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At The Top Of His Field

At The Top Of His FieldPioneering inventor and Tufts Trustee Bernard Gordon was named to Electronic Design’s Hall of Fame, alongside Thomas Edison and Steve Jobs.

Medford/Somerville, Mass. [11.26.02] To mark its 50th anniversary, Electronic Design Magazine officially opened its Hall of Fame, inducting a select group of pioneers and innovators. It is an impressive group, to say the least. Selected by thousands of the magazine's readers, Tufts Trustee and Analogic founder Bernard Gordon was honored as "a champion electrical engineer for all time," joining the Hall alongside major figures including Thomas Edison and the founders of Apple Computers.

"Electronic Design is officially founding and launching its Engineering Hall of Fame to honor the profession's most noteworthy individuals," Associate Chief Editor Lucinda Mattera wrote in the magazine's anniversary issue. "It's our way of thanking the design engineers who have been the hallmark of our very existence and, indeed, our very name."

Gordon - who was inducted alongside the inventors of radio, the founders of Intel, Apple and Hewlett Packard, one of the fathers of the Internet and the creators of the floppy drive and the first computer operating system - has made contributions to engineering across many fields - from major advances in the medical field to cutting-edge technology for the security industry.

Acknowledged as the "father of high-speed analog-to-digital conversion techniques," Gordon was a project engineer on the world's first commercial digital computer, and led the teams that designed the first fetal monitor and mobile CT scanner.

"My primary motivation, even from the beginning, was never self-serving," Gordon said at an interview at Tufts, where he founded the Gordon Institute. "I derive satisfaction from doing something that is useful for other people. I was brought up that way, and I was trained that way."

His inventions continue to prove to be important.

The founder and chairman of Analogic, Gordon oversaw the development of a highly sophisticated explosives detection system, which has recently been installed to beef-up security in airports around the country.

"The system will scan 500 bags an hour and stop automatically to alert security personnel of potential threats," reported The Boston Herald. "Analogic's technology lets the system examine 36 cross sections of each bag in the same amount of time that current machines examine one cross section. By reading an object's density and atomic makeup, the technology recognizes certain materials, identifying threats such as plastic explosives."

While the Tufts Trustee has built his career around his inventions, he has focused a lot of his time over the last two decades on educational issues.

According to Gordon, today's engineering curriculum needs to be updated to ensure that engineering students learn as much about project management and leadership skills as they do about the science of engineering. At Tufts' Gordon Institute, that's exactly what students are taught.

"Engineering schools have concentrated on knowledge and skills but have not traditionally stressed attitudes and leadership," Gordon said in an interview at Tufts. "Yet I believe that the greater the breadth of knowledge, the more varied the skills, and the more dedicated the attitude, the more significant the accomplishments."

In 1999, Gordon invested $20 million in Tufts' School of Engineering to continue to expand opportunities for leadership training, and project-based experiences.

"It is a pleasure to be associated with Tufts," said Gordon, who took classes at the University as part of the Navy's V-12 program in 1944. "It's grown tremendously, but it still has that friendly atmosphere that I remember so well and I believe it encourages students to think creatively and positively."

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