher at MIT’s radar school, where he was also a professor of electrical engineering and computer science. He became director of the school’s Servo Lab, now known as the Laboratory for Information and Decision Systems, in 1953. There he researched radar and electronics, information storage and retrieval, and computer communications. In the 1950s, he and IEEE Member Douglas T. Ross developed an automatic programming system for numerical control in two dimensions, which was applied to automatically programmed tools. He retired in 1978 but visited the laboratory and the EECS department weekly until shortly before his death.

Reintjes earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees in electrical engineering from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, in 1933 and 1934.

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