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In memoriam: Shaoul Ezekiel, expert in fiber-optic gyroscopes

16 January 2015

Shaoul EzekielSPIE Fellow Shaoul Ezekiel, an MIT alumnus and professor emeritus in the departments of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AeroAstro) and Electrical Engineering and Computer Sciences (EECS), died at the age of 79 on 7 January 2015.

"Ziggy," as Ezekiel liked to be called, contributed to the field of lasers and fiber optics for five decades.

After moving from Baghdad to London in 1948, he received a BS in engineering from the Imperial College London in 1957. Ezekiel moved to Montreal to work for Canadian Aviation Electronics in 1959. Joining MIT as a graduate student in 1962, Ezekiel received both the M.S. and Sc.D. in aeronautics and astronautics.

After 10 years as an assistant professor in AeroAstro, he became a full professor of both AeroAstro and EECS departments in 1978. He taught classes in dynamics, optics, laser fundamentals, basics of measurement systems, and optical sensors.

Ezekiel published several papers on fiber-optic gyroscopes in the SPIE Digital Library. Ezekiel's research interests were in lasers, and optics, and their applications in atom-field interactions, ultra-high resolution spectroscopy, optical frequency, and sensors. He taught short courses regularly at SPIE symposia for many years.

"His important contributions to fiber optics gyroscopes are one testament to his brilliance," SPIE CEO Eugene G. Arthurs, who attended Ezekiel's presentations at SPIE conferences in the 1980s and 1990s, said. "All of us who travel by air or use GPS should be grateful for the improved navigation that spun out of his work."

In the name of Ziggy Ezekiel, donations may be made to the Massachusetts General Hospital Cancer Center. Donations also may be made in his memory to AeroAstro.