Developer of Handheld Cable Tester for U.S. Army Dies at 79

IEEE also mourns the loss of Europe’s ‘father of the Internet’ and others

5 min read
The words In Memoriam on a stone surface
Photo: Shutterstock

Photo of Martin Rosenzweig Photo: Lisa Stern

Martin Rosenzweig

Developed a handheld cable tester for the U.S. Army

Life member, 79; died 28 September 2019

When Rosenzweig was working as an electrical engineer for the U.S. Army Communications-Electronics Command (CECOM) Center for Command, Control, and Communications Systems, he and a colleague developed a tool that could test a cable’s strength and connectivity. The Army used the tester during Operation Desert Storm.

While serving as a first lieutenant, Rosenzweig received a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering from the Clarkson College of Technology, in Potsdam, N.Y. He was honorably discharged in 1964 and went on to earn a master’s degree in EE in 1969 from New York University.

After graduating, Rosenzweig joined the Army Communications R&D Laboratory at Fort Monmouth, N.J., where he worked to improve tactical switch systems. He helped develop several control switch programs including AN/TTC-25, used by U.S. Army Europe; AN/TTC-38, the Army’s first standard stored program; and AN/TTC-39 (TRI-TAC), for secure switching systems.

In 1991 he joined CECOM. The handheld cable tester he and his colleague developed there consisted of two parts—a power unit that houses long-life batteries and resistors and a 26-LED display unit. The test sets were more rugged and reliable, and lower in cost, than the cable testers the Army had been using. Twenty of the sets were shipped to Saudi Arabia for use in Operation Desert Storm.

John Clemens Deinlein

Safety systems expert

Life member, 70; died 25 January

Deinlein was an expert in safety systems who worked as a principal engineer at power, control, and information systems developer Rockwell Automation in Milwaukee. He helped develop firmware at the company.

Deinlein enjoyed photographing his family during gatherings, according to his obituary. He also liked skiing, cycling, and skydiving.

img Photo: Mary Johnson

Walter A. Johnson

Potomac Electric Power vice president

Fellow, 83; died 31 December

Johnson spent nearly his entire career working for the Potomac Electric Power Co., now Pepco Holdings, in Washington, D.C. He retired in 2010.

He was featured in the 1996 Washington Post article “When a Storm Blows Through, He’s Pepco’s Man in Charge.”

Johnson served in the U.S. Navy Reserve from 1961 to 1969 before joining Pepco as a drafting room supervisor. He eventually was promoted to manager of the utility’s control center.

He gave seminars and speeches about the concept of central control for electric power companies.

In 1975 he became Pepco’s representative to the Electric Power Research Institute, in Palo Alto, Calif.

After a year, he returned to Pepco as manager of a control center in Maryland. He moved up the ranks at the company and eventually became vice president of special projects, a title he held when he retired.

He also held high-level positions on committees that served the electric power industry, such as the American Power Systems Interconnection Committee, now the North American Reliability Corp.; and PJM, the Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Maryland Interconnection.

Johnson received his bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering in 1960 from Duke University, in Durham, N.C.

He enjoyed cooking, doing crossword puzzles, and gardening.

Chalmers F. Sechrist Jr.

Professor of electrical engineering

Life Fellow, 90; died 29 October

Before Sechrist began his career in academia, he worked as a staff engineer in 1959 in the research department of defense contractor HRB-Singer, in State College, Penn.

In 1965 he joined the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign as assistant professor of electrical and computer engineering. He was promoted to professor in the same subjects. He also served as associate head of the university’s electrical and computer engineering department. As assistant dean of engineering, he helped create a student exchange program with universities in China, Japan, and Russia.

He conducted research in the school’s Aeronomy Laboratory. His research focused on the lower ionospheric D region, which differs from other ionosphere regions because its free electrons almost completely disappear during the night.

Sechrist took a leave of absence from the university in 1992 to serve a four-year appointment as program manager in the Division of Undergraduate Education at the U.S. National Science Foundation, in Washington, D.C.

In 1996 he left the university and joined Florida Gulf Coast University, in Fort Myers, as an adjunct professor of engineering. While there, he created and taught several courses in engineering and technology. He was appointed to the university’s advisory board in 2005 and assisted with the formation of its engineering school.

He received his bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering in 1952 from Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore. He went on to earn a master’s degree in electrical engineering and a Ph.D. in EE from Pennsylvania State University in State College.

Chalmers enjoyed amateur radio, golf, and photography.

William John McElroy

Flight instructor and electrical engineer

Member, 69; died 4 August 

McElroy, a senior project electrical engineer, retired from Pacific Gas and Electric in 2019. At the time of his retirement he was a licensed electrical engineer in 11 states.

He worked for several companies and organizations during his 40-year career, including America’s Car Museum, Bechtel, and the U.S. Navy.

McElroy earned a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering from the City College of New York and a master’s degree in business from California Coast College, in Santa Ana.

He enjoyed flying planes and was a flight instructor even though he was afraid of heights, according to his wife.

Peter Kirstein

Father of the European Internet

Fellow, 86; died 8 January 2020

Kirstein was considered the “father of the European Internet,” according to his New York Times obituary. He was the first person to connect a computer outside of the United States to the ARPANET—an Internet predecessor—in 1973. He set up Queen Elizabeth’s first official email account in 1976, according to his obituary.

He helped define and implement computer network standards in the United Kingdom alongside Internet pioneers Vint Cerf and Robert Kahn.

His family, which was Jewish, moved from Germany to Britain in 1937 to escape persecution by the Nazis.

Kirstein joined the European Council for Nuclear Research in Geneva in 1959 and worked there until 1963. He then began working for General Electric in Zurich.

In 1970 he returned to Britain and became a professor at the University of London Institute of Computer Science, which was dissolved in 1974. He joined the faculty at University College London in 1973 and served as head of its computer science department from 1980 to 1994.

In 1973 Kirstein built the university’s email gateway to the United States, making his lab one of the first international connections on the ARPANET, according to the obituary.

The research group he led adopted TCP/IP in 1982, and it was the first group to do so in Europe. Without Kirstein, TCP/IP might have never been introduced on the continent, according to the obituary.

Kirstein received a bachelor’s degree in 1954 from Cambridge. He earned a master’s degree and Ph.D. in electrical engineering from Stanford, in 1955 and 1958. He also received a doctorate in engineering from the University of London in 1970.

Edward James Lewis

Electrical engineer

Member, 90; died 20 November 2017

After graduating from Hendrick Hudson High School, in Montrose, N.Y., Lewis served in the U.S. Army as a mechanic while stationed in Guam.

He worked for several U.S. companies as an engineer before retiring from Consumer Reports.

He received a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering in 1950 from Clarkson University in Potsdam, N.Y.

In his free time, Lewis enjoyed sailing his boat on the Hudson River.

IEEE membership offers a wide range of benefits and opportunities for those who share a common interest in technology. If you are not already a member, consider joining IEEE and becoming part of a worldwide network of more than 400,000 students and professionals.

The Conversation (0)

Get unlimited IEEE Spectrum access

Become an IEEE member and get exclusive access to more stories and resources, including our vast article archive and full PDF downloads
Get access to unlimited IEEE Spectrum content
Network with other technology professionals
Establish a professional profile
Create a group to share and collaborate on projects
Discover IEEE events and activities
Join and participate in discussions

Can This DIY Rocket Program Send an Astronaut to Space?

Copenhagen Suborbitals is crowdfunding its crewed rocket

15 min read
Five people stand in front of two tall rockets. Some of the people are wearing space suits and holding helmets, others are holding welding equipment.

Copenhagen Suborbitals volunteers are building a crewed rocket on nights and weekends. The team includes [from left] Mads Stenfatt, Martin Hedegaard Petersen, Jørgen Skyt, Carsten Olsen, and Anna Olsen.

Mads Stenfatt

It was one of the prettiest sights I have ever seen: our homemade rocket floating down from the sky, slowed by a white-and-orange parachute that I had worked on during many nights at the dining room table. The 6.7-meter-tall Nexø II rocket was powered by a bipropellant engine designed and constructed by the Copenhagen Suborbitals team. The engine mixed ethanol and liquid oxygen together to produce a thrust of 5 kilonewtons, and the rocket soared to a height of 6,500 meters. Even more important, it came back down in one piece.

That successful mission in August 2018 was a huge step toward our goal of sending an amateur astronaut to the edge of space aboard one of our DIY rockets. We're now building the Spica rocket to fulfill that mission, and we hope to launch a crewed rocket about 10 years from now.

Copenhagen Suborbitals is the world's only crowdsourced crewed spaceflight program, funded to the tune of almost US $100,000 per year by hundreds of generous donors around the world. Our project is staffed by a motley crew of volunteers who have a wide variety of day jobs. We have plenty of engineers, as well as people like me, a pricing manager with a skydiving hobby. I'm also one of three candidates for the astronaut position.

Keep Reading ↓ Show less