Robert Elbourn

Robert Elbourn
Indianapolis, IN, USA
Associated organizations
U.S. Naval Ordinance Laboratory, National Bureau of Standards
Fields of study
Magnetic Recording


Robert D. Elbourn (IRE Student, 1940; Associate, 1941; and Member, 1948) was born in Indianapolis, Indiana, on 5 October 1919. He received the B.S.E.E. degree, in 1940, and the M.S.E.E. , in 1949, from Purdue University, Lafayette, Indiana.

In 1940 and 1941, Elbourn worked on magnetic recording and electronic instrumentation for C.G. Conn, Ltd., in Elkhart, Indiana. From 1941 to 1947 his work in the U.S. Naval Ordinance Laboratory, Washington, D.C., was chiefly concerned with the development of mines and torpedoes, with about one year devoted to the design of an electronic digital computer. In 1947, he became a member of the professional staff of the Electronic Computers Section of the National Bureau of Standards, Boulder, Colorado, which became the Data Processing Systems Division, in 1954. Here he continued work on digital magnetic recording, participated in the design of SEAC (Standards Eastern Automatic Computer), and was engaged in research and development for improving circuits and components for high-speed electronic digital computers. Elbourn became Chief of the Components and Techniques Section, in October, 1954, and has been supervising research on information retrieval techniques and the design and development of advanced computer components and circuitry.

Elborn was a member of both the IRE and the AIEE, the American Physical Society, the Association for Computing Machinery, the Association for Symbolic Logic, the Philosophical Society of Washington, and the Washington Academy of Sciences. He was also a member of Tau Beta Pi and Eta Kappa Nu.