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Biographies -- Truman Stretcher Gray Disclosure Number: IPCOM000129788D
Original Publication Date: 1993-Sep-30
Included in the Prior Art Database: 2005-Oct-07
Document File: 3 page(s) / 20K

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Software Patent Institute

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Copyright ©; 1993 by the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, Inc. All rights reserved. Used with permission.

Biographies -- Truman Stretcher Gray



Truman Stretcher Gray, MIT professor emeritus, lifelong member of the MIT faculty, and pioneering leader in the field of electronic instrumentation, measurement, and control, who was described at the time of his retirement in 1971 as "one of those who helped to make MIT's Department of Electrical Engineering the modern, effective department it is today," died on November 7, 1992, in Cambridge, Mass., after suffering a heart attack a few days earlier. He was 86.

Gray was born in Spencer, Indiana, on May 6,1906. Soon after his birth his family moved to Austin, Texas, where his father was a professor in the Department of Educational Psychology at the University of Texas and where Gray received his BS in electrical engineering in 1926 and his BA in physics in 1927. He took up a one-year appointment as a research assistant at MIT in 1927 and earned his SM in electrical engineering in 1928. After two years of graduate study at MIT, he earned the doctor of science degree in electrical engineering in 1930.

His doctoral thesis, supervised by Vannevar Bush, involved the design and construction of a Photo-Electric Integraph, called at the time a new type of calculating machine.' It integrated the product of the value of two arbitrary curves. Opaque screens cut out of cardboard represented the curves to be integrated. These were interposed between a line source of light and a photocell. Another photocell received light from the same source but along another path in which the opaque screen was a known shape, for example, a straight line. The outputs of the two photocells were connected into a null-balancing circuit. Operation was manual. With one crank the operator moved the screens of the values to be integrated, while with the other hand he moved the known shape screen to maintain the null. The number of times he turned the latter crank was the indication of the integrated value and was recorded in the form of a final curve drawn by a moving pencil. The accuracy was said to be from 2 to 5 percent. The photograph on the facing page shows Gray operating the Integraph.2

Gray was an instructor at MIT from 1930 to 1935, during which time he married Isabel Crockford. In the 1930s he had charge of the Engineering Electronics Laboratory, which demonstrated his devotion to supplementing classroom teaching with hands-on practical work. Uniquely, the laboratory provided the opportunity for students to construct tubes of their own design, including all the steps from spot welding of the elements to evacuating, degassing, basing, and testing the result.34

(Image Omitted: Truman S. Gray Born May 3,1906, in Spencer, inc. Died November 7,1992, in Cambridge, Mass. Education: BS, electrical engi...