Ronald Foster

Ronald Foster
New York, NY
Associated organizations
Bell Labs
Fields of study
Mathematics, Antennas


Ronald M. Foster (IRE Senior Member, 1953 and Fellow, 1954) was born in New York, New York on 3 October 1896. He received the S.B. degree, summa cum laude, from Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts, in 1917, and the Sc.D. degree (honorary) from Fairleigh Dickinson University, Rutherford, New Jersey, in 1960.

Foster had an appointment as Instructor in Mathematics at Harvard University from 1921 to 1922. He joined the research and development department at the American Telephone and Telegraph Company (1921 to 1934), where he developed the Foster Reactance Theorem, published in 1924. This work represented the first major break-through in the synthesis of electrical networks. In 1934, he joined the Bell Telephone Laboratories and worked there until 1943, when he became Head of the Mathematics Department at the Polytechnic Institute of Brooklyn, New York.

Foster conducted notable work on the mathematical basis of antenna arrays, ground return circuits, and network theory. In addition to his work on the Foster Reactence Theorem, he is co-author, with G.A. Campbell, of the Campbell-Foster Tables, and the author of "Fourier Integrals for Practical Application." He resigned his position as Department Head at the Polytechnic Institute of Brooklyn, in June 1961, and then took a one-year leave of absence from teaching.

Foster was a Fellow of the IRE and the AAAS and a member of Phi Beta Kappa, Sigma Xi, the London Mathematical Society, the Edinburgh Mathematical Society.