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Elected in 1978

“For pioneering in gas breakdown at optical frequencies and developments of high-power gas lasers.”


RUSSELL G. MEYERAND JR., retired vice president of technology, United Technologies Corporation (UTC), died suddenly in West Palm Beach, Florida, on November 23, 2003. He was 69 years old.

Russell (or Russ as he was known to his colleagues) was born on December 2, 1933, in Kirkwood, Missouri, one of two children. Even as a child, he exhibited a notable interest and abilities in science, which continued to grow throughout his life, even after his retirement. He undertook formal training at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), where he earned a B.S. in electrical engineering in 1955, an M.S. in nuclear engineering in 1956, and a Ph.D. in plasma physics, under Professor “Sandy” C. Brown, in 1959. Russ’s Ph.D. thesis on plasma sources led to advances in ion-propulsion research.

While at MIT, Russ met Mary Grace, the daughter of one of his professors of electrical engineering. They were married in 1956 when Russ was 23 years old; at the time of his death, they had been married for 47 years. The couple had one child, Mary Elizabeth, now a tenured associate professor of medical physics at the University of Wisconsin, Madison. Russ is also survived by two grandchildren, Elsa Dorothy born in 2004 and Henry Russell born in 2006.

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