James K. Roberge, professor of electrical engineering, dies at 75 (MIT News)

Open Matters recently featured the publication of classic video lectures from Professor Roberge on MIT OpenCourseWare, and we are saddened by his passing.

James K. Roberge, professor of electrical engineering, dies at 75
A member of the MIT faculty since 1967, Roberge spent nearly his entire professional career at MIT.
Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science

James K. Roberge (Photo: Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science.  All rights reserved.)

James K. Roberge (Photo: Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science. All rights reserved.)

James K. Roberge, a professor of electrical engineering and a member of the MIT faculty since 1967, died Friday, Jan. 10, at age 75. Roberge continued teaching in the Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science (EECS) through last semester.

Born in Jersey City, N.J., in 1938, Roberge came to MIT in 1956, earning his SB, SM, and ScD degrees, all in electrical engineering. For nearly all of his professional career, Roberge worked for MIT — from postdoc to full professor, a position he attained in 1976. Starting in 1969, Roberge also performed research as a visiting scientist at MIT’s Lincoln Laboratory.

At Lincoln Lab, Roberge’s research interests in the areas of electronic circuits and systems design led him to work in a division involved in space communications, instrumentation, and optical communications. His designs have flown on nine satellites.

Vincent Chan, the Joan and Irwin Jacobs Professor of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, headed the division at Lincoln Lab in which Roberge worked. Chan says that Roberge’s most important contributions were in ultrahigh-efficiency power converters for spacecraft and high-precision optical tracking electronics for space-laser communications.

“[Roberge] brought together his knowledge of circuit designs, control system theory, and a large dose of ingenuity to design these systems,” Chan notes. Despite the fact that some of Roberge’s work was done in the 1980s and 1990s, Chan says, “it still represents the state of the art.” Read more.

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