Raymond W. Sears


Raymond W. Sears
Raymond W. Sears
Associated organizations
Bell Labs
Fields of study
Electron tubes, Lasers
IEEE Haraden Pratt Award


Ray Sears became a member of the Institute of Radio Engineers (IRE), one of the predecessor societies of the IEEE, in 1939 with his involvement in The Institute's first Electronics Conference held at Stevens Institute of Technology in Hoboken, New Jersey. He served on several IRE electron tube standards committees and participated in the formation of the Metropolitan New York Chapter of the Electron Devices Group and was Chairman of the Chapter.

In the IEEE Mr. Sears served on the Electron Devices Group AdCom in various capacities and was chairman of the Group from 1962 to 1964. He was a number of the initial Technical Activities Board and served as its treasurer and vice chairman from 1966 to 1968. Ray was a director and member of the IEEE Executive Committee from 1969 to 1973, serving as secretary in 1969 and treasurer from 1970 to 1972. He was chairman of the Investment Committee from 1970 through 1973. He was involved in the early plans to move a portion of the IEEE operations to New Jersey and was chairman of the Piscataway Building Committee. Ray has been close to the Life Member Fund Committee since his term as Institute treasurer and was chairman of that committee in 1969. He has been a member of the IEEE Foundation Board since its formation in 1973 and served as treasurer in 1973, 1974, and 1980, and was its president from 1991 to 1993. He was a member of the IEEE Member Conduct Committee. Mr. Sears was elected to the board of the United Engineering Trustees, Inc., in 1969 and was president of that organization. He has been a member of the Engineering Foundation Board, serving as chairman from 1975 to 1977, and was a member of the Engineering Societies Board in 1979.

Born January 9, 1906, in Cambridge, Ohio, he received the B.A. degree from Ohio Wesleyan University in 1928 and the M.Sc. degree from Ohio State University in 1929. His early experience in electronics started in 1919 as a radio amateur with a spark transmitter and a two-letter "call." He joined Bell Telephone Laboratories in 1929 and was initially involved in thermionics and surface physics research. In 1939 he was appointed department head-electron tube research and development. His development work included gas tubes and electron beam devices, cathode ray tubes and storage devices, microwave devices and lasers. He has numerous patents in these areas. When Bellcom, Inc. was formed in 1962, he moved to Washington, DC, as director-man-machine interface and communications division, responsible in those areas for system engineering for the Apollo program. In 1966 he returned to Bell Labs at Murray Hill, New Jersey, as director-university relations and technical employment. He reached the mandatory retirement age in 1971 and immediately joined the American Institute of Physics as director of the man-power division. He retired a second time from that position in 1975 and then was elected treasurer and trustee of Engineering Index, Inc., a position he holds at the present time.

Ray resides with his wife in Rossmoor, a "young" adult community near Princeton and continues a busy schedule. They both enjoy their world travels. His avocations include golf, photography, woodworking, and volunteer work in the pharmacy at the Princeton Medical Center. He was a member of Kiwanis.

Ray Sears was presented the 1980 IEEE Haraden Pratt Award 'For long-standing, resourceful, and unselfish contributions to the welfare of the Institute, particularly as Institute Secretary, Treasurer, and IEEE representative in various intersociety affairs.'

Further Reading

Ray Sears Oral History