Dick White (1930-2020)

August 26, 2020

Prof. Richard M. White, age 90, passed away this week from complications after a fall.  Born in Colorado and educated at Harvard, White joined the EECS department in 1962 after a stint doing research at General Electric.  He was a prolific researcher, publisher and inventor, who authored or co‐authored more than 90 research papers and two books. His research on micro‐sensors and actuators making use of Surface Acoustic Wave (SAW) effects, earned him the UFFC Rayleigh Ultrasonics Award in 2003.  He founded the Berkeley Sensor and Actuator Center (BSAC) with Richard Muller in 1986, which led the creation of the field of Micro-Electromechanical Systems (MEMS), one of the key innovations pioneered in the EECS department.  BSAC currently hosts 12 faculty and more than 100 graduate students.  White and Muller earned the James Clerk Maxwell Award for their contributions to MEMS in 2013. Full of energy and ideas, White was also a passionate instructor whose forte was introducing students to electronics (he created and taught the introductory course EE 1 for many years).  He was also one of the founders of the Graduate Group in Science and Mathematics Education (SESAME), which was later absorbed into the School of Education. Just before his death, White was actively engaged in the creation of a new sensor to detect COVID-19. He leaves behind two sons, Rollie and Brendan.