In Memoriam: November 2010

IEEE mourns the loss of the following members

5 November 2010

Allan Greenwood
Electrical engineering professor
Life Fellow, 87; died 10 September

Allan Greenwood helped develop vacuum circuit-breaker technology. He began his career in 1955 at the power transmission division of General Electric in Philadelphia, where he worked on the development and application of vacuum interrupters. He left in 1972 to become a professor and chair of the Electric Power Engineering Center at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, in Troy, N.Y. In those roles, he oversaw interdisciplinary research between the university’s civil and mechanical engineering departments and institutions around the world, including the Central Research Institute of Electric Power Industry in Japan.

During his career at Rensselaer, Greenwood was a leader in the area of transients that arise in electric power-transmission and distribution systems as a result of operating switchgear. He developed synthetic testing techniques for major power-system components and computer studies of switching transients associated with solid-state or electromechanical devices. He also helped develop the first high-voltage DC circuit breaker based on a commutation principle. He retired from the university in 2000.

He earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Cambridge University and a Ph.D. from Leeds University, in England.

Peter Dorato
Electrical and computer engineer
Life Fellow, 77; died 18 September

Peter Dorato was a professor and researcher of sensitivity analysis and design in automatic control systems. He started his career in 1961 as an assistant professor of electrical engineering at Polytechnic Institute of Brooklyn, in New York. In 1969 he was promoted to associate professor. He left in 1972 to join the University of Colorado, in Colorado Springs, as a researcher of robust control and multivariable systems.

From 1976 to 1984, Dorato chaired the electrical and computer engineering department at the University of New Mexico, in Albuquerque. There, he focused on controlling and modeling solar energy systems, and he helped launch the computer engineering program and the university’s Center for High Technology Materials. He retired from his chair position in 2005 but remained on the faculty as a professor until his death.

He was an associate editor of IEEE Transactions on Automatic Control and IEEE Transactions on Education, and from 1987 to 1988 he chaired the IEEE Control Systems Technical Committee on Education.

Dorato earned a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering in 1955 from the City College of New York. He received a master’s degree in electrical engineering in 1956 from Columbia University and a Ph.D. in electrical engineering in 1961 from the Polytechnic Institute of Brooklyn.

Rudolf F. Drenick
Engineering professor
Life Fellow, 96; died 24 September

Rudolf F. Drenick was an engineering, physics, and mathematics professor and researcher. He started out in 1939 as an assistant professor of mathematics and physics at Villanova University, in Pennsylvania. He left in 1944, and two years later became an engineer in the aeronautics and ordinance division at General Electric in Schenectady, N.Y. There he focused on the analytical treatment of guided missile problems, particularly trajectory calculations, flight mechanics, and hypersonic flow. He left in 1949 to become manager of the analytical group at RCA in Camden, N.J., where he stayed until 1957. He next worked as a research mathematician at Bell Labs, in Murray Hill, N.J., until 1961. He left to become a professor of electrical engineering at the Polytechnic Institute of Brooklyn, in New York.

Drenick earned a Ph.D. in theoretical physics in 1939 from the University of Vienna.

The following person was not an IEEE member but did groundbreaking work in an IEEE field of interest.

John Goeken
Telecommunications entrepreneur
80; died 16 September

John Goeken founded several telecommunications companies, including Microwave Communications Inc. He cofounded MCI in 1963, in Washington, D.C.—which was instrumental in leading to the legal and regulatory challenges that brought about the breakup of the AT&T monopoly of U.S. telephony. Goeken left MCI in 1974 to develop Florists’ Transworld Delivery Mercury, a computer network used by FTD, a floral wire-service retailer and wholesaler in Downers Grove, Ill. In the mid 1970s, he founded Airfone, in Oak Brook, Ill., which developed the technology for airline passengers to make telephone calls in flight.

In 1989 he founded In-Flight Phone Corp., also in Oak Brook, which improved Airfone’s analog phone technology to prevent static and fading during calls. In 1995, he launched the Goeken Group in Naperville, Ill., a holding company that fosters new business ventures. He went on to found the LED company PolyBrite International, a Goeken Group subsidiary in Naperville.

Goeken studied microwave technology in the early 1950s while serving in the U.S. Army Signal Corps.


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