Ronald McFarlan

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Ronald McFarlan: Biography

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Born: 8 March 1905


Ronald L. MacFarlan was born in Cincinnati on 8 March 1905. As he came from a family with many scientists, is was not surprising that he followed in their footsteps. After becoming interested in sciences while in high school, he did his undergraduate work at the University if Cincinnati and, in 1930, earned a doctorate in Physics from the University of Chicago. He later spent five years at Harvard as an instructor and researcher, studying the effects of x-rays on ice crystals.

Wanting to see more tangible results of his work, MacFarlan left academia. Dr. MacFarlan then turned to work on electronic instrument design and development. As he was working in the 1940s and 50s, many of his projects had military applications. He was involved in studies involving x-rays, radar, sonar and microwave communication. During his industrial career, Dr. MacFarlan worked at United Drug Company, B.B. Chemical Company, and Bulova Watch Company. He also was employed by Raytheon Manufacturing. He wrote a number of articles and held several patents.

McFarlan was IRE president in 1960. He was part of the group that helped orchestrate the union of the IRE and AIEE.  He was also a member of the American Physical Society, the American Chemical Society and the American Society of Naval Engineers.

MacFarlan was married to Ethel White and the couple had two children.

For more information see the Ronald McFarlan Oral History.