Joined: 31 Aug 2006
|Posted: Thu Aug 06, 2015 9:23 am Post subject: INGALLS, Clyde Edwin 1904-1992
|Clyde Edwin Ingalls
October 11, 1904 — December 6, 1992
Clyde Edwin Ingalls was born in Canisteo, New York on October 11, 1904. As boys, Clyde and his brother, Arthur, worked in their father’s hardware store in Canisteo and became known locally as a pair of inventive youngsters. His interest in engineering and technology followed naturally from these activities and led him to enter Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI) in Rochester, New York. He received the degree of electrical engineer in June 1927 and remained at RPI until 1929 as a graduate student, instructor in electrical engineering and communications, and as assistant operator of broadcast, experimental, and amateur radio stations. During this period Clyde developed his deep interest in radio engineering, the field that was to become a major component of his life’s work.
Clyde had a distinguished career in non-academic circles before coming to Cornell. From 1929 to 1941 he was with the Stromberg-Carlson Telephone Manufacturing Company in Rochester, New York as radio engineer, head of the Research Laboratory, and head of the Instrument Development Laboratory. In those capacities Clyde made many innovative contributions to high-frequency electronic engineering, particularly in radio broadcasting and reception and in early television. During the war years, from 1941 to 1945, Clyde was with the eminent Massachusetts Institute of Technology Radiation Laboratory where he was in charge of all work on fire-control radar receivers. One of his most significant developments in that period was a fast automatic-gain-control technique that reduced feedback instabilities and minimized most forms of radar jamming. He was also the author of several articles in the Radiation Laboratory Series of books on radar. In 1946 he formed a private consulting firm, Canisteo Electronic Instrument Laboratories, with which he was affiliated for many years afterward.
In 1947, Clyde was recruited by Charles R. Burrows, director of the School of Electrical Engineering. He joined the EE Faculty as an associate professor in September of that year, and was associated with the School for 24 years until his retirement in 1971. Throughout his career as a member of the EE Faculty, Professor Ingalls taught both elementary and advanced courses, but principally theory and laboratory courses to upper-class and graduate students. He taught the first course in television at Cornell, which developed into two courses, one in transient operation of networks, and the other in network analysis and synthesis based on the use of the Laplace transform and convolution methods. He taught the first course in transistors in the School and developed several courses in acoustics. He built the first computer at Cornell and was chairman of a committee that established computing facilities on campus that eventually developed into the Cornell Computing Center.
Cornell University Faculty Memorial Statement http://ecommons.library.cornell.edu/handle/1813/17813
Clyde was active on many committees in the School and in the College, with particular emphasis on those involved with graduate study. For three years he was chairman of the Graduate Committee of the Engineering Division of the Graduate School, and in that period served as the first adviser in the School to all graduate students in the M. Eng. (Electrical) Program. He also served as special committee chairman and minor committee member for many doctoral and masters graduate students. He was a member of a committee in the School that revised the entire laboratory program beyond the second year to conform with a new Engineering College program that placed all engineering students in a common curriculum in their first two years.
The EE School building, Phillips Hall, has a tower without windows that was originally designed to house an acoustics laboratory. It is likely that Director Burrows had that project in mind when he convinced Clyde to come to Cornell. Since the funding for an elaborate anechoic chamber for the tower never materialized, Clyde had to conduct his acoustic research with electric organs and various loudspeaker configurations in an inexpensive chamber that he designed, built, and installed in the tower.
In 1961, Clyde and a colleague from the General Electric Laboratory conducted some acoustic research of an unusual nature. He presented the results of that study at a meeting of the Acoustical Society of America at the University of Texas in Austin in October 1964. The newspaper, The Austin Statesman, reported (erroneously) that Clyde had said humans could hear electromagnetic waves, specifically radar waves. The resulting flurry of reports by other newspapers created a minor sensation that did not subside until Walter Sullivan reported the correct version of the phenomenon in the New York Times of December 6, 1964. It seems Clyde and his colleague had found that certain individuals with good hearing at high frequencies could indeed detect pulsed radar waves that impinged directly on the cranium, and that the pulse-repetition rate of the radar signal could be “heard” without benefit of the ear. Clyde reported he had experienced the phenomenon himself, although he advised others not to try the experiment. He also said that a somewhat parallel phenomenon had been reported on several occasions by people who had heard a hissing sound when they observed a falling meteorite, even though the object was travelling at a speed far exceeding that of sound. Clyde received many letters and inquiries as a result of all this publicity and was particularly amused by a book about UFOs that justified their existence on the basis of his work. His paper, “The Sensation of Hearing in Electromagnetic Fields,” was published in the New York State Journal of Medicine, Vol. 67, No. 22, November 15, 1967.
Clyde was a senior member of the Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers (IEEE) and of the Institute of Radio Engineers (IRE), and a member of the Acoustical Society of America. He held all of the offices in the Ithaca Cornell University Faculty Memorial Statement http://ecommons.library.cornell.edu/handle/1813/17813
Section of IRE and served as program chairman of the Cornell Chapter of the Society of Sigma Xi. He was a licensed Professional Engineer in New York State.
Although Clyde maintained he was not a musician, he enjoyed playing the piano as a hobby and always tuned the instrument himself. In the latter stages of his illness, when he could no longer speak coherently, he still retained his ability to sing and harmonize. Some members of St. Paul’s United Methodist Church in Ithaca may recall that Clyde used his acoustical expertise to design and install the church sound system.
When Clyde retired from Cornell he moved to Potsdam, New York and taught in the Electrical Engineering Department at Clarkson University for one semester until an accident and subsequent ill health caused him to end his academic activities. He was able to continue as an amateur radio operator and to enjoy music for some time until increasing medical difficulties necessitated admission to a nursing home.
Well before his retirement Professor Ingalls had the satisfaction of knowing that many of the innovative ideas and techniques he introduced into the EE curriculum and in the laboratories of the School for the first time had become standard material in many courses. He came to the School at a time when electrical engineering education was undergoing major changes. In his quiet and modest way he preferred to work behind the scenes, but his extensive theoretical background, clear understanding of engineering principles, and broad industrial experience allowed him to make key contributions to the evolving new standards in the EE School.
On June 29, 1929, Clyde married Mary Ann Ross in Canisteo, New York. He is survived by his wife who lives in Potsdam, New York; a daughter, Barbara Trerise of Potsdam, New York; a son, Norman R. of Parish, New York; a daughter, Janet Cameron of Washington, Pennsylvania; a brother, Arthur of Huntington, West Virginia; twin sisters, Rachel Titus of Bloomfield, Connecticut and Ruth Morrison of Lakeland, Florida; and nine grandchildren.
Professor Ingalls will be long remembered as a dedicated teacher and adviser, and a respected colleague and friend.