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Memorial Tributes, Volume 14
Elected in 1998
“For statistical communication theory and applications.”
BY THE FAMILY OF DAVID MIDDLETON AND JOSEPH W. GOODMAN
DAVID MIDDLETON, a physicist whose original research led to major advancements in the understanding of communication systems—from radar during World War II to the wireless communication systems of our present age—died on November 16, 2008, in New York City. He was 88.
Born in New York City in 1920, Dr. Middleton graduated from the Harvey School in 1934 and Deerfield Academy in 1938. He received his undergraduate and graduate degrees in physics from Harvard College (A.B., 1942, summa cum laude) and Harvard University (M.A., 1945; Ph.D., 1947).
Dr. Middleton was a scientist, a researcher, and a founder of the field of statistical communication theory. He devoted his entire career, spanning six decades, to studying signal processing and the transfer of information from one point in space-time to another, with numerous applications in radar, underwater listening devices, satellite technology, and signal processing.
His career began in 1943 at the Harvard Radio Research Laboratory as special research assistant to Professor J. H. Van Vleck (later a Nobel Laureate in physics), with whom he took his Ph.D. in 1947. Together, Dr. Middleton and Van Vleck