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Memorial Tributes, Volume 12
RALPH A. LOGAN 1926–2006
Elected in 1992
“For contributions to the development of solid-state lasers.”
BY MORT PANISH
RALPH LOGAN, retired distinguished member of the technical staff at AT&T Bell Laboratories, played a seminal role in the early development of fundamental semiconductor technologies. He died on December 1, 2006, at the age of 80.
Ralph was born in the very small village of Mille Roches, Ontario, Canada (the village was submerged when the St. Lawrence Seaway was constructed). His mother, Lucy, one of 17 siblings, was an immigrant from Birmingham, England. His father, Joseph Alexander (Alec), from a large close-knit French-speaking farming family in Howick, Quebec, was a Canadian National Railroad agent. For the first few years of his schooling, in Greenfield, Ontario, Ralph attended a one-room schoolhouse. In later years, he liked to claim he was the smartest kid in the class … and then admit he was also the only kid in his class. When the family moved to Alexandria, Ontario, Ralph thrived in the seventh and eighth grades where he competed with other students and where his aptitude for mathematics became evident. Subsequently, the family moved to Montreal so the children could attend better schools.
Upon graduation from Catholic High School in Montreal in 1943, Ralph won Sir Edward Beatty and Robert Bruce scholarships to McGill University, where he took honors courses in pure and applied mathematics. While at McGill, he won two additional scholarships, the Sir William MacDonald Scholarship