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Elected in 1999

“For contributions to microwave technology and to the management of national security research.”


LEO YOUNG, a scholar, leader, and gentleman and retired director of research at the U.S. Department of Defense, died on September 14, 2006, at the age of 80.

When I was asked by the National Academy of Engineering to write a memorial tribute to Leo Young, my eyes teared up. I had my doubts about whether I could do justice to this giant whom I had initially come to know through his reputation as a scholar. After having had the privilege of meeting, knowing, and befriending Leo, I came to appreciate his gifts as a visionary and a wonderful human being.

I had the opportunity to visit Leo and his wife Jo-Ellen at their home in Baltimore a few months before Leo’s passing. Jo-Ellen, an accomplished and renowned educator in her own right, prepared lunch, and the three of us reminisced together. Leo then gave me a copy of a book he had just completed, Letters to My Grandchildren, from which I learned even more about this remarkable man. As he said in his memoirs, he had four separate careers that encompassed industry, academia, government, and consulting. I would add that he excelled in all of them.

Leo was born in Austria in August 1926. His father was a successful physician, and his mother valued education above all. In 1938, to escape the Nazis, the family moved to England, where Leo received a B.A. in mathematics in 1945, a B.A. in physics in

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