Hermann A. Haus


Hermann A. Haus
Hermann A. Haus
Ljubljana, Yugoslavia
Death date
Associated organizations
Fields of study
IEEE James H. Mulligan, Jr. Education Medal


Hermann Anton Haus was born on August 8, 1925 in Ljubljana, Yugoslavia (modern-day Slovenia). He studied at the University of Ljubljana, the Technical Universities of Graz and Vienna, Austria, and at Union College Schenectady, from which he obtained a B.S. degree in 1949. He received the M.S., and E.E. degrees from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in 1951, and the Sc.D. degree from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1954. With briefinterruptions, he has remained at M.I.T. ever since. He became a full professor in 1962, was given the Elihu Thomson Chair in 1973 and was made an Institute Professor in 1986. He holds honorary doctor degrees from Union College and the Technical University of Vienna.

Professor Haus' teaching has concentrated on electromagnetic field theory, microwaves and optoelectronics. In the late fifties, Professors R.M. Fano, L.J. Chu and R.B. Adler had reformulated in a major way the teaching of electromagnetism to undergraduates at M.I.T. Professor Haus has continued the tradition and, in cooperation with Professor J.R. Melcher, introduced many practical engineering examples and demonstrations into the teaching of the first of the two M.I.T. undergraduate courses on electromagnetism. As part of the clarification of the issues encountered in the formulation of Maxwell's equations for media in motion, he co-authored a monograph with Professor P. Penfield, Jr. on "Electrodynamics ofMoving Media" (1968). This monograph was a research monograph, not intended as a teaching text, but an example of research motivated by questions raised in undergraduate teaching. The notes used for the undergraduate subject have been developed into a text co-authored with Professor Melcher, "Electromagnetic Fields and Energy."

The notes for a course on optoelectronics evolved into a graduate text "Waves and Fields in Optoelectronics." The title is noncoincidentally reminiscent of a well known text by Ramo, Whinnery and van Duzer.

Professor Haus' research interests over the past three decades were, and are, in noise in microwave tubes, lasers, quantum noise and short pulse generation with lasers. He holds five patents, one of which is the patent held jointly with Dr. C.V. Shank on the quarter-wave shifted distributed feedback laser, which was one of the favored designs for transoceanic communication lasers. He has authored and co-authored two books on noise, and over 180 journal articles.

Among other awards, Professor Haus received the Outstanding Teacher Award from the New England Section of the American Society for Engineering Education in 1971. He was a member of the National Academy of Engineering, the National Academy of Sciences, a Fellow of IEEE, the Optical Society of America, and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

Hermann Haus was married to the former Eleanor Laggis and they have four children who are all grown, pursuing their own careers. His personal outside interests include commuting by bike as often as possible from Lexington to Cambridge, hiking, skiing and carpentry.