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In memoriam: Howard Brandt, theoretical physicist and inventor

22 May 2014

Howard Brandt
Howard Brandt

Howard Brandt, a physicist with the U.S. Army Research Lab (ARL) in Maryland and inventor of the turbutron, died 13 April. He was 75.

Born in North Dakota, he earned his PhD in physics at the University of Washington, and subsequently researched general relativity at the University of Maryland.

He began his lifelong career at the ARL, then called the Harry Diamond Lab, in 1976, where his work helped drive ARL research directions. He invented the turbutron, a high-power millimeter-wave source; co-invented a quantum key receiver based on a positive operator-valued measure; and was widely recognized for his pioneering work in general relativity and quantum field theory and quantum information.

A Fellow of SPIE since 2008, he had served as a conference chair and program committee member for SPIE meetings since 1989. Most recently, along with Eric Donkor of the University of Connecticut and Andrew Pirich of ACP Consulting, he chaired the conference on Quantum Information and Computation at SPIE DSS.

Among his hundreds of publications were more than three dozen journal and proceedings articles in the SPIE Digital Library. He was editor of the SPIE Press Milestone Series book Selected Papers on Nonlinear Optics, and was editor and editorial board member for several physics and optics journals.

Survivors include his wife, Marilyn, daughters Karen O'Connor and Sonja Sweterlitsch and their families, sister Jean Haidle, and many friends and colleagues.