Christopher Davis

Co-developer of the lunar retroreflector

Lifetime comrade, 78; died April 1

Davis taught engineering at the University of Maryland at College Park for 48 years.

He was born in Manchester, England and moved to the US in 1973 to work as an instructor and research assistant at Cornell. He left two years later and joined the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at the University of Maryland.

His research has focused on RF communication systems, advanced surveillance systems, chemical and biological sensors, and optical systems.

He is the author or co-author of textbooks, including Lasers and electro-optics And Construction scientific apparatus.

In 2019, he and colleagues in Maryland developed the Lunar Retroreflector for NASA, an instrument placed on the Moon that reflects laser pulses sent from Earth back to their point of origin. The device allows more accurate measurements of the distance from the Earth to the Moon, improving mapping and navigation on the surface of the Moon. This year, a flight to the moon is planned aboard the Firefly spacecraft.

Davis was an active member of the IEEE coordinating subcommittee that developed standards for testing cordless phones to ensure they met international standards designed to protect the public from harmful RF exposure.

The University of Maryland has honored him with awards such as the 2015 Lean Innovation Award, the 2014 Senior Educator Distinguished Research Award, and the 2012 Poole and Kent Senior Educator Teaching Award.

Davis was a member of the Institute of Physics and SPIE, the international society for optics and photonics.

After receiving his B.Sc. in 1965 from Cambridge, he received his M.Sc. in physics in 1970 from the University of Manchester.

Erling Hesla

Supporter of industrial safety standards

Life senior member, 98; died May 18

Hesla has been involved in improving electrical safety and developing the IEEE 902-1988 standard: Guidelines for the maintenance, operation and safety of industrial and commercial power systems. It was the first IEEE standard to provide workplace safety guidance for industrial electrical systems.

Hesla began his career in the late 1940s at a Canadian engineering firm, where he worked in manufacturing and sales support. He later moved to Brazil and worked as an engineer at large hydroelectric power plants. When he returned to the United States, he became an assistant manager in a construction firm.

He was also an entrepreneur, founding two companies in Washington state: the consulting firm Hesla and Associates on Camano Island and the electrical engineering firm EngePower-USA in Edmonds.

Hesla received the IEEE Wilson Transnational Award in 1998 from IEEE Member and Geographic Activities. He was then awarded the 2017 IEEE Kaufmann Award for outstanding contributions to industrial systems development.

He received his bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering in 1947 from the University of British Columbia at Vancouver.

David Douglas Stephen

Electrical Engineer

Life member, 100; died March 1

Stephen has held management positions at British Thomson-Houston electrical equipment company in Rugby, England. He joined BTH in 1942 after receiving a Bachelor of Science in Engineering from the University of Glasgow. While with the company, he was chief engineer on several large scale projects, including the Lochaber Aluminum Smelter plant in Scotland, the last plant of its kind in the UK. Aluminum smelters extract refined metals from ores.

He helped design, install and test large bulk carriers and tankers, including the SS. Canberra and HMS Challenger.

Steven retired in 1994 as CTO of BTH.

In 1958 Stephen Synchronous motors and capacitors was published. It was the first of three books he wrote on energy and engineering.

He joined the IEEE in 1963. He was also a member of Beama and a life member of the Institute of Engineering and Technology.

In 1984, he was awarded the Freedom of the City Award, given by London for Lifetime Achievement.

Bert de Cat

Biomedical engineer

Life senior member, 93; died February 1

De Cat founded the engineering firm Bio-Tech Co. in Ontario, Canada. There he developed a liquid sample transfer apparatus for which he received a Canadian patent.

He started his career with Canadair, an aviation company based in Montreal. He helped install avionics on the CP-107 Argus, a maritime patrol aircraft designed and built for the Royal Canadian Air Force. De Cat left Canadair to work at the RCA research lab in Montreal before moving to Saskatoon to join the electrical engineering department at the University of Saskatchewan.

After several years of teaching, in 1963 he moved to Toronto and began working at the Institute for Biomedical Engineering at the University of Toronto. There he worked as a process engineer for 12 years.

He founded Bio-Tech in 1970 in Linden, Ontario and relocated the company to nearby Troy in the early 1990s. He retired in 2020.

A radio amateur since his teenage years, de Cat was a member of the ARRL, the Antique Wireless Association and the London Vintage Radio Club. He was a life member of the Amateur Radio Satellite Corporation.

He received his associate’s degree in electronic technology in 1955 from the Provincial Institute of Technology and the Arts (now Southern Alberta Institute of Technology) in Calgary, Canada.