Jim Williams and Bob Pease

Discussion in 'Off-Topic' started by tindel, Jan 12, 2013.

  1. tindel

    Thread Starter Active Member

    Sep 16, 2012
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    I've recently discovered Jim Williams and Bob Pease. They have taught me a ton about circuit design in their app notes... also Colin Mitchell deserves honorable mention (though his work doesn't seem to be as complete). I actually discovered Bob Pease a few years back reading the last page of EDN (usually the only page worth reading)... I didn't realize that he wrote the national app notes at the time though.

    5 years of college, 5 years of professional work, and I feel dumb when I read their work. I learn more in a couple hours of app note reading than I learned in 10 years of traditional education. How does this happen? Then I find out that Jim had NO formal education!

    I hear that all three of these guys are pretty personable... but Jim and Bob died within a week of each other. (Bob had actually been returning from a memorial for Jim when he died in a car accident). I would have loved to meet them. I will probably never get to meet Colin since he's on the other side of the pond.

    Did any of you guys meet these fellows?

    Analogue Rules!

    I put this in the off-topic forum - just seems that I'm rambling a bit.
     
  2. MrChips

    Moderator

    Oct 2, 2009
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    Yes, I had the good fortune of meeting Bob Pease at a National seminar. I had a circuit design question for Bob and in true Bob Pease style he scribbled a circuit on a piece of paper for me.
    Amazing personality!

    The other guru that has left us is Hans Camenzind, inventor of the 555 timer.

    http://www.eetimes.com/electronics-news/4394166/Hans-Camenzind-dies

    And on the topic of the 555 timer,

    Tony van Roon has left us his amazing contribution to the electronics hobby world:

    http://www.sentex.ca/~mec1995/
     
    Last edited: Jan 12, 2013
  3. atferrari

    AAC Fanatic!

    Jan 6, 2004
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    Look for Ron Mancini posting in another forum.

    He wrote a lot about opamps. Alive in Florida IIRC.
     
  4. DerStrom8

    Well-Known Member

    Feb 20, 2011
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  5. tindel

    Thread Starter Active Member

    Sep 16, 2012
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    DerStom - I've have the same impressions of Colin, but to say I haven't learned from him would be a lie. All of his books are free and his website has TONS of good information.

    Mr Chips - how'd the circuit work? I like the Tony van Roon site I haven't seen it before! I'll be lurking there for a bit, for sure.
     
  6. DerStrom8

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    I wouldn't say that. For one thing, most of the information in his books and on his site is incomplete, even misleading. Also, most of the circuits on his site are just taken directly from google, and re-drawn by him. He's trying to look like he knows about electronics, when he really doesn't. It's all cut-and-paste, none of it is original work. Also, all he does is try to promote his website and tries forcing people to buy his kits. You may have learned something, but I can guarantee there's much more to it that he's not showing you, because he doesn't have the sense to see it himself.
     
  7. Brownout

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    Jan 10, 2012
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    A guy I worked with awhile back attended MIT when Jim Williams was working there as a lab assistant. He wasn't ever aware of Williams's authorship, until I told him :)
     
    Last edited: Jan 14, 2013
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  8. Brownout

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    Jan 10, 2012
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    There is a very amusing story written about Bob Widlar by, I think, Jim Williams. If anyone has the link, please post it. Wildlar was an odd character.

    Ah! I found it, but it was written by Bob Pease. http://electronicdesign.com/analog/what-s-all-widlar-stuff-anyhow
    There are other stories, like when Widlar blew up the intercom speaker at National with a cherry-bomb!
     
    Last edited: Jan 14, 2013
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  9. Ron H

    AAC Fanatic!

    Apr 14, 2005
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    I had a beer circa 1966 with Bob Widlar, who designed, among other more famous ICs, the uA710, which was the first IC comparator. I was trying to make an 8 bit A/D with them, and was frustrated by self-induced input offset due to the power dissipation changes in the input differential pair transistors. When I told him this, he stated unequivocally that an integrated 8 bit A/D would never be possible.
    He was definitely a guru, but he was not much of a prophet.:D
     
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  10. DerStrom8

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    I saw that one too. Great stuff! :D:D:D
     
  11. bountyhunter

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    Sep 7, 2009
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    I hope you mean you discovered their works and not actually them......:D

    sorry, I worked with Bob for 20 years and that's the kind of joke he would have thought was hysterical.

    Bob was known for giving computers "flying lessons" from the roof of the three story parking garage to the concrete below.

    There was another time he got irate over something and walked up and down the street next to our building not wearing his pants..... sort of a modern day Lady Godiva protest.

    Bob was definitely one of a kind.
     
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  12. bountyhunter

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    Regarding Bob's story:

    I shared an office with Fran for some time, he was a nice guy. Very quiet, very hard working. He was there at the first day of NS, he knew Bob Widlar and Robert Dobkin whom he affectionately referred to as "Dobby". Dobby was known to be very protective of his lab area, and had a baseball bat to enforce the perimeter. When some idiot would be in there saying stupid things, it was sufficient "security".

    Sad story: some years later around late 90's (?) National went through some brain dead insanity about ISO qualification whereby all the labs had to be encumbered by ridiculous rules. All of NS competitors handled it by simply tagging all the research labs as areas not for production materials.... which meant the ISO rules did not apply and the people could do their jobs. NS was too stupid to do this and they eneacted ISO on all the R+D labs meaning brain dead idiots were constantly walking through writing people up for "violations".

    Fran got written up one day because his resistors were not in static proof bags.... seriously. Never mind that carbon film resistors are not affected by static discharge, the rules were the rules.

    later in our office i could hear Fran say quietly to himself:

    "If Dobby was still here, he'd take his bat to those %$&**......"

    Which is when I knew Fran would soon be going to Linear Technology, the company scooping up all of the NS "graduates".

    He was a good guy.
     
  13. bountyhunter

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    Another story about Fran Hoffart:

    He had a funny last name (it was German) and he brought in a piece of mail he had received with typo in the last name. Instead of Hoffart it said:

    Fran Hogfart

    He kept it on the wall, it was hilarious.
     
  14. bountyhunter

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    Sep 7, 2009
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    Bob Widlar was without question a genius, much of the legacy of integrated circuits is either his work or built on his work.

    Sadly, he was also a raging hopeless alcoholic. It makes one wonder what his body of work would be without that burden.

    Widlar was an NS employee later in life after he had moved to Mexico (and quit Linear Technology), when he came to Cali he had to be driven around because he had a lifetime revocation of driving license from all his DUI convictions.
     
  15. bountyhunter

    Well-Known Member

    Sep 7, 2009
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    Another funny thing about Bob Pease was he is the only person I ever knew who used the word "eschew" quite a lot in normal conversation.

    I remember once Bob was talking to somebody sitting a few feet from me and several times in a row Bob said:

    "I ESCHEW ..............."

    with the loud emphasis on the word "eschew".

    After the third time he said ESCHEW, I said:

    GESUNDHEIT

    :D
     
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