Ben Barton (1925 - 2017): In Memoriam

Michigan alumnus and faculty member cared deeply about the education of undergraduate students

Ben Barton

Ben F. Barton, alumnus and professor emeritus in the Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, passed away December 16, 2017 at the age of 92.

Professor Barton earned his B.S. degree in 1947, his M.S. degree in 1952, and his PhD degree in 1957, all in electrical engineering from the University of Michigan.

From 1947-48, Barton was employed as an engineer at the General Motors Proving Ground. He then worked for three years a MC Manufacturing Company, where he was involved in the research and development of extremely high performance compressors for the United States Air Force.

Professor Barton joined the faculty of the Department of Electrical Engineering as an assistant professor in 1957, and was promoted to professor in 1964. He served as the director of Cooley Electronics Laboratory from 1961-65, when he stepped down to serve as a Technical Advisor to NATO in Paris, France. The Cooley Lab included research in the areas of acoustic-optics, communications, information processes, instrumentation, solid-state circuits, and industrial sciences

In 1966, Barton took a two-year leave to help establish an institute of technology in Kanpur, India that would be part of a nine-university consortium.

Professor Barton was responsible for introducing several courses in circuits and electronics, with strong design and laboratory components. In later years, his research turned to the field of technical communications. He and his wife earned several best paper awards in this area.

In 1977, students in one of his courses developed Project Helpmate, an electronic control system for handicapped individuals. This project took first place in the Communications Division of a student design competition sponsored by the University of Washington School of Medicine, which was held in conjunction with the Fourth Annual Conference on Systems and Devices for the Disabled.

He retired as emeritus professor of electrical engineering and computer science in 1993 after a career of 36 years at Michigan.

The Department salutes Ben Barton and thanks him for all that he contributed to the department and the education of future engineers.