Former Dean of Engineering Innovated in Field, Expanded Department

Photo:



Related Articles »





  • Printer Friendly Printer Friendly
  • Comments Comments (0)

Former UC Berkeley professor and Dean of Engineering John Whinnery passed away on Feb. 1. He was 92.

Whinnery, who also served as department chair of electrical engineering and computer science, received awards for his contributions to the field of electrical engineering, including his research in microwave tubes and innovations in laser technology.

"He was one of the first in the world (and) in the university doing research on lasers and laser applications," said Connie Chang-Hasnain, a UC Berkeley professor of electrical engineering and computer science and a former student of Whinnery's.

She said Whinnery had been one of the first to find out how to propagate light over long distances, building the basis for modern telecommunications.

Whinnery served as dean of engineering from 1959 to 1963, and retired from UC Berkeley in 1987.

He co-authored the textbook "Fields and Waves in Modern Radio" in 1944, and authored another edition with colleague and UC Berkeley professor Theodore Van Duzer in 1965, which was re-named "Fields and Waves in Communications Electronics."

"I feel like he was very critical in setting the tone in our department, an unusually collegiate tone that still exists today," Van Duzer said.

Chang-Hasnain said the textbook is still relevant and well-used.

Whinnery entered UC Berkeley in 1935 as an undergraduate student and became a professor in 1952. His areas of research included microwave electronics, electromagnetic fields, quantum electronics and optics.

During his tenures as department chair and dean, Whinnery expanded the department and recruited prestigious professors, Chang-Hasnain said.

"(He) built the reputation we have today," she said. "He was able to recruit and identify top-notch people."

For his work to improve the engineering program at UC Berkeley and other UC campuses, Whinnery earned the honorary title of University Professor in 1980.

"At that time there were altogether only eight or 10 University Professors," Chang-Hasnain said.

Whinnery advised 35 doctoral students, including Chenming Hu, now an electrical engineering professor.

"One hallmark was his care to protect the creativity and to instill confidence in his students," Hu said. "He has been an inspiration and someone all his students try to live up to."

Tags: ENGINEERING


Contact Arielle Turner at [email protected]



Comments (0) »

Comment Policy
The Daily Cal encourages readers to voice their opinions respectfully in regards to both the readers and writers of The Daily Californian. Comments are not pre-moderated, but may be removed if deemed to be in violation of this policy. Comments should remain on topic, concerning the article or blog post to which they are connected. Brevity is encouraged. Posting under a pseudonym is discouraged, but permitted. Click here to read the full comment policy.
White space
Left Arrow
Obituaries
Image Eugene Lee, Institute of Government Studies direct...
Education enthusiast, author and for...Read More»
Obituaries
Image Professor emeritus of public health dies at 97
Sanford Elberg, a professor emeritus in the UC Berkeley School of Pub...Read More»
Obituaries
Image UC Berkeley alumnus, prolific agriculture reporter...
UC Berkeley alumnus and former San Francisco Chronicl...Read More»
Obituaries
Image Student dies in apartment fire while studying in P...
UC Berkeley junior Jasmine Jahanshahi, known for her fearless...Read More»
Obituaries
Image Owner of Serendipity Books dies at 72
Both a huge Giants fan and a giant in his own field, Serendipity Books fou...Read More»
Obituaries
Image UC Berkeley Senior Had 'Passion to Live'
UC Berkeley senior Danesha McCoy died March 1 after a lengthy battle with t...Read More»
Right Arrow




Job Postings

White Space