Former Lincoln Laboratory scientist presents $4M gift to MIT

Emanuel Landsman gift will support energy-related engineering

This spring, Emanuel E. Landsman, vice president and director emeritus of American Power Conversion Corporation and former researcher at MIT Lincoln Laboratory, and his wife, Sheila E. Landsman, presented MIT’s Laboratory for Electromagnetic and Electronic Systems (LEES) and its Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science (EECS) with a gift of $4 million to provide a career development professorship, fellowship support, and Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program funds in the fields of power electronics and electric-energy-related engineering. This is the second career development professorship in EECS that the Landsmans have established.

Dr. Landsman, who earned his BSEE, MSEE, and PhD degrees at MIT in 1958, 1959, and 1966, respectively, worked at Lincoln Laboratory from 1966 to 1981, when he left to found American Power Conversion (APC) with two other Laboratory engineers. APC, which initially focused on research and development in solar electricity, shifted its focus to power protection, introducing its uninterruptible power supply in 1984. Today, APC is a global company offering power backup and management, networking power, and physical IT security products.
In his early years at the Laboratory, Dr. Landsman worked in the Space Communications Group on the design and construction of dc-to-dc power converters, servo amplifiers, and dc-to-ac converters for use in the Air Force’s synchronous-orbit communications satellites. He was responsible for design, construction, and test of all power converters and inverters used in three Air Force satellites. For this satellite program, he also supervised the battery selection and evaluation program, and designed and built a 1500 W “rotary transformer” that replaced sliprings. Later, Dr. Landsman was instrumental in the formation of the Laboratory’s Energy Systems Engineering Group, which designed and installed demonstration photovoltaic power systems. 

Dr. Landsman’s interest in energy systems extended beyond the workplace. In the professional domain, he was both a co-organizer of and a technical contributor to the Power Electronics Specialists Conference. He wrote one of the early technical papers on transient and stability analysis of pulse-width-modulated converters and is a recipient of the IEEE Power Electronics Society’s William E. Newell Award for Outstanding Achievement in Power Electronics.

In the personal realm, Dr. Landsman acquired an early-model electric car that he often drove to Lincoln Laboratory, and he developed a system to heat his home with multiple electric water heaters that turned on when the rates went down at night.

His gift is another facet of his support for energy research and development. According to LEES director John Kassakian, the Landsman gift will provide resources to initiate research into areas and concepts currently not sufficiently developed to generate sponsored support.

Posted June 2008

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