Honoring an Analog Giant


Bob Pease died a year ago yesterday. What a loss for us analog heads who struggle to make our circuits work. His wealth of knowledge and experience seemed limitless. His insight and intuitive explanations helped so many engineers understand their circuits better.

I can’t say that I read every one of his columns. He often strayed far off his mainstream analog topics, waxing into lengthy discussions on hiking, sudden acceleration of cars and on and on. Sometimes these topics caused me to skip over the column. Other times I found it fascinating to peek into the curious, noisy mind of a genius. His quirkiness and eccentricity were legendary. All the more fun.

The marriage of Texas Instruments and National Semiconductor was a work in progress a year ago and we were officially prohibited from making contact with our new colleagues. I was so eager to reach out to Bob and ask a few questions. How disappointing it was that we missed by just a matter of weeks.

Please honor Bob by adding your comments below—maybe by mentioning a particularly memorable column, whether useful or quirky. And check out the “Remembering Bob Pease” page where you’ll find all of Bob’s stuff and links to last year’s comments from friends and colleagues.

RIP RAP,

Bruce

  • I didn't throw a computer off the roof, but I do want to pay my respects.

  • I had the opportunity to host his seminar when he visited India in 2000. I was teaching at IIT Delhi then. His seminar was most unconventional! The students were in for a jolt. he also showed the video where he throws the PC off the roof. I also had the opportunity to spend time with him the next day and took him  to see a little bit of New Delhi. He presented a copy of his book to the EE departmental library.  i feel honoured to have known him.

  • We all miss Bob’s energy, wisdom and humor. He was truly one of a kind -- a hero of the analog world.

  • Bob was a great Mentor... and often a great critic of my writing.  I once wrote an article on creating a precision laser control loop to monitor output power... the only problem was when the article went to print the photo diode detector was in the circuit backwards... I think less than a day went by following publication that I received the corrected schematic from Bob... I never saw the error in the final schematic... but he did!  He was amazing! We miss you Bob!

  • I posted the following comments the week that Bob passed away and thought it would be OK to post them again here...

    I only knew Bob well for 5 years but I am honored to call him my friend.  Bob and I presented together at the AES show in San Francisco (2008) and I thought I was going to be able to just sit there and watch Bob give a presentation on analog power supplies for audio circuits using the LME series of parts.  Well two days before the presentation Bob comes into my cube in Bldg. C and dumps a 6” high stack of “Analog Power Point Foils” on my desk and says “Here is your ½ of the presentation to edit!” He smiled and walked off.  I stayed up most of the night hand editing my ½ of the foils.  The day of the presentation (a Sat) no one showed up at the booth to help me out…except Bob.  He worked the entire day in the booth with me and then we gave the presentation together.  I will never forget my “AES Presentation with Robert A. Pease”.  (I have the audio of the presentation if anyone would like me to email it to them.)

    It was great fun getting Bob into the Audio Groups sound room in building C to listen to the differences between the LME DIP and Metal Can (HA) opamps.  We had identical D/A preamp demo units and I had him listen, single blind, to the two audio preamps.  He said he was too old to hear the difference but he picked the metal can unit over the plastic DIP every time!  I then saw the wheels turning behind that white beard…bigger bond wires, better thermals, shielding, and other thoughts.  He later built one of his kludge circuits with 10 opamps in series which then switched over to just a single opamp in the signal path to prove I could not hear the difference.  He then asked me to listen to the result in his lab.  (Yes the one LME opamp was discernable from the 10 LME parts in series!)  If you ever saw one of Bob’s hand-made proto circuits it was amazing that it actually worked at all…but they always did!

    I let Bob drive my Shelby one day and it was great to see him have so much fun and he did quite well with the stiff clutch.  I hoped he would enjoy it so much he would consider buying a better car but unfortunately there was no way to get him out of his “Iconic Beetle”!  He gave my youngest son a signed copy of his “How to Drive into Accidents – And How Not to” book, that he had published, after I told Bob my son was 16 and just learning how to drive.  Always thinking of others!  That was Bob!

    Bob, I already greatly miss our late night phone calls about “Everything Analog/Audio…and Stuff”.

    Mark Brasfield – Texas Instruments / National Semiconductor - Principal Audio Applications Engineer (contractor)

  • I loved Bob's hand-written schematics on a napkin or a piece of scrap paper; he truly had a deep understanding of the circuit functionality down to the core of the transistors that made up the IC. Bob's insights were and will continue to inspire all engineers, not just analog weenies like me, but any engineer who wants to learn the thought process that goes into designing and fully understanding how and why a circuit functions or doesn't function in many cases.

    Thanks Bruce, for the opportunity to let TI's audience give their experiences about Bob. All of these comments will help us to understand more about the man we honor today

  • I always enjoyed emailing Bob and miss his often brief responses where he assumed I always knew more than I did.  The one time I thought Bob was wrong (silly me) he informed me later that the discrepancy was his built-in fudge factor to insure his design was stable.  He is missed!

  • Bob each kept a log of the most "unusual" questions we would get and once awhile we'd share the various entries. One time, I showed him one which was asking for the input bias pin in an op amp and Bob got a good laugh, RIP buddy

  • Thank you Bruce for the opportunity to honor analog design giant Bob Pease in this era of digital circuits’ domination. I would like to consider myself among the many privileged analog design engineers that had the opportunity to read his columns and his publications in the last few decades, in hopes of embracing his thought process, and perhaps even gaining some of his wonderful insight to analog circuit design.

    Bob’s no nonsense engineering advice was the most valuable gift, which he generously shared with his audience. To understand not only what really makes a circuit function properly, but what makes the design flawless under all unforeseen circumstances was the Bob Pease’s magic. In my opinion, his cumulative experience was the foundation of his successful thought process, and his generosity to share it with millions of engineers around the world was his selflessness, that I have always admired about him.

    I’ve been a subscriber to Electronic Design magazine for a few decades now, and I used to look forward to Bob’s column, “much like the kid waiting for that new shining bike on Christmas morning.”     In fact, I used to check Bob’s column first, and had a few chuckles or a few “aha” moments, before reading the rest of the magazine articles. Thank you Bob, for showering us with so many gifts!     Frankly, reading the ED magazine will never be the same.

    Like many seasoned hardware design engineers, it is not very hard to conceive that Bob’s design experience and knowledge has been instrumental to our success, as well. We all owe Bob a great deal of respect and gratitude, and thank you Bob for your mentoring spirit.    

    May the Lord bless your spirit in the heavens above, and grant you with many pleasant heavenly hikes. We shall remember you in our hearts, and in our minds.

    Warren Karapetian