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Remembering Roger Brockett – Researcher, Educator and Innovator

— Photo credit: Eliza Grinell

IEEE Life Fellow Roger Brockett, a renowned researcher, educator and innovator passed away on 19 March 2023. His research inspired a generation of mathematicians. A strong proponent of scholarship and continual learning, he taught both undergraduate and graduate students co-creating two of Harvard University’s most popular undergraduate engineering courses and mentoring more than 60 Ph.D. students. He was widely celebrated for his pioneering contributions to automatic control and his passion for continually reaching to establish new frameworks and foundational systems.

Throughout his long and storied career, he never lost his US midwestern values and always delighted in the simplicity of complicated phenomena. A. Stephen Morse, a longtime friend of Roger’s, offered this warm reflection, “He was an engineer down to his toenails. If you knew him well, the guy was really an engineer. He loved mathematics; he loved the beauty of mathematics; he loved the structure, but what he really liked was the utility of mathematics — being able to use it to solve the kinds of problems that he was interested in solving.”

To honor Roger’s legacy and perpetuate his memory, Roger’s family has partnered with the IEEE Control Systems Society (CSS) and the IEEE Foundation to establish the IEEE Roger Brockett Memorial Fund. The Fund will provide long-term support for scholarly activities in the field of control systems, which Roger deemed important during his lifetime. Activities supported by the Brockett Memorial Fund will nurture, encourage and celebrate innovators in the field of control systems. Initially, the Fund will be used to support the creation of a lecture to be named for Roger, which CSS is working to establish. Over time as the Brockett Memorial Fund grows, additional CSS scholarly activities will be supported, all in Roger’s name. 

Donate today to help honor the memory of Roger Brockett and perpetuate his legacy by helping the IEEE Control Systems Society continue to pursue scholarly activities in his name. If you have questions or wish to hold a personal consultation regarding the Fund or ways to contribute, please call +1 732-562-3860 or email donate@ieee.org.

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