In Memoriam: April 2008

IEEE mourns the loss of the following members

7 April 2008

Charles I. Hubert

Professor of electrical engineering

Life Member, 89; died 24 July

Charles Hubert taught electrical engineering for 35 years at the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy, in Kings Point, N.Y.

He joined the faculty in 1943 as an instructor and worked his way up to the rank of professor. He designed and developed the academy’s first electrical engineering laboratory and also administered courses for foreign naval officers and nuclear technicians aboard the NS Savannah, the first commercial nuclear-powered cargo ship. Additionally, he helped develop test questions for U.S. Coast Guard engineering license exams.

Hubert retired in 1978 and was named professor emeritus at the academy the next year. He continued to assist new faculty members, as well as test machinery for the academy’s electrical laboratory, until shortly before he died.

Hubert wrote four textbooks on electrical equipment. One of them, Preventive Maintenance of Electrical Equipment (Glencoe/McGraw-Hill, 1969), became a popular textbook.

He earned a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering from the Cooper Union, New York City, and a master’s degree in electrical engineering from Polytechnic Institute of Brooklyn, also in New York City. He also received an honorary doctorate at the Massachusetts Maritime Academy, in Buzzards Bay.


Havelock S. Lunan

Former IEEE Montreal Section Chair

Life Senior Member, 84; died 2 September

Havelock S. “Flip” Lunan was an active member of the IEEE Montreal Section for more than 50 years, serving as section chair in 1970 and 1971, and chair of the section’s conferences in 1972.

He spent four years in the Royal Canadian Air Force as a radio technician during World War II. After the war, he joined the General Electric facility in Montreal, where he worked for 34 years. There he helped build the Churchill Falls power station, the second largest hydroelectric generating plant in North America, on the Churchill River, in Labrador, Nfld.

He received an IEEE Third Millennium Medal in 2000 for “outstanding achievement and contributions.”

He earned a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering from McGill University, in Montreal.


Steven Clifford

Former director of a NOAA Lab

Senior Member, 64; died 18 September

Steven Clifford worked for the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration in Boulder, Colo., for more than three decades.

He joined the agency in 1969 as a U.S. National Science Foundation postdoctoral research associate with the Wave Propagation Laboratory of the U.S. Environmental Services Administration (a NOAA predecessor). There, he studied the physics of wave propagation and scattering in random geophysical media, and remote sensing of the atmosphere and oceans. He was director of the NOAA Environmental Technology Laboratory from 1986 until his retirement in 2001. He then became a research scientist emeritus of the University of Colorado’s Cooperative Institute for Research in the Environmental Sciences, in Boulder.

Clifford was a fellow of the Optical Society of America and the Acoustical Society of America, and a member of the U.S. National Academy of Engineering.

He received a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering in 1965 from Northeastern University, in Boston. He earned a Ph.D. in engineering science in 1969 from Dartmouth College, in Hanover, N.H.


Fred Haber

Engineering professor emeritus

Life Fellow, 86; died 20 September

Fred Haber was a professor emeritus at the Moore School of Engineering at the University of Pennsylvania, in Philadelphia.

He joined the university in 1951, and taught courses in probability, statistics, random processes, communications theory, information theory, and coding. His research interests included the properties, modeling, and measurement of radio-frequency interference and its effect on communication systems; signal design for multipath channels; and analysis of spread spectrum systems. He retired from Penn in 1987 and was named professor emeritus of electrical and systems engineering.

Haber was one of the founding members of the IEEE Electromagnetic Compatibility Society, established in 1957. He chaired the IEEE Philadelphia Section in 1974 and 1975, and was associate editor of IEEE Transactions on Electromagnetic Compatibility from 1974 to 1976.

He received a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering in 1948 from Pennsylvania State University, in University Park. He earned master’s and doctoral degrees in electrical engineering from Penn in 1953 and 1960.


David Slepian

Coding theory pioneer

Life Fellow, 84; died 29 November

David Slepian made fundamental contributions to the theories of coding and switching.

His undergraduate studies at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, were interrupted by World War II. During the war, he was a sonic deception officer in the U.S. Army’s 23rd Headquarters Special Troops, a classified unit later known as the Ghost Army. Slepian used recorders and large speakers to broadcast recordings of U.S. tank movements near enemy lines to deceive German troops. His unit of 1000 soldiers could impersonate a division of more than 18 000 men.

After the war, he joined the mathematics research center at Bell Laboratories, in Murray Hill, N.J. His initial research in communications theory was in the area of detection, and he introduced the possibility of singular detection. His 1956 seminal paper, “A Class of Binary Signaling Alphabets,” introduced the mathematical structure of group codes, which are now used in cellphones, computers, and MP3 players. He also developed distributed source coding with IEEE Life Fellow Jack K. Wolf—which became known as Slepian-Wolf coding.

Slepian was a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the U.S. national academies of engineering and sciences. He received several IEEE awards, including the 1973 Information Theory Prize Paper Award as a co-recipient with Wolf, the 1981 Alexander Graham Bell Medal, and the 1983 IEEE Centennial Medal.

Although he never earned an undergraduate degree, Slepian earned his doctorate in physics in 1949 from Harvard University. He then spent a year at Cambridge University as a Fulbright Scholar.


Simon Saretzky

Cofounder of IMC Magnetics Corp.

Life Member, 99; died 30 December

Known as the Father of Small Motors, Simon Saretzky helped to found Induction Motors in Woodside, N.Y. (now IMC Magnetics in Westbury), a manufacturer of electric fans and motors for aviation equipment.

During World War II he worked at Holtzer Cabot Electric Co., in Boston, where he designed a small blower that would run at high altitudes for the Boeing B-29 Superfortress, a four-engine heavy bomber flown by the U.S. military. In 1951 he and Jan Wohryzek founded Induction Motors, and he served as the company’s president from 1951 until he retired in 1978.

Saretzky received a Diplom-Ingenieur in 1933 from the Institute of Technology in Darmstadt, Germany.

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