Charles R. Burrows

Charles R. Burrows
Detroit, MI, USA
Associated organizations
Bell Labs
Fields of study
Radio, Radar
Presidential Certificate of Merit, Distinguished Alumnus of the College of Engineering at the University of Michigan


Charles R. Burrows (IRE Associate 1924; Member, 1938; Senior Member, 1943; and Fellow, 1943) was born in Detroit, Michigan, on 21 June 1902. He received the B.S.E. in electrical engineering and the professional degree of E.E. from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, in 1924 and 1935, respectively. He received the A.M. and Ph.D. degrees in physics from Columbia University, New York, N.Y., in 1927 and 1938, respectively.

From 1924 to 1945, Burrows was a member of the technical staff of the Bell Telephone Laboratories working in the research department, specializing in radio wave propagation. He participated in the transatlantic experiments both on long and short waves, being responsible for the analysis of the latter. He supervised early ultra-short wave propagation experiments which uncovered many of the laws of ultra-short wave propagation. Just prior to World War II, he worked on the proximity fuse. Early in the war, he contributed to the development of radar, and later, as Chairman of the Committee on Propagation of NDRC, he was responsible for all the propagation research affecting the war effort.

At the end of World War II, Burrows accepted the appointment as Professor of Electrical Engineering and Director of the School of Electrical Engineering at Cornell University, Ithaca, N.Y. where he developed research in radio astronomy, radio wave propagation, the ionosphere, and vacuum tubes. In 1962, he as Vice President of Engineering and Research at Datronics Engineers, Inc., in Bethesda, Maryland.

Burrows was active in URSI, having served many years on the U.S. National Committee as Vice Chairman and Chairman; he was head of the U.S. delegation to the 10th General Assembly of URSI in Sydney, Australia, in 1952. From 1948 to 1954 he served as International President of Commission II on Tropospheric Propagation. From 1946 to 1954 Burrows was President of the Joint Commission on Radio-Meteorology of the International Council of Scientific Unions.

Burrows received the Presidential Certificate of Merit; and a certificate as Distinguished Alumnus of the College of Engineering at the University of Michigan. He was a Fellow of AIEE, and the APS, and a member of the American Geophysical Union, American Astronomical Society, American Rocket Society, Sigma Xi, Tau Beta Pi, and Eta Kappa Nu.