RF Engineer, Author, and Entrepreneur, Simon Ramo, Dead at 103

RamoWhinneryVanDuzerSimon Ramon (1913-2016) died June 27, in Santa Monica, California. The 103-year-old left behind a legacy of RF, intellectual, and business achievement.

A pioneer in the development of microwave and radar technology, he was the “R” in TRW, a predecessor of which he co-founded in 1953. Ramo became the architect of the Thor, Atlas, and Titan missiles. He was also known for his sense of humor. In an early test when one missle rose about 6 inches before toppling over and exploding, Ramo quipped: “…now that we know the thing can fly, all we have to do is improve its range a bit.”

Along with John R. Whinnery and Theodore Van Duzer, Ramo authored the classic text, Fields and Waves in Communications Electronics. This book offers a masterful and unconventional treatment of the subject, relying heavily on time domain methods, and written from the perspective of a savvy engineer alert to the practical applications. In addition, the book includes a fascinating treatment of backward phase propagation in transmission lines, a subject of great interest in studies of “metamaterials.”


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