Friedolf M. Smits

Friedolf M. Smits
Friedolf M. Smits
Stuttgart, Germany
Associated organizations
Bell Labs
Fields of study
IEEE Richard M. Emberson Award


Friedolf M. Smits was born in Stuttgart, Germany in 1924. He received the Ph.D. degree in Physics in 1950 from the University of Freiburg, Germany. Following graduation he remained at the University ofFreiburg for four years as a Research Associate responsible for several graduate students. During this time, he spent six months at the University ofLiverpool, England, where he was concerned with beam extraction from a large synchrocyclotron.

In 1954, Dr. Smits joined Bell Laboratories in Murray Hill, New Jersey where he worked on solid state diffusion in semiconductors, exploratory device development, and radiation effects on Telstar satellite components. From 1962 to 1965, while on leave from Bell Laboratories, he managed the Radiation Physics Department at Sandia Corporation, Albuquerque, New Mexico.

Upon his return to Bell Laboratories in 1965, he was responsible for ultrasonics and acousto-optical device development. In 1968, he became Director, Semiconductor Device Laboratory at Murray Hill and in 1971, moved to Bell Laboratories' Allentown, Pennsylvania facility, where he helped develop MOS/ large-scale integrated (LSI) memories, bipolar LSI devices and IC masks and packaging.

In 1972, he chaired a National Science Foundation/NASA Solar Energy subpanel that examined the potential of solar generated central electric power. The panel developed the blue print for the U.S. Government's Solar Energy Program. From 1970 to 1980 he was a member of the technical advisory boards for two German government supported research institutions.

Dr. Smits became a Fellow of the IEEE in 1972 with the citation "for contributions and leadership in semiconductor device development." From 1980 to 1987 he was a member of the Administrative Committee and Treasurer of the IEEE Electron Devices Society. Since his retirement in 1986, he devoted much of his time to IEEE activities. In 1988 and 1989, he was Director, Division I and since then has served in many capacities within the IEEE Technical Activities Board and the IEEE Publications Activities Board. As chair of the Electronic Publishing Committee of the Publications Board, he contributed heavily to the startup of electronic publishing at the IEEE, which publishes thirty percent of the world's literature on electrical engineering, computers and central topics. He also co-chaired a committee which as early as 1990 moved the IEEE to using Internet electronic mail for staff and volunteers. He was the Vice President for Publications Activities. He received the Electron Devices Society Distinguished Service Award in 1994.

Friedolf Smits and his wife, Irmgard, lived in Allentown, Pennsylvania where Mrs. Smits was very active as a piano teacher. They had three children: one son works for INTEL in Portland, Oregon; a second son works at IBM's Advanced Semiconductor Technology Center in East Fishkill, New York; and a daughter, who was with Kaiser Permanente in Rockville, Maryland.