Simon Ramo

Simon Ramo
Simon Ramo
Associated organizations
General Electric (GE), Hughes Aircraft, TRW
IEEE Founders Medal


Dr. Simon Ramo is vice chairman of the board and chairman of the executive committee for TRW, Inc. His career has encompassed several areas of endeavor, in anyone of which his accomplishments have been sufficient for eminence.

A scientist and engineer, he obtained the Ph.D. degree magna cum laude from the California Institute of Technology at age 23. As a General Electric scientist he attained world recognition as a pioneer in microwaves, the extremely high radio frequencies fundamental to radar and advanced communications, and developed GE's electron microscope. Before age 30, he had accumulated twenty-five patents, was made a fellow of the American Physical Society and several other major professional societies, and was voted as one of America's "most outstanding young electrical engineers."

Dr. Ramo became one of the nation's top experts in guided missiles, first as the director of the Falcon guided missile program for air defense and later as the chief scientist for the nation's Intercontinental Ballistic Missile Program. As the leading civilian contributor to this "largest single program in the country's history," he was awarded a special citation of honor by the Air Force.

As an entrepreneur, Dr. Ramo has been the founder and builder of several outstanding business organizations. A key organizer and developer of Hughes Aircraft Company's electronics and missile operations, he participated in building this activity from scratch to a several-hundred-million-a-year volume and national stature, becoming its vice president for operations. He was a co-founder of Ramo-Wooldridge Corporation in 1953 and first president of its subsidiary, Space Technology Laboratories (now TRW's Defense and Space Systems Group). On the 1956 merger of Ramo-Wooldridge with its financial backers, Thompson Products, he became executive vice president of the combined operation, TRW, Inc., and in 1961 vice chairman of its Board of Directors. In 1969 he assumed additional responsibilities as chairman of the executive committee. He also served as president of TRW's former affiliate, Bunker-Ramo Corporation, of which he was a cofounder.

As an educator, Dr. Ramo has written several texts, widely used in the nation's universities and by practicing engineers and scientists, which have been translated into several foreign languages. He is trustee emeritus of the California State Universities and a trustee of the California Institute of Technology, where he also is a research associate and serves as chairman of the visiting committee of the Physics, Mathematics, and Astronomy Division. He has been a Regents' Lecturer at the University of California, a member of the Advisory Council of Stanford University, the Visitor's Board in Engineering and Physics at Harvard University, and the Advisory Board for the School of Management at Carnegie-Mellon University. His writings on technology and society have appeared in numerous books and periodicals. His books on the application of science to social programs, Cure for Chaos and Century of Mismatch, have received wide critical acclaim and public audience. Dr. Ramo's most recent book, The Islands of E. Cono & My, examines today's world economic problems and provides fresh perspective on their solutions. He has also written a book called Extraordinary Tennis for the Ordinary Player.

Dr. Ramo is a founding member of the National Academy of Engineering and is a member of the National Academy of Sciences. He has been honored with fellow status in many professional organizations, including the IEEE, the American Philosophical Society, the American Physical Society, the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and the Institute for the Advancement of Engineering.

Dr. Ramo is one of the nation's key advisors to the government on science and technology matters. At the present time he is a member of the Advisory Council to the Secretary of Commerce and a member of the Roster of Consultants to the Administrator of the Energy Research and Development Administration. He is a director and trustee of many philanthropic, cultural, and professional organizations. Dr. Ramo is also an accomplished violinist.

Dr. Ramo was awarded the 1980 IEEE Founders Medal "For contributions and leadership in the development, application, and management of systems engineering in the field of electronics."

Further Reading

Simon Ramo Oral History