What Alumni are saying about
Date: Thu, 06 Nov 2003 14:53:39 -0500
Subject: LASR Remembered Website
From: Jack Brubaker
My dad is Bill Brubaker who worked in "the shop" as he always said it. He worked out the practical problems of how to make the conceptual designs buildable. He started on the al. hemisheres for the implosions and worked on many of the high altitude and moon landing devices. He is now in Bloomington IN (where I live) in an altzheimer care unit. He remains a chearfull fellow but doesn't remember much of those days. I showed him a print out of the "mug shots". Several minutes after I had pointed out his picture ond some of his friends he often spoke of he looked up, bright eyed, and said "hey, look I'm in here". During his later years he worked on projects from one particular "prof".
Can anyone tell me more about the projects he worked on?
I came across the website of the LASR alumni doing a google search, and saw the name of my brother, Peter Kruley. Unfortunately, he passed away in 1996. After LASR, he attended the U of WI, working on a PhD in psychology.
No I did not know about Pete. I read your first email regarding Pete's extremely early death (at the age of 40!) with great surprise and sadness. I notified others who were not on your distribution list but who were quite close to Pete--Cliff Lopate, Greg Guzik, and Rudy Guzik who is Sharon Guzik's father. Sharon and Pete worked together daily.
I found corroboration on the web in the form of an In Memorium mention of Peter Kruley in the National Psoriasis Foundation's 1999 Annual report.
I considered emailing Pete's brother, Michael, who it seems to me was about 10 years older than Pete. I also lost my only brother in 1996, so I can understand how this could be a devastating blow that takes years to become accustomed to. But, I have decided to write him after my own shock has diminished.
God! I wonder what happened. People aren't supposed to die of Psoriasis.
I always liked and respected Pete. He typed faster than anyone I'd ever seen, possibly a result of learning how to play the piano at an early age. He performed mental arithmetic faster than a computer, probably a spinoff of being a life expert (master?) in Bridge. His Bachelor's degree in Mathematics from The College at the University of Chicago, and his 10 years of computer programming at LASR uniquely qualified him for great accomplishments in the field of Psychology which is still awaiting its Isaac Newton. I had great hopes and wishes for him.
When we sent Pete to Europe for the integration of COSPIN to the ESA's Ulysses spacecraft, he didn't even contact his father, who he was living with in Oak Park at the time. After 5 or 6 days, his father called me at LASR and asked what I had done with his son! So, I relayed his father's concerns to Pete in Europe who in turn called his father finally.
So, because he was never very out going, I wasn't surprised that we only heard from him a few times after he quit in 1987. He contacted us just after the launch of Ulysses in Oct. 1990. And he visited us within a couple of years after that. I had assumed everything was fine.
In fact, I recently considered contacting him, just to see if he'd heard any good ones lately. I remember asking him this once, and he laughed. He seldom told jokes, to me, at least; so my question came out of the blue.
I, on the other hand, told quite a few funny stories to him. However, I have the habit of appreciating my own humor with a good laugh. Pete would NOT laugh if the person telling the joke laughed first. But, the joke could be truly inferior and if told with a straight face, he would invariably break up.
Sorry to be so long winded about Pete, but you seemed to be offering a shoulder to cry on, and I guess I couldn't resist.
This is Dan Hunsinger checking in again. I worked at LASR from 1965 until 1973 mainly with Peter Meyers group. While there I obtained BSEE and MSEE degrees from IIT while working full time. This would not have been possible without the encouragement and support of Peter. What a fine gentleman!
I went from LASR to Hewlett-Packards Instrument Research Laboratory in Palo Alto, Ca. designing integrated circuits. One year and a qualifying exam later I entered the Ph.D. in EE at Stanford while continuing with HP. I left HP in 1988 as R&D manager of the Santa Clara Instrument Division with product responsibility for Microwave and Time Interval Counters, Waveform Recorders, Laser Interferometers and Cesium Atomic Clocks. For you instrument makers out there, the Clock loses one second every 500,000 years, but has a one year warranty. If youre interested, I would suggest buying a number and phase-locking them.
Next job was with Allergan, Inc. as VP of R&D working on detecting and measuring the progression of Glaucoma. Left there in 1992 to become President and COO of EIP Microwave, Inc., a producer of microwave instruments, from which I retired in 1995.
I live in Santa Clara, Ca. where I have since 1976.
Hi! Photo # 33 is indeed my father, William H Brubaker, who worked at the Midway Labs/ Central Shop, etc for many years.
I think he left the university in 1972 or 1973. My parents moved to the Springfield, Missouri area and lived there until 1988 when they moved to Bloomington, Indiana. My dad died June 11 of this year.
Hi Gary, Jacques,
Gary , you got that right. Dale Suddeth and James Patterson, both employed at Argonne worked on the Surveyor project. Dale did some electrical engineering and Jim was involved with the production of Alpha sources used in the instrument.
Tom Economu would also know more about the Surveyor instrument and the personnel.
Dale Suddeth was indeed an electronic engineer working at LASR with Wayne Anderson on the electronics of the Alpha Backscattering Instrument on the Surveyor Lunar mission projects in 1965-1967. He designed the calibration module and was responsible for the flight calibration electronics of the ABI. He was, as correctly stated by Gary, on loan from the Argonne National Laboratory and he returned to Argonne shortly after the Surveyor 5 launch in September 1967.
Wayne Anderson continued to work here for quite some time on the follow-up alpha backscattering instruments (I think until 1973), but he also left and was working for a little while at a company making police "Mars lights". Does any one have any information of what happened to him after that?
Dear Dr. L'Heureux,
I happened to come across the LASR Remembered Web site a few months ago. I worked there for a very brief time in 1968 and didn't think anyone would remember me; but I noticed recently that my name has been added to the LASR Alumni list.
I did (as the listing says) work at LASR, as a data manager on the Pioneer 6 and 7 projects; I started as an employee sometime in the spring of 1968 and left that summer (not in 1969, as the alumni listing says). I shared a lab with Roger Pyle and Dave Smith. Without going into detail about my post-LASR career, I ultimately finished a Ph.D. in mathematics at NYU in 1995 and now work in Silicon Valley.
I have some information which you may not have about a few of the other names on the list. I met Lee Hecht in 1969, after we had both left LASR - he had left physics (after getting his M.S., I think) to go to U of C graduate business school, and I worked for Lee in a company he started, Phoenix-Hecht, Inc. A few years later he sold the company and moved to the San
Francisco Bay area, where he was CEO of several other small hi-tech companies (Teknowledge and Modernsoft,Inc., and possibly one or two others); as far as I know he still lives here.
The rest of this information is based on my memory, so I'm not guaranteeing its accuracy. Bruce Katz was a programmer who planned to leave LASR in the fall of 1968 to go to graduate school in computer science (at the University of Wisconsin, I believe). And I seem to recall a name not on your list - Tom Keck, a programmer and graduate student (in mathematics?) who was Roger Taft's office-mate.
Perhaps you could also find a place on your list for another LASR alumnus from that era: the Scientific Data Systems 930 computer in the basement where our data analysis jobs were run. As you probably know, SDS was acquired by Xerox and renamed Xerox Data Systems before being shut down sometime in the '70s. I believe the last surviving instance of that model is in storage somewhere in California.
I hope this information can be of some use to you. I had one question, if you don't mind answering: as I said, I was there for such a short time so long ago I was surprised that anyone had remembered me at all, let alone what my job function was. Might I ask where your information came from?
All the best,
Yes, I brought your name to Jacques' attention last September with the following information:
Tom Emerson Data Manager 1969 Tom preceded Dan Morrison and Jim Coates
for Pio-6/7 as the Data Manager for Pioneer 6 & 7 working with Dave Smith & Roger Pyle who were grad students. Tom wrote most of MUDDL--the Operating System for the "Dump Tape", which held all of a project's processing & analysis programs for the SDS 930.
Time seems to be dilated in my memory that far back. That is, it just seemed to me that you were in LASR for more than the few months that you actually were. This is why I had '1969' for your date of leaving, instead of '1968'.
I was hired in August 1967 as the data manager for IMP 1,2, and 3. This was quite similar to the position you held on Pioneer. Some of our required duties were relatively undemanding and at least one of them seemed to both of us to be beneath our dignity: preparing and storing plots that had been generated on the Cal/Comp plotter attached to the SDS 930. I enjoyed the jocular manner in which you expressed your objection: "Cutting plots apart is dangerous. You could accidentally lop a finger off with that razor blade!"
I also recall entering the south stairwell on LASR's second floor and being slightly amazed to see you coming down off the roof through the trap doors at the top of those stairs. I had assumed those doors were always locked, since I had never seen anybody use them before. I must have made some remark about Superman requiring a similar entrance because I distinctly recall you replying:
"Faster than a speeding computer.
More powerful than a locomotive.
Able to leap tall piles of mag tape in a single bound.
Look! Up in the sky...
It's a bird!"
It's a plane!"
It's...Super Data Manager!!!"
You actually carried it on for a couple more stanzas ("disguised as a mild mannered..."). It was quite funny and we both enjoyed your rendition.
As to Roger Taft's office mate, you are correct and I am surprised that I missed the omission of Keck's name from the LASR Alumni list. I'm quite certain that we all called him "Sam", although I admit that it is possible his formal first name began with the intial 'T' because "T. S. Keck" rings a bell. I worked with Sam on several projects in the years between 1968 and 1972. He continued at LASR until 1972 or 1973 because I remember that he attended my wedding in 1972, and, within a year afterwards, he left LASR for a job in Reno at the University of Nevada, I think.
I am Richard (Dick) Blenz. I joined Dr. John Simpson's Cosmic Ray group at the beginning of 1955. You wish an update of my activities. I left The University of Chicago at the end of February, 1966, to immediately join the Physics Department of Indiana University at Bloomington, Indiana on March 1, 1966. I was the Department's Electronic Supervisor for exactly 40 years to the minute when I retired on March 1, 2006. As a retiree I am serving the electronics division of Ivy Tech, a state owned technical school, part time now.
The reason for leaving Chicago after 11 years was that I became so interested in cave exploring that I bought Buckner Cave, near Bloomington, decided to live on the 50 acre property, built a home, and and am now directing the affairs of the Richard Blenz Nature Conservancy, Inc.
Anecdote: Near the end of 1954 I was given a Chicago Tribune want ad, placed by a Dr. John Simpson, which was looking for an electronics technician at Enrico Fermi at University of Chicago. I called the number and was surprised to find Dr. Simpson having answered the call. After giving Dr. Simpson a short resume of my background, Dr. Simpson said that I should come for an interview. In an effort to be honest I offered the information that I did not have a college degree of any kind, only a lot of experience. Dr. Simpson shocked my by saying "I am surrounded by degrees around here." "I want someone who can do something.". I had the interview and got the position which was extremely interesting because Dr. Simpson assigned a technician to a project for its duration. I flew balloons in Texas and Canada while actually being the person who went on the recovery trips by air and auto as well as preparing flight loads. It was a great job and provided a lot of fun work for 11 years.
8070 W. Eller Road
Bloomington, IN 47403
Hi Jacques and Dick,
Sure, I remember Dick Blenz. I met him down at the "Speliospot" in his barn in 1965 or 1966. Doug Love and I were caving in Queen Blair and Buckner's on one Sunday during the usual college summer hiatus. This seems like an eternity before I was actually hired by John Simpson in August of 1967, but it was only a year or two. For Dick's benefit, I worked as a programmer/analyst (later as the Manager of the Data Group when Gordon Lentz retired) at LASR for 33 years before taking an early retirement shortly after John Simpson's death.
I doubt very much that Dick would remember me since I believe I was only one of hundreds of young aspiring cavers he probably met over the years. On the other hand, I'd be surprised if he didn't remember Doug Love who acquired some limited notoriety in the spelunking world. Jacque, Doug never worked at the U of C, so if you ever heard of him, it was probably only through the gossip and innuendo that seemed to follow poor Doug around much as a brilliant ionization trail follows a meteor crashing to Earth.
Also, Bill Mixon was my office mate in LASR from 1976 through 1981. Bill would occasionally mention Dick. Come to think of it, Bill gave me a map of either Buckner's or Queen Blair, that I promised to give to Larry Weber who had been my college roommate and later became a Professor at the University of Illinois in the Electrical Engineering department. I believe Dick may remember Larry as well.
It just occurred to me that I may also have heard about Dick from "Gabe" (aka Roger Gabriel) who we all worked with until he retired in 1986.
Sometimes it seems like a small world.
I was a Grad Student of Gene Parker's from about 1972-1977 and left in 1977 with ABT (all but thesis). I had to quit and went to work for SILICON VALLEY firms (INTEL, AMD, SIGNETICS among many others) until 1995. In that year I talked to the dept and Gene Parker and convinced them that I could complete a thesis while I was in California. I did, in fact, complete the thesis (in 10 months) in Astrophysics with Gene - in fact I was his LAST PhD student and was probably the oldest to obtain the PhD from the Physics Dept - I was 48 at the time. I finished and defended my thesis and obtained the PhD (in a Theoretical work on solar magnetic fields) in 1995. During my thesis work, I flew down to see Gene probably about 2 or 3 times to talk face to face with him. The last time I visited LASR was when I visited Gene and I understand that the building has now been torn down.
I work at the Skunk-Works (Lockheed Martin Aeronautics Advanced Development) in Palmdale,Ca. as a Research Scientist in the development of Low Observables Technology (ie, Stealth).
My background in Astrophysical Plasmas has been very useful in my current research.
If you would like to add your story/comments to these, just email it to me.