Obituary - Ralph Showers

EMC pioneer Ralph M. Showers

By Zoe Smart

IEC expert and Lord Kelvin Award laureate Ralph M. Showers passed away on 8 September 2013. He was 95 years old.

Ralph Showers

Controlling electromagnetic interference

A pioneer in the field of EMC (electromagnetic compatibility), Showers showed life-long dedication to improving electronic communications by controlling electromagnetic interference. He was both a national and international technical leader whose contributions had tremendous impact on standardization in the field of electromagnetic interference.

Strong commitment to voluntary standards process

At the international level, Showers had strong ties to the IEC. He was active for a great number of years in several IEC TCs (Technical Committees), including TC 1: Terminology and TC 77: Electromagnetic Compatibility, as well as SC (Subcommittee) 77A: Low frequency phenomena, and SC 77B: High frequency phenomena. He was also involved in CISPR, the International Special Committee on Radio Interference, first as a member, then as its Chairman. He was.also a long-standing member of IEC ACEC (Advisory Committee on Electromagnetic Compatibility)..

At home in the USA, Showers served as Vice President of the USNC (US National Committee) of the IEC and as a member of its Executive Committee. He was technical advisor for the USNC TAGs (Technical Advisory Groups) for the above-mentioned IEC TCs. He also served as chairman of ANSI-accredited committee C63 on Radio-Electrical Coordination and was a founder of the IEEE EMC Society.

A life dedicated to teaching and researching

Showers received his bachelors, masters and doctoral degrees in electrical engineering from theUniversity of Pennsylvania where he remained after graduation and taught electrical engineering for many years. He was named emeritus professor of electrical engineering in 1989.

From the 1940s, Showers was active in research on measurement of noise, weapons systems communications, aerospace microwave technology, space shuttle radio frequency experiments, stabilization of cable radiation characteristics and cable coupling models. Among innumerable accomplishments, he worked for NASA, the US Navy, the US ArmyIBM, and supervised 38 master theses and 10 PhD dissertations. He authored and contributed to numerous articles in his field, as well as presenting at seminars and moderating technical sessions.

Prestigious awards

Ralph Showers received the IEC Lord Kelvin Award in 1999 for his outstanding contribution to international electrotechnical standardization through his leadership and provision of technical expertise.

Over the years, Showers was a recipient of the ANSI Elihu Thomson Electrotechnology Medal, ANSI Astin-Polk International Standards Medal, the IEEE Standards Medallion, the IEEE Steinmetz Award, the IEEE Centennial Medal, the IEEE Fellow Award, and the EMC Society Richard Stoddart Award.

He was a registered professional engineer in Pennsylvania, a life fellow of IEEE, and an honorary life member of the USNC.