Pierce, John Robinson

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b. 27 March 1910 Des Moines, Iowa, USA
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American scientist and communications engineer said to be the "father" of communication satellites.
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From his high-school days, Pierce showed an interest in science and in science fiction, writing under the pseudonym of J.J.Coupling. After gaining Bachelor's, Master's and PhD degrees at the California Institute of Technology (CalTech) in Pasadena in 1933, 1934 and 1936, respectively, Pierce joined the Bell Telephone Laboratories in New York City in 1936. There he worked on improvements to the travelling-wave tube, in which the passage of a beam of electrons through a helical transmission line at around 7 per cent of the speed of light was made to provide amplification at 860 MHz. He also devised a new form of electrostatically focused electron-multiplier which formed the basis of a sensitive detector of radiation. However, his main contribution to electronics at this time was the invention of the Pierce electron gun—a method of producing a high-density electron beam. In the Second World War he worked with McNally and Shepherd on the development of a low-voltage reflex klystron oscillator that was applied to military radar equipment.
In 1952 he became Director of Electronic Research at the Bell Laboratories' establishment, Murray Hill, New Jersey. Within two years he had begun work on the possibility of round-the-world relay of signals by means of communication satellites, an idea anticipated in his early science-fiction writings (and by Arthur C. Clarke in 1945), and in 1955 he published a paper in which he examined various possibilities for communications satellites, including passive and active satellites in synchronous and non-synchronous orbits. In 1960 he used the National Aeronautics and Space Administration 30 m (98 1/2 ft) diameter, aluminium-coated Echo 1 balloon satellite to reflect telephone signals back to earth. The success of this led to the launching in 1962 of the first active relay satellite (Telstar), which weighed 170 lb (77 kg) and contained solar-powered rechargeable batteries, 1,000 transistors and a travelling-wave tube capable of amplifying the signal 10,000 times. With a maximum orbital height of 3,500 miles (5,600 km), this enabled a variety of signals, including full bandwidth television, to be relayed from the USA to large receiving dishes in Europe.
From 1971 until his "retirement" in 1979, Pierce was Professor of Electrical Engineering at CalTech, after which he became Chief Technologist at the Jet Propulsion Laboratories, also in Pasadena, and Emeritus Professor of Engineering at Stanford University.
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Principal Honours and Distinctions
Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers Morris N.Liebmann Memorial Award 1947; Edison Medal 1963; Medal of Honour 1975. Franklin Institute Stuart Ballantine Award 1960. National Medal of Science 1963. Danish Academy of Science Valdemar Poulsen Medal 1963. Marconi Award 1974. National Academy of Engineering Founders Award 1977. Japan Prize 1985. Arthur C.Clarke Award 1987. Honorary DEng Newark College of Engineering 1961. Honorary DSc Northwest University 1961, Yale 1963, Brooklyn Polytechnic Institute 1963. Editor, Proceedings of the Institute of Radio Engineers 1954–5.
Bibliography
23 October 1956, US patent no. 2,768,328 (his development of the travelling-wave tube, filed on 5 November 1946).
1947, with L.M.Field, "Travelling wave tubes", Proceedings of the Institute of Radio
Engineers 35:108 (describes the pioneering improvements to the travelling-wave tube). 1947, "Theory of the beam-type travelling wave tube", Proceedings of the Institution of
Radio Engineers 35:111. 1950, Travelling Wave Tubes.
1956, Electronic Waves and Messages. 1962, Symbols, Signals and Noise.
1981, An Introduction to Information Theory: Symbols, Signals and Noise : Dover Publications.
1990, with M.A.Knoll, Signals: Revolution in Electronic Communication : W.H.Freeman.
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Biographical history of technology. - Taylor & Francis e-Librar. . 2005.

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  • Pierce, John Robinson — ▪ 2003       American engineer (b. March 27, 1910, Des Moines, Iowa d. April 2, 2002, Sunnyvale, Calif.), was recognized as the father of satellite communications. After earning a Ph.D. from the California Institute of Technology (Caltech) in… …   Universalium

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  • John R. Pierce — John Robinson Pierce John Robinson Pierce John Robinson Pierce (27 mars 1910 2 avril 2002) est un ingénieur et écrivain américain, né dans l État de l Iowa. Il fut un pionnier dans des domaines aussi vastes que la radiodiff …   Wikipédia en Français

  • John R Pierce — John Robinson Pierce John Robinson Pierce John Robinson Pierce (27 mars 1910 2 avril 2002) est un ingénieur et écrivain américain, né dans l État de l Iowa. Il fut un pionnier dans des domaines aussi vastes que la radiodiff …   Wikipédia en Français

  • John R. Pierce — John Robinson Pierce (* 27. März 1910 in Des Moines, Iowa; † 2. April 2002 in Sunnyvale, Kalifornien) war ein außerordentlich vielseitiger US amerikanischer Ingenieur. Seine Arbeitsgebiete umfassten Hochfrequenztechnik, Telekommunikation …   Deutsch Wikipedia

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  • John Pierce — is the name of:*John Pierce (musician), member of the group Pablo Cruise * John J. Pierce (b. 1941), writer *John Pierce (country singer), country music artist *John Pierce (Welsh author) * John Robinson Pierce American engineer, Professor …   Wikipedia

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