12 January 2014

James K. Roberge

Another giant of analog circuit design has left us: It is with great sadness that I report that James K. Roberge passed away on Friday.

A short obituary from the Boston Globe is here.

Professor Roberge and I taught MIT 6.331 "Advanced Circuit Techniques" together this past term (Roberge describes this course in "Propagation of the Race (of Analog Circuit Designers)", Chapter 10 of Jim Williams's first book). Here's a picture that I snapped of him during the last lecture on December 11, 2013. I'm sorry for the terrible cell-phone quality, but I didn't know it'd be the last time I'd see him. He was born to teach, he was happiest when teaching, and this is how I'll remember him (teaching circuits, and here, discussing the Pade approximate for a time delay in active filter design).

I'm at a loss for words.

Update. Two more (better) pictures of Professor Roberge: Here's a photo from earlier in the Fall term of 6.331 (late October) where he was discussing voltage-reference circuits, and the calibration thereof (photo courtesy of Zhen Li).

Here's a photo from the end of the Spring term, of his famous "Train Lecture" in 6.302, where he uses the speed control of a model train (a Lionel O-gauge engine, his favorite) as a vehicle to discuss motor instrumentation, phase-lock loops, and feedback compensation (photo courtesy of Prof. David Trumper).

I had a work-related conversation with a friend and colleague last night, and I said, "I wish I could ask Jim" only three times.

1 comment:

Alicia said...

I am glad there is a picture of his last train lecture.

I found these this week:


given that I never had him for a class (much to my regret - I think he was on sabbatical when I took 302? Leeb taught it that year, it was great, but no train lecture though!) I may have to carve out some time to watch them all.

they are from 1985!!! I had no idea there were any lectures online from that long ago.