Long Island’s Electrical and Electronic History – November 2017

Dr. Damadian with MRI scanner

We resume our look at Section activities during the 1980’s starting with the April 1986 issue of the Pulse. Our Section’s monthly meeting featured a talk by Dr. Raymond Damadian the President of FONAR. Its title was “Lecture and Demonstration of NMR Scanning.” Dr. Damadian founded his company based on his prior development of NMR body scanning at the Downstate Medical Center in Brooklyn in the late 1970’s. It struck a nerve with me because I recall attending this lecture and it was the first time that I became aware that it was now possible to detect anomalies in the soft tissue of a human body. The first MRI two dimensional images were demonstrated by Dr.Paul Lauterber of Stony Brook in the early 1970’s. They were done on small animals. Further improvements were made by Peter Mansfield at the University of Nottingham in the UK. Damadian’s development of a solenoid with enough magnetic field strength and whose diameter was large enough to fit a human body into it was a significant technological advance. There have been many improvements in MRI since then, but this early demonstration indicated that MRI was here to stay.

Our Section announced that three of its members became IEEE Fellows. They were Henry Bachman of Hazeltine (now BAE), Robert Boorstyn of Polytechnic Institute (now NYU), and Karle Packard of AIL (now Harris). Henry went on to become an IEEE President. Karle and Robert had distinguished careers.

The May issue featured a talk sponsored by our Computer Society on “Systolic Arrays and Applications to Image/Signal Processing” given by Dr. Henry Chung, a professor at the University of Pittsburgh The need for systolic arrays was of high interest then

The AP Society presented a talk on “Radar Signature Technology” given by Dr. Oren Kessler of Texas Instruments. He described several ways of reducing the radar cross section (RCS) of airframes. This was a hot topic because we were still in the cold war and the need to make aircraft more stealthy was strong.

The June issue featured a talk titled “Scheduling for Success” by Professor Donald Schilling of the City College of CUNY. His talk focused on the use Of PERT charts which were just becoming known to engineers. PERT assigned probabilities to the completion of all tasks in a work breakdown table and also defined such terms such as “Critical Path” which allowed engineers to prioritize their effort properly.

The MTT society sponsored a talk on “State-of-the-Art of SAW Technologies” by Carl Ericson, Jr. of Narda (now L-3 Narda-Miteq). SAW or surface acoustic waves were of high interest because they could be used to design miniature filters and delay lines. This talk described a wide variety of applications. SAW is still a viable technology.

The June issue also had a notice written by the late Robert Bruce. It alerted our members that the Senate Finance Committee was considering a tax bill that would have eliminated the tax-deferred feature of individual retirement accounts (IRA’). He urged engineers to write to their senators to oppose this. Fortunately IRA’s continue to be tax-deferred; apparently, this bill failed. Bob was always on the alert to notify engineers in our Section of political issues that impacted our profession.

Whenever I look at these old Pulse issues, I appreciate the efforts of our Section leaders from that time. They offered many avenues for keeping up with developments. A perusal of current Pulse issues shows that it is still happening. Those activities serve to keep us current.

Once again I wish to thank Jim Colotti, our former webmaster, and Rod Lowman, our former Historian, for making these issues of Pulse available.