Eric L. Adler

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  • 2001 Achievement Award
  • 1989 IEEE Fellow
  • Life Span

    Eric, a fine, gracious, gentleman, was born in Alexandria, Egypt and died in Victoria, BC. He was an electrical engineer who loved and was grateful for the life he lived. In May 1948, the day he finished writing his London Matriculation exams, he was arrested. Being Jewish and without citizenship he had no national courts to address and languished in many levels of Farouk’s prisons until 1950 when he was acquitted by the civil courts. Still on the black list he was unable to leave to study in London until November too late to enroll in the chemical engineering degree program to which he had been accepted. He wrote a letter to his father stating that he was wavering somewhat because of his love of mathematics and physics. His father replied “become an engineer” which Eric considered the best advice he ever acquired. In 1955 he completed his degree in Electrical Engineering at Battersea College (now University of London), and began research at IT & T. Wanting to continue his education at the postgraduate level but unable to obtain financial support because of his statelessness, he sought a new homeland. Canada welcomed engineers and provided airfare. The University of Toronto’s offer of a job as a demonstrator enabled him to complete a Masters in Applied Science in 1959. During his time in Toronto he made friends with Peter Peet Silvester who remained a friend and colleague. In 1958 Dr. G.L. (John) d’Ombrain, the chairman of Electrical Engineering at Battersea College during Eric’s undergraduate years, became chairman of Electrical Engineering at McGill. He invited Eric to McGill University, his lifelong anchor. Gerald W. Farnell (PhD 1957) became Eric’s doctoral supervisor (1966 Acoustoelectric Interactions in Cadmium Sulfide) and lifelong research collaborator in pioneering research into Surface Acoustic Waves (SAW). Filters and signal processing devices for applications in communications devices such as televisions and cellular telephones are based on their publications. Eric developed a computer program which became the industry standard for SAW filter designers. His years collaborating with Pierre Belanger and Nick Rumin on Introduction to Circuits with Electronics were some of his most fulfilling and enjoyable. In 1961 Eric obtained Canadian citizenship, a Canadian passport, and a wife, Leonda (Lee). He was elected a Fellow of the IEEE in 1989 and appointed Distinguished Lecturer by its Ultrasonics Society in 1994. He also served the Faculty of Engineering as Associate Dean (Academic) from 1977 to 1985 and made key contributions to curriculum development and making the Engineering Faculty more welcoming for women students. Eric retired from McGill in 1995 and was granted Professor Emeritus in 1998. In Victoria Eric enjoyed his time with Literacy Victoria, Engineering Associates at U Vic, playing bridge with Jack Basuk, and wide access to music. He leaves his wife; sister, Evelyn Moore (Eve and Pony); two nieces, Carole and Susan (Jefferson Davis); many grandnieces, grandnephews, cousins, friend/ colleague, Maier Blostein (Rhoda), and Norma Farnell. Many thanks to the kind caring medical staff at VGH, 6 B South. At Eric’s request there will be no funeral. Source: Montreal Gazette and the (Victoria, BC) Times Colonist (November 18, 2017)

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