In Memoriam: December 2009

IEEE mourns the loss of the following members

7 December 2009


Former IEEE President


AGE: 94

DIED: 3 March

Robert Saunders, an EE professor and dean of engineering, was the 1977 president of IEEE.

Commissioned into the U.S. Navy in 1944, Saunders was assigned to the Manhattan Project at a research facility in Oak Ridge, Tenn. He joined the University of California at Berkeley following his discharge where he spent 18 years as a professor of electrical engineering, as well as chair of the electrical engineering department from 1959 to 1963. His research involved the development of electromechanical devices, including rotating electrical machines, system theory, and the use of digital computers for modeling electromechanical devices in systems. In 1964, he moved to the University of California at Irvine, and he served as dean of engineering until he retired in 1973.

He became involved with IEEE in 1936 as an officer at the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis of the student branch of the American Institute of Electrical Engineers, one of IEEE’s predecessor societies. He later was the counselor for the joint AIEE–Institute of Radio Engineers student branch at the University of California at Berkeley. (The IRE was also a predecessor society of IEEE.)

From 1948 to 1951 Saunders was secretary and chairman of the AIEE District 8 Student Activities Committee. He was appointed to the IEEE Board of Directors in 1973 and went on to become the 1976 vice president of Regional Activities. He was elected the 1977 IEEE president, and he served on the board until 1980.

Saunders received the 1990 IEEE Haraden Pratt Award for “distinguished service in extending IEEE leadership in the educational and professional communities and as a founder and early chairman of the American Association of Engineering Societies.”

He received a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering and a master’s in power engineering in 1944 from the University of Minnesota and a doctor of engineering degree in 1971 from the Tokyo Institute of Technology.



Pioneer in Satellite Communications

MEMBER GRADE: Life Senior Member

AGE: 79

DIED: 17 July

Adam Livne spent much of his career working on satellite communications.

He started out in 1965 with Rafael Advanced Defense Systems, a developer of weapons and military technology in Haifa, Israel. He joined as chief research engineer in the communications division, where he developed electronic warfare simulation in connection with antiaircraft missiles.

In the course of his career, he led several advanced mobile and satellite communications projects, and he invented the Bipsat, a briefcase-size communications terminal for the Inmarsat satellite.

From 1977 to 1997 Livne also worked in Haifa with the Israeli Ministry of Communications, where he was chief scientist. He oversaw telecommunications services, R&D projects, long-range planning, and regulatory issues.

He left the ministry and Rafael in 1997 to become an independent consultant on broadband intersatellite laser communication systems and mobile satellite systems.

Livne was a volunteer for the IEEE Communications Society Chapter in the Israel Section.

He earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees in electrical engineering from the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology, Haifa. He received a Ph.D., also in electrical engineering, in 1977 from what is now Polytechnic University in Brooklyn, N.Y.



Engineering Standards Advocate

MEMBER GRADE: Life Senior Member

AGE: 83

DIED: 7 September

Donald C. Fleckenstein championed the development of IEEE standards in many fields, including information technology, radiation protection, and electrical and electronic engineering.

He began his career at the General Electric Hanford Atomic Products Operation in Richland, Wash. In 1959, he transferred to GE’s facilities in Schenectady, N.Y., where he was a consultant in radiation protection. He left there in 1974 to join the GE industry standards department in Fairfield, Conn. He retired in 1989.

As chair of the IEEE Standards Board in 1987, he oversaw the publication of many standards, including the IEEE Standard Criteria for the Periodic Surveillance Testing of Nuclear Power Generating Station Safety Systems, as well as the IEEE Standard Very-High-Speed Integrated Circuit Hardware Description Language Reference Manual. He also served on the IEEE Standards Association Globalization Committee and on the board of the American National Standards Institute.

Fleckenstein received the 1992 IEEE Charles Proteus Steinmetz Award for contributions to the development of standards in electrical and electronics engineering. He also received the 1997 IEEE Standards Association’s Standards Board Distinguished Service Award.

He earned a degree in engineering in 1950 from the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis.

IEEE membership offers a wide range of benefits and opportunities for those who share a common interest in technology. If you are not already a member, consider joining IEEE and becoming part of a worldwide network of more than 400,000 students and professionals.

Learn More