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Passing of Jim Williams, analog circuit guru, mentor, teacher

6/13/2011 02:23 PM EDT
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patrick.mannion
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re: Passing of Jim Williams, analog circuit guru, mentor, teacher
patrick.mannion   6/13/2011 5:20:36 PM
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Hi Bill, a terrible loss indeed. As you mention, Jim has a long history with EDN, which over the years became a relied-upon conduit for much of his wisdom. Paul Rako, analog editor for EDN and who has the honor of being able to claim Jim as a trusted friend, provides a fitting reminescence here: http://www.edn.com/article/518496-Analog_guru_Jim_Williams_dies_after_stroke.php

zeeglen
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re: Passing of Jim Williams, analog circuit guru, mentor, teacher
zeeglen   6/13/2011 5:20:08 PM
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Darn shame. He will be missed.

vrheaume
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re: Passing of Jim Williams, analog circuit guru, mentor, teacher
vrheaume   6/13/2011 4:36:35 PM
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Oh my god. Sad news. :(

jimolson
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re: Passing of Jim Williams, analog circuit guru, mentor, teacher
jimolson   6/13/2011 4:14:29 PM
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In 1972 I was fortunate to do a undergrad student research project under Jim Williams. It was in M.I.T.'s famed Bldg. 20, a World War II wooden shack known as the campus skunk works. Jim's lab in those days looked exactly as it did last week at LTC, cluttered with vector boards, hand-crafted instruments, and vintage Tektronix 'scopes. Whirring away in the corner was a functioning missile guidance computer he purchased from a surplus depot. Jim was addicted to surplus electronic hardware. Over the next two years I showed up at formal classes to appease my M.I.T. faculty adviser and registrar, but my soul lived in room 20B-140 working under Jim. At one point I even slept in the lab on a cot after I was evicted from my apartment, testimony to how comfortable I felt in Jim's learning environment. He believed that taking apart another engineer's handiwork and carefully drawing its schematic with a broad point blue pen was the highest form of flattery. He did it with gusto, often calling me to his bench to highlight the artistry of another analog engineer. As I matured I realized that Jim's greatest skill was communicating effectively with other technical people. He did this in spades. My bookshelves are full of his writings. I will miss my friend and mentor. My thoughts are with his family. I'm eager to contribute to a monument in his honor somewhere in the Valley. My recommendation is a block of granite carved to look like his favorite Tektronix 545 'scope.

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