In Memoriam: June 2009

IEEE mourns the loss of the following members

8 June 2009


Engineer, Educator, and Lifelong Volunteer


AGE: 95

DIED: 4 February

Larry Dwon (born Vladimir Dzwonczyk) spent 40 years in power systems engineering and was a long time volunteer for IEEE and the Eta Kappa Nu (HKN) honor society.

Dwon joined American Electric Power Service (now American Electric Power) in 1938, in New York City, as a power systems electrical engineer. He was promoted to manager of the company’s engineering staff and his responsibilities also included overseeing college recruitment, and training and development programs. He retired in 1978.

Dwon left AEP for a brief period during World War II to work on radar systems and other classified projects at the Harvard Radio Research Labs, in Cambridge, Mass., and then at Bell Laboratories, in New York City.

Dwon also taught management and engineering evening courses for several years at Pratt Institute and Polytechnic Institute, both in Brooklyn, N.Y.

He was a member of the IEEE Power & Energy Society and in 1964 founded the IEEE Power Engineering Education Committee.

He was a volunteer for HKN for 75 years. In the 1970s Dwon served as its vice president and later president of the society’s executive council. He remained active in both organizations until his death.

Dwon received a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering in 1935 from Cornell University, in Ithaca, N.Y., and a master’s degree in business administration in 1954 from New York University, in New York City.



Professor of Information and Communications Theory


AGE: 45

DIED: 2 February

Ralf Koetter devoted his career to academia and research, serving on the faculty of several universities. Early on, Koetter’s work shifted between industry and academia. He began his career in 1996 as a visiting scientist at IBM’s research facility in San Jose, Calif. Koetter left there in 1997 to become an assistant professor at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. He then joined the National Center for Scientific Research, as a scientist, in Sophia Antiopolis, France, before returning to Illinois full time in 1999.

Koetter left the university in 2006 to head the Institute of Communications Engineering at the Technical University of Munich. His academic research focused on coding theory, algorithms, and communication systems.

He was a member of the IEEE Communications Society and the IEEE Information Theory Society, which awarded him its 2004 Best Paper Award.

He received a diploma in electrical engineering in 1990 from the Technical University Darmstadt, in Germany, and a Ph.D. in electrical engineering in 1996 from Linköping University, in Sweden.



Professor and Researcher in Optoelectronics and Electromagnetics


AGE: 92

DIED: 13 February

John R. Whinnery was a professor and researcher at the University of California, Berkeley for four decades.

He began his career in 1937 at General Electric, in Schenectady, N.Y., where he worked on waveguide discontinuities, microwave tubes, and radar applications. In 1946 Whinnery joined UC Berkeley as a lecturer, eventually becoming a full professor six years later. He took several leaves of absence to hold positions such as heading the microwave tube research division of the Hughes Aircraft Co. in the Los Angeles area from 1951 to 1952, and a researcher in quantum electronics from 1963 to 1964, at Bell Laboratories, in N.J.

Throughout the 1950s and 1960s, Whinnery held several high-ranking administrative positions at Berkeley, including director of the electronics research laboratory, chair of the electrical engineering department, and, finally, dean of the College of Engineering. He authored and coauthored five books, including Fields and Waves in Communication Electronics [John Wiley and Sons, 1994].

He received the 1992 U.S. National Medal of Science and the 1985 IEEE Medal of Honor, along with more than a dozen other awards and recognitions. Whinnery was a member of the IEEE Microwave Theory and Techniques, Education, and Photonics societies.

He earned a bachelor's degree in 1937 and a Ph.D. in 1948, both in electrical engineering from UC Berkeley.


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