Interview with Dave Dobson
As members of the IEEE Aerospace and Electronic Systems Society (AESS), we read books and articles and attend presentations by legendary contributors to our field. However, only a few of us get to know those contributors personally. In order to give our members insight into the person behind those great contributions, the IEEE AESS is introducing AESS Historical Interviews. While these interviews will document historical events, the interviews are also intended to give readers (or viewers of the video) insights into the events and critical decisions that shaped their research and technical accomplishments. In order to better meet these objectives, the interviews will be conducted by AESS members rather than historians. Thus, you as a member of AESS may in the future conduct a historical interview or see a specific question that you would have like to ask the contributor. The first AESS Historical Interview was conducted with David Dobson who was the administrative editor for the AESS publications for over 40 years. Over those 40 years, many members of AESS have corresponded with Dave on articles for either the IEEE Transactions on Aerospace and Electronic Systems (T-AES) or the IEEE Aerospace and Electronic Systems Magazine (AES-M), read editorials by Dave, or noticed his name listed as the Administrative Editor. Dave recently retired from his roles in AESS publications and this historical interview was conducted to give AESS members insight into the person behind those communications and editorials.
Dave Dobson Interview
So it’s been a long time getting back here. It’s going to be our first article. Alfonso.
Sabrina is going to get Alfonso next. All right, all right. Hello, Dave.And good to be here
with you today. And I wanted to interview you because I guess we think of you as the
landmark of the AESS publications.
And, so I thought it would be nice for these kinds of interviews, for people to get to know
people. Because many of us don’t get an opportunity to meet you personally, and other
people have been really important people in our profession, and our society. And I think
that a lot of what you do, technically. We want to know and understand, who you are,
and where you've been, and what your life has been all about. Where did you grow up
I grew up in Fort Washington, New York, and when I was young I can remember
watching the Pan Am flying boats landing on the harbor from Portugal.
That’s a long time ago.
That has been a long time ago. Now what part of New York was that?
Long Island? Okay. And they were landing from Portugal?
Pan Am when they took off, and started to fly the Atlantic, they went to Lisbon, Lisbon to
Azores, Azores to Long Island, and they used Fort Washington Harbor because that’s
where their hangers were. And also, the harbor was long enough to land on!
Oh, okay, so that’s Pan Am as we know Pan Am Airlines? Some of us remember it.
Well, Pan American Airlines. They were the first ones out there. Now those were the big
old flying boats.
All right. Now were they commercial?
They were commercial.
They were commercial at the time, huh? Now about what year was that?
36, 37, somewhere in there. I don’t remember when they started flying, somewhere
36. And you’re how old?
Seven, eight years old.
Seven, eight years old.
Big enough to have big eyes to watch them land.
Watch them land. Now your dad was a civil engineer, right?
He was a civil, or as he used to say, “an uncivil engineer.” (laughter)
Now why do you say “uncivil” engineer?
Well, that’s the way he was. He was a guy that was “hail fellow well met.” He was not
above, when he was out with a crew of men, to kick them out of the ditch, and grab a
shovel, and start swinging it himself. Not too many engineers did that. Still don’t.
Yep. Well it’s always good, too, because those people in the trenches, because God
knows, as an electrical engineer, they can make or break you if they’re doing it.
Well, I learned like that from, because that was a 5 1/2 day week, Saturday was the day
that you got to go up in the cab of the truck with Pop, and go out and see all these
things. So I learned from here, up.(indicates growth with hand from knee on up)
So you went out on Saturdays with him?
I went most Saturdays. So if he were going out to a job, that’s what I did!
Probably, Mother was glad to get me out of the house.
But, tell us about your mother.
Well she was a teacher. She graduated from college in 19… I’m going to say seven or
eight. A long time ago, and she was a kindergarten teacher. So we, the kids, got the
benefit of it.
So your mother was a teacher, now where did your dad go to school at?
He was a Lehigh man.
Lehigh? And your mother went?
I can't think of the name of it in Boston… A woman’s college, used to be women’s
college, in Boston.
And your brother was an engineer too?
Right, well he was an engineer. My sister, I don’t remember what she took.
What kind of an engineer was your brother?
Electrical, okay. And then you were electrical, sounds sort of—
It ran in the family.
It ran in the family. Sounds like it did.
Liv’s husband was a chemical engineer.
Okay, that was your sister?
He was the outlier.
Liv was your sister? (Nod) And she was married to an engineer. So a whole group of
engineers. So you grew up in the depression, right? So you were in… early… Old
enough to remember right?
Yeah. I certainly remember the depression. I remember a lot of things. I remember a lot
of, we moved from where we were in Fort Washington and things got a bit tight. We
moved in with my grandmother in her house in Flushing. And I can remember the years
— that were a lot of people that came out of the WPA— and men that were working—
and lines— 25% unemployment. It was a bad time. We were lucky. We always had
bread on the table. Maybe it was macaroni and cheese, but we always had food on the
So your dad had a good profession.
It was a good profession.
At that time, and I guess it fit well with the WPA program.
Well it didn’t fit so well in that way. He was in water supply, in the switch control
business— one of those essentials in life.
So what did you like to do when you were a kid?
Hell, I did a lot of things. I did a lot of things. I took apart the alarm clock, and put it back
together so it worked. I remember that.
It worked. Maybe not as well as it should have, but it worked. It ticked any way, I
remember. But I did a lot of things. I had a good time. I was a happy kid, let’s put it that
Good. And, so I guess, when did you decide you wanted to be an engineer? I mean was
it because your dad was an engineer? Was it always…
It was probably there from the beginning.
From the beginning, okay.
I think so. I was fascinated with things doing things, and making things, and making
them happen. Whether it's electrical, or mechanical, or civil, or anything, it’s the
engineering side of the house; the minimal approach is what fascinated me. It’s not just
whimsical, it’s a methodical approach to a problem— to solve it, and get it solved, and
that always appealed to me.
That is, that’s a skill and a talent that you have to have some of, and develop.
You gotta develop it, and I was lucky.
I remember when I was in the eighth grade my stepfather told me about an engineer
who was, when they had a problem at this big plant, they would come and ask him, and
he would pull out the blueprint and tell them where the problem was. And I thought that
was fascinating. To be able to understand something that complex. Now, you went to
the military right after high school, right?
Yeah, I was still 17 when the draft was still going on, so upon graduation from high
school, well about eight of us enlisted right away. To avoid the draft we enlisted— we
could pick better that way.
Right, now which branch did you go in?
Turned out to be the infantry.
The infantry? And you went to Korea?
We went to Korea. We were in the Army of Occupation in Korea, and we went over, and
one of the things we did was to help ushering the Japanese out of Korea. Which, when
we went, was a two-week cruise on the Pacific to get to the far east, and we went by
way of Okinawa. I still have some pictures of what Naha looked like. Which was nothing.
It was flat. There was nothing there, and ships sunk all over the place around the
entrance to the harbor that had been blasted to get them out of the way, and there was
about enough clearance for a ship to get in and get out. And we went from there up to
Korea. And the Japanese were not disarmed until they were put on the ship. The
Koreans would have killed them if they had an opportunity to. Remember, the Koreans
were under Japanese occupation from 1912, and they were like this (motion under
THUMB). It was not pretty, but you walk around as a buck-ass private, and you have the
ROK’s, the Korean, Republic of Korea soldiers… Constabulary, would salute us like we
were four-star generals, and stuff like that. Kind of hard to get used to, coming off of
basic training— which was other way around, and all of a sudden you had to do a
(motion about face), do a “U-EE.”
So, the Japanese were leaving voluntarily?
No, they weren’t leaving voluntarily. They were being escorted.
Okay, wow. What was that like?
Interesting. Just put it that way. Just say interesting. And Korea was in an “almost
famine” at the time, which didn’t help things around in Army of Occupation.
So did they agree to leave there as a result of World War II?
(Nods) They lost World War II. And they got out. The problem with Koreans was they
had no police force at all, as long as the Japanese were there.
Because they had been…
It had to be developed. The whole country had to be developed, and started from
scratch, so to speak.
Wow. A different place today.
Sure is, but I know a friend of mine’s relatives were made lay there, and people
remember it. They remember the time.
All I can remember, the fondest memory, end quote, of Korea, we left Okinawa, and it
was a beautiful sunny day, and warm and everything else, and the next morning we
woke up, and “what the hell was that coming out of the ventilators?“ And we could smell
the fertilizer from the land. And we finally got used to that, you can get used to anything
after a while. We finally got used to that, and when we left again, Marine transport,
when we left, woke up the next morning, somewhere off of the coast of Japan, and
“what the hell is that smell?” It was clear, fresh, salt air. So you remember things like
that. The places change completely.
How long were you in Korea? For how long?
About 18 months.
18 months, and then you came back
Came back and went to Rensselaer.
I had applied to Rensselaer before. I had done it out of high— I was headed that way
out of high school. I really wanted to go to West Point. I really wanted to go to West
Point, but my eyes were beyond the limit. Way beyond the limit.
I didn’t know that they had— I knew the Air Force had limits like that.
Well, they were pretty strict at the time, so. Second choice. Why I took Rensselaer, I
don’t know. Because it was anti-Lehigh. More than anything else. Tim was then
Rensselaer, or had gone to Rensselaer at that time, so it was a sort of natural
progression. I had applied before I went in the service, and had put it on hold for the two
years until I came back, and had to take a couple of the fill-in exams, from whatever
they call the thing— continuing education stuff from the military, so I could get up to
snuff with the class, and I joined up. Enjoyed two years in Rensselaer, and then, of
course, the Korean shenanigans came along. And Uncle Sam said, “Here, come here.
We want you to go back to Korea.” And I said, in a pigs’ “you know what” was that going
to happen! So a colonel and I had a discussion about it, which amounted to a little
pounding on the table and so forth, and we finally made a deal. He would kill the orders
for me to go back in as an enlisted man, going to Korea, as long as I picked up ROTC at
RPI— the senior ROTC, and I agreed to take the two-year hitch after that. And I said
“hell, yes!” because on top of that, not only was I on the G.I. bill, but ROTC had some
pay once a month, too, and every little penny counted.
Absolutely. Wow. Okay, so then you went back to Rensselaer?
I went back? I, I stayed there. In out, in out, in out. In September of 49, 50. 50. In and
out of Rensselaer for two or three times, and got caught up, and finally got out. I got out.
I squeaked out the door, and I went back on active duty by way of the signal Corps this
time. And having been in, I worked my way up to becoming infantry company clerk,
which was a lazy job in the military, but necessary in the infantry. And so I knew the
ropes, and when I went back, I knew I was going back on active duty when I got out of
RPI, so, I said okay, let’s go to work at Signal Corps Laboratories, and we will set the
stage for the next few years. Which I did. I went to Fort Monmouth, and I enjoyed three
months of summer at Fort Monmouth before I was to report for duty. And along the way
I got to know the guys in the audio radio business in Fort Monmouth. They were looking
around one day, and a fellow named CharlieTemper, who was the section chairman,
called me in and he said, “Dave, I’ve got a lieutenant colonel coming in here, and you’re
going to talk to him.” And he said, “I know you’re going on active duty, but… you’re
being recalled… “ And so I said, okay, fine. I can't remember the guys name. I think it’s
Hughes, but I’m not sure. I can't remember his name. But we went into an anechoic
chamber— a strange place for an interview— and he interviewed me for a job at the
Psychological Warfare Board. And I said I hadn’t heard of it. And so we talked along,
and they were looking for an engineer. They were looking for an electrical engineer, with
propensities along the way of audio, as bumpy as it was in those days, and so I said,
sure, why not? And he said, “okay, fine.” And he said, “Now here’s what you do— when
you go on active duty, you write a letter asking for a permanent change of station from
wherever you’re gonna be, to Fort Bragg for report to the PSYWAR Board.” And I said
“yes, sir.” And of course here I am a civilian, and I did that after I got on active duty. I
filed the paperwork, and it filtered its way up and down through the Pentagon, and
everything else, and came back and said that I had a permanent change of station.
Upon graduation from… whatever it was… that officers indoctrination course at Fort
Monmouth, I was to report to Fort Bragg. Which I did. And that’s where I spent the rest
of that hitch. The interesting thing was, it was the best of my life— actually the best
years of my life, because I learned so damn much more about PSYWAR, and the way
things happen, and about people period. And PSYWAR Board had a couple of
engineers, and a psychologist, guy who was a fireworks guy, a printer… a couple of
specialists in that field, and in radios, and so forth. One of the other things we had was
what they called an MRT5 transport transmitter, which was an audio transmitter, a 5 kW
audio transmitter and trailer. And, of course, me, you know me— what do I have to do?
I wind up getting the G.I. license to drive this— this monster around the fort, to drive it
around Fort Bragg; which is the Home of the Airborne… with some straight legged
lieutenant that didn’t, didn’t quite look that way that they liked. They were not happy, but
they had to be. And I had learned from the Australians, I wore my cap on the left-hand
side, instead of the right hand side, the way the Aussies do, and that was not anything
that the airborne literally liked, but that was one of those things. And I worked for a guy
named Col. Singles, whose fame was that he was the colonel in charge of the Japanese
brigade that was in Normandy at the World War II. The Japanese brigade out of Pearl
Harbor. The Japanese-American, nisei brigade. And that was his claim to fame. And the
post commander, not Fort Bragg, for PSYWAR, was a fellow named Karlton I. Karlstadt,
both with K’s. And Karlton I. Karlstadt was about as Persian as they come. And his claim
to fame was that he was one of Patton’s Brig. generals. So you can imagine what he
was like. (Eye roll) And we had some fun. We had some fun.
All right, so why did they want an electrical engineer?
Because we were developing audio and radio broadcasting equipment for psychological
Portable. Beach master portable audio systems for the Navy. Portable audio systems
that you took around in the trenches and so forth— nap at the other guy. Regular,
commercial transmitter stuff for broadcast— for psychological warfare broadcast, and
stuff like that, and we were the… they mix the stuff.
And did you get any appreciation for how psychological warfare works?
Oh yeah. Oh yeah. That’s why I say the best time of my life. Absolutely the best time of
my life. In the meantime of course, I had been born with poor eyes, and was not
supposed to be in the military at all, and I was not supposed to be commissioned at all,
but I always closed one eye and read the chart first, to make sure that I memorized it;
there was conniving going on… well, during those times. But the other half of the
PSYWAR, the Psychological Warfare Board, the part of the school that was there which
taught printing and leaflet development and stuff like that, was the Special Forces. They
had been started there in the PSYWAR, they were a part of the OSS, and Aaron Fox
was the commander of that. And there were some guys like, I can remember one name
“Happy Jack Shadow” who only dropped in, he dropped into France about four times.
And he was a great big Irishman, bigger than you are Bill. Tall, broad in the shoulder, it
was a weird experience.
So that was when special forces starting out?
That was when special forces was starting out. And they went from there to to Bad Tolz,
Germany, that special forces group. Aaron Bank. Aaron Bank, and he was shorter than
you are, and a real raspy voice. A tough son of a bitch, that’s all I can say.
So you finished up there. Now how long were you at Fort Bragg, two years?
Two years at Bragg and then you went back to Monmouth?
No, I didn’t go back to Monmouth.
No, I detoured to commercial way, to business, detoured to RCA, where I stayed for 18
years.I was in Camden at first, at the audio part of it, and I went from not part of it to
another piece of it, and then I eventually moved over to the second, second sourcing
that RCA was doing for Hughes aircraft. For aircraft radar. Airborne radar. X-band radar.
And went through that, and we were second sourcing it, it was interesting. It was a very
interesting thing because you had problems and the name of the game was getting it
out the door working, and it eventually went to the F104. The 104 was the last tube
operated X-band radar built. The 104, I went to Washington, and I walk into the
aerospace museum and I look up at the ceiling and there's a 104 hanging there, and
you think, holy shit, it’s in a museum, and I was working on it on the other end. It’s quite
Now was that in Camden, or was that?
That was in Camden. And we started in to go for the, the Canadians were starting
CF105, which was going to be one hell of an interceptor, and they canceled that, before
it really got started and I had been asked if I would take the cab ride from Camden and
go to Toronto and lead the US chunk because most of the production was going to be in
Montréal and Toronto. Canadian production, but they wanted that US touch to know
what, and the blame, for what was going wrong, obviously, but they canceled that.
And what was that name again?
Which was going to what?
And interceptor. A supersonic interceptor. One of the first ones that was ever on the
drawing boards and never saw the light of day. The last, the models were scrapped
completely. They didn't save one for Museum, which was a shame. All that remains is
pictures. And then we moved to Burlington, after that failed move to Toronto. The
question was well do you want to go to Burlington Mass., they are working on satellite
interceptors? And so, yes, so I transferred to the Burlington plant. I got involved in little
things like satellite and the first one I remember we were working on was called SAINT
satellite interceptor. It ran into a box of ecclesiastical opposition being called SAINT
when it was a satellite interceptor. That didn’t match up in people’s minds. Unless you
are talking here in about 1960 or something like that, so eventually we wound up with
the radar for the LEM excursion module, and the DECA and the AECA, which were the
descent engine control and the ascent engine control. and there was a fourth piece that
I can’t remember what it was. There was a lot of transistors, but these were early
transistors— they were jokes, you know. They were a little bit smaller than vacuum
tubes, and after they, let’s see that lasted until… man landed on the moon, let’s see 69
or 70. Little change around there, and then I left RCA move to Washington to work for a
printer who I had gotten involved with in the IEEE, IRE, and AIE along the way, and got
into the printing business when I found out that the printing business needed more
engineering than the engineering business. So that’s where I rode it out the rest of my
Let me ask you, I didn’t realize but on the Apollo, they had a radar, you said they had a
radar on the lunar module?
Yeah, the landing, the radar, if you look at the LEM model there’s a radar sitting on the
front brow of the LEM module appear and that’s in effect, on the ground radar if you’re
up on the moon to get off on these things that are 16 m across, on the ground here,
there was only 30 m… 30 cm across. And that was a completely transistorized radar.
That was the radar that would track the reentry, not the reentry, it would track the part
that was circling the moon I forget the name, so that you would know when to lift off so
you could make connections, to come back to earth.
(Bill) I didn’t know that piece was on there.
I didn't know that piece was on there.
Yet it sits right on the brow of the LEM. Right on the front. The act, they were engine
controls and they were just boxes— they didn’t have any sex to their looks at all. The
radar was the important part of that.
Wow. What band was it?
X-band? Wow I didn’t realize it that’s something new.
And I might add, there’s a LEM sitting in the museum too, you know. It's been there for a
few years. It makes you look, you walk into a museum and you see something stuff like
that, and it sort of makes you wise up real quick, like Jesus, how old am I?, in that
So you got involved in IEEE Ian about 1965?
Oh I’d say somewhere in the 60s. I got involved in IEEE.
And with IRE?
Well, I was into the AIEE because that was more active in the Philadelphia and Camden
area than the IRE at least as far as I knew. And I got involved in that and one thing led
to another. And one thing led to another, and one thing led to another. And it led to the
beginning of, while I call them the societies, the beginning of what used to be the groups
IRE and AIEE, they have groups. Each group is specialized in a particular area— the
way they do today, and that’s where it started, there. And eventually when the merger
came in 63, they had to be integrated and so forth, and out of the— it was a
professional technical group in aerospace, and what the hell was the name of it? AIEE,
and it was hyphenated Aero-space at the time, believe it or not, and that grew, and then
out of the merger came four groups: military electronics, space electronics, telemetry,
power, and… I forget the name of the the other one. I can’t …they don’t come to mind
right off, but anyway the four groups were merged after the IRE was formed in 1965, to
form AES. And that's where AES formed, was July 1,1965. Les Van Atta, who was
the..one of the —— and Les was the first chairman of it. And I was stupid enough or got
volunteered or whatever, to stay with the publications and I've been there ever since.
You’ve been there. Now when I pick up and I go look at references, I'll find sometimes,
IRE transactions when I look at something pretty old.
That’s pre-63, and then what happened between 63 and 65?
Well, the merger that formed the IEEE happened in 63.
And then there was the merger of four more groups in 65. Out of the ones, one came
from AIE and three came from IRE… so it was the finishing of the marriage.
All right. So, IRE, would have transactions on military electronics?
Military electronics. That’s what it was, military electronics.
All right so then they merged, and when then? The IEEE and AES got started in, I guess
you said July of 65?
65, and then they started the Transactions?
The transactions, there were Transactions for four societies before that. Those were
merged into one.
And the very first issue of AES Transactions, believe it or not, and I had to look back,
myself, and I was surprised, because I didn’t look until last year after the other… will is
in French. Because the agreement was made at the time the merger was made, to print
in French, German, or English, with abstracts in English only. And the very first one
printed on the Transactions in AES, is in French.
Wow. So you had a collection of articles, and they would be in one of those three
That’s the way they did, and then finally the engineers decided “to hell with it, I’m not
gonna…” the Germans and the French decided “we're going to put it in English.”
So how long did that go on for?
That went. that died out. That died a natural death.
So now that, was that January of 60?
That issue. That first issue came out
First issue July ’65. There were three issues that year.
That year. Okay. July. Wow.
Transactions on AES. Aerospace and Electronic Systems.
Started in July ’65.
Now this society was also formed an organized…
Well it was merged. The four societies were merged to make it one.
Okay. All right. Well
The four managing groups, or whatever you wanted to call them at the time, got merged
together, things spelled out over time and it worked out very well.
So now were you administrative editor of the first one?
I was administrative editor, and the editor in chief was a fellow named Harry Mimno. The
famous Harry Mimno, who was at Harvard University, and you could tell stories about
that guy forever, too. He was another one. He was, it’s interesting enough, here I am,
I’m sort of following in Harry’s footsteps. I found out that Harry was a graduate of RPI,. I
found out he lived at Pleasantville, New York. I found out one day that he didn’t like
particular list, so he went another way. He was the first one that put on a long-distance
radio broadcast between Troy, New York, and Indra Cardinal, New Zealand. In AM
Band. And you can’t get there from here today because of the crap in the atmosphere.
But he had the… he was involved in stuff like that. He was a real character. He was a
gentleman, and a scholar, and very self-effacing but very much a builder of people and
school. That was his way. That was his way.,
Now was he a professor or?
He was a professor of physics at Harvard. And Dave Barton, you’ve heard the name
Dave Barton, Dave Barton had him, and Harry Mimno used to say, “well Dave Barton
wants to know little tweaks about little pieces of electrons, and so forth, and stuff like
that.” That’s the way he described somebody. He loved people, and he loved to teach,
and he loved people that wanted to learn.
So then you continued with him is the editor-in-chief?
He was the editor-in-chief for years. Then it changed to Bill Brown, who was sort of, I
guess he was my age. About my age. He was the head, he wound up to be the head of
aero at the University of Michigan. He ran that operation. He was a radar person. And
then Bill Brown. I can't remember who it was beyond Bill.
Ah, there was Kerry.
Kerry was in there, and Jack Harris.
Jack Harris, and then Kerry
Jack Harris, then Kerry, and that was shuffle around and shuffle around to get an award
done… and then it turned out to be you
And then I came on after Kerry.
You came on. And you went. Thank God. And then Peter
And Peter Willett. And now Lance
And now Lance. Each one was about five years. But it used to be a lot longer than that.
We decided six years was enough punishment.
It's enough. Well things have grown too- the field has grown. And I think the editors
always were counting on the board of directors, for God’s sake, don't just stick with one
or two subjects, try to broaden it out, because your field of vision is very wide. Its
oceans and air, atmosphere and space, land, and I heard this last time of the session
that we had, Theresa was talking that way about broadening it out. And that’s true. Not
only with students, but with the field— in the areas that need to be covered.
Now that— back in you— were asked to start a newsletter then, too. What, about 1980?
Well, no know the newsletter was a different story. The newsletter was a 5 x 8 leaflet
that was put out by Military Electronics. And that's the only newsletter that there was,
when the four way merger happened. So that stayed alone as a four-way merger, and a
fellow named Ben Goldfarb was the editor of that. And it was bits and pieces of news
items that went on, and I don't have the date right at hand, but Kerry, Kerry was the
chairman, was the president, was the chairman/president, whatever you wanted to call
it, at that time, I’ve forgotten. And he wanted to see if it could be expanded and grow a
little bit. People were talking magazines. And Harry Mimno and I were saying, well fine,
that’s a good idea if you wanna do it, but creep - crawl before you walk, walk before you
run, run before you sprint— with a magazine, because we've seen too many magazines
start and go like this (motions up to sky with hand) and go back down again. And so with
Kerry, Kerry was the one that guided us and raised hell with the right chapters to have
us take the newsletter and change it from a 5 1/2 x 8 1/2 leaflet into something
approximating a magazine, except 32 pages. And we played around with it. We played
a lot of games with it. One of the things we did was, to save money, on a conference
program, we switched the conference program into the newsletter through mailing, and
saved all of the postage and handling. Associated costs. That sort of stuff. We did that
for a while until that didn't work out too well, and then eventually— and I can't remember
when it was, we decided, and Jack Harris was the president of the board of governors
that year, to make it a magazine. We’ve read enough magazine articles of a magazine
nature, that we could prove that we could run a magazine, and it was about 10 years
that it ran that way. And so Jack Harris went to bat in New York for us, and we came out
with the magazine as it is named today.
Now, now do you remember what year that was? That was like…?
I'd have to say 29 years ago
29 years ago. So if it was 30 years ago, that would have been 84…?
84, somewhere in there.
84, 85. Around the time frame like that
I would say that probably 10 years before that was the original shift, and I happen to
have, and I've talked to you about this, Bill, probably, I won't say the only, cased set,
casebound set of everything AES up through the last Transactions that was published. I
haven't done anything since I passed it over to Allen Press. I haven't casebound it but I
have that whole set, and I want to give that to somebody where it doesn't go to hell in a
handbasket. This is what happens too many times, because how can you go back and
find , what happens without having a reference to it?
And I know that our friends and I know that our friends in Piscataway called up one day,
and they wanted this, that, and the other thing, and they wanted the Transactions. And I
said, sure, you could have it, but it's going to cost you, because it's bound, you have to
take it apart, and microfilm it, or whatever, scan it, and then rebind it. And they said,
well, “oh no, we throw it away.” And I thought, oh, God. And this is a problem. There has
been a lot of awfully good material that has been pitched out because, “Ah, everybody
knows that.” Throw it aside- throw it aside. Librarians have a place in the world. I've
been involved commemoratively with the communications field, in printed
communications field, in addition to the IEEE communications field. And I know how
they edit, how the librarians work.
Right. I get concerned because I was looking recently for an article from in an old
proceedings from the radar conference, and I couldn't find a copy, so… and it's not on
IEEE Xplore, so…
No, no, no, that's yesterday. You don’t want it for five years from now, and then you'll
want it back again. And it is something and I would appreciate a real serious offer from
somebody, somewhere, some thoughts as to what to do with the stuff that I have.
You've got all the magazines?
All the magazines, all the newsletters.
You've got all the newsletters? Wow.
Yeah, a complete set.
(Other speaker) I'm wondering if you should talk to somebody in Piscataway, someone
in historical… there's a historical society.
They don't give a shit anymore, I've tried those.
He's tried that. So anyway, well nowadays the magazine seems to be almost surviving
on its own.
It’s, it's doing very well
Now we’ve got students’ involvement, and…
I, I, I, enjoying picking up an issue and looking at it and as I'm starting to read it, I look at
it after I look at it I told her what I see such as the type size has changed, or this is
better, or that's better, or that’s better, or the last one, I won't tell you which issue it was,
I said, “ Gee, the back cover looks real good” I said, “including the month that's printed
there.” She said, “Oh, my God.” They hadn't caught it.
Well good, Dave.
So, the point is, the fine points, my approach is, and this is the part of my training along
the way, appearance has a lot to do with how you grasp things, and you can say it
doesn't matter a bit, but it does matter. You just don't think it does. I just tell you this, if
you put your hand down at your side, and somebody hands you a book, a book, and
your feel of it. You can tell almo…, you can make a damn good gas guess, by the feel,
of what you are expecting out of that book when you pick it up and see what it is. If it's
an old leatherbound jobbie, it's going to feel that way. If it's an old clothbound ledger you
can feel the corners, and you can guess it's a ledger. And that’s… “blind.” So those are
important things that people just don't think about, or pay attention to anymore. A lot of
people don't. Rita does.
So when you moved to DC you sort of got into the print business?
So how did you use your talents and skills, I mean we know what you did with AES as
the administrative editor for over 30 years…
40 years—what else did you do when you moved back to DC?
What do you mean?
What kind of job did you have besides IEEE, AES?
I ran a printing business.
You ran the printing presses?
Business, okay. So you manage that, and
Manage that, and wound up being president of it. We decided to take it, sell it, and put it
into bankruptcy and a lot of other things like that, so
So you came back down and ran a printing business in the DC area, okay.
Once we cleaned that off, I just took up with the AES Inside Issue, and put my head into
Just retired, other than AESS?
I haven't retired from AESS.
Well, I mean retired except for AESS.
I like to keep my hand in because it keeps the brain going. It really keeps the brain
going. And I think I'm of some value to some people.
Absolutely. I've always had, I've always wanted to ask you about things and get your
opinion on them and thoughts before we, we did anything, because I knew you knew
where the, some potholes would be along the way.
Where the bodies are buried. (Laughter)
Where are the bodies buried? That's good. So, I guess one thing… where did you meet
your wife at?
When I was in Rensselaer, I was in a fraternity house— a fraternity on Congress Street
in Troy, New York, which is downtown. And right across from the city park. And there's a
college called Russell Sage on the other side of that park. And one day a woman was
walking across, and I looked at her, and I said, “she's the one I'm going to marry.” It took
me a few years, but we've been married 59 years.
59 years. And now her name is?
Joanne. All lowercase letters. No a, no capital a.
Okay, so you married her and so she went through all this with you.
She’s been with me. We've had our problems. We've had (sigh) at the age of 30, she
wound up in University of Pennsylvania Hospital in exploratory surgery to see why we
couldn't have kids, and “bingo,” she had cancer.
Sorry? What year?
She was 30.
She was 30, okay. Wow.
She was 30, so 55 years ago. So we went through that thing, and then she had other
problems when we moved up to Boston. She had eating problems and, she'd kill me if
she heard this, you can't give it to her, she really had attacks and so forth, and we got a
reference into Mass. General Hospital, and we went in there, and this one particular guy
named Perry Culver, he listened to her and what she had to say, and he said, you either
have this, this, or this, and let's find out what it is… And, so, he eliminated them one at a
time, and it turned out she had a pancreatic duct condition, which was either genetic, or
developed early, but her pancreatic duct, instead of being 3 mm in diameter, was a half
millimeter in diameter, and every time it got scar tissue, it came down smaller, and
smaller, and smaller. And so she became the second person in the world to ever have
the operation, and the first one to survive.
And the odds were 50-50.
So, pretty amazing, so here she is, she was 32, so that was 50, 53 years ago, and she’s
still feisty as hell.
Well good, and you're going to enjoy a trip to Florida here next week?
Well we’re thinking what the hell are we going to do, you know? Let's just have a little
vacation. A little routine vacation. And we may change, we may decide— hell, if we live
another 20 years, we may have to wind up living on the coast of Maine, or something
like that. I don't know.