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Oral-History:John Granger

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[[John Granger|Dr. John Granger's]] childhood interest in radios and electronics led to his pioneering career in [[Radio|radio]] engineering. He obtained his B.A. from Cornell College and his Ph.D. in engineering science and applied physics from Harvard University. Granger worked at Harvard's Cruft Laboratory and began specializing in antennas. In 1942 he taught pre-radar school at Harvard and then transferred to the radio Research Lab. In 1944 he traveled to England to work in the American-British Laboratory and helped develop technology used in the Normandy Invasion. Granger received his Ph.D. in 1948 and went to work at the Stanford Research Institute, where he formed the Airborne Systems Laboratory. He also became the assistant director of engineering research and was directly responsible for research and development in areas such as antennas, microwave components and systems, advance communications techniques, aircraft navigation, and weapons systems planning and evaluation.  
 
[[John Granger|Dr. John Granger's]] childhood interest in radios and electronics led to his pioneering career in [[Radio|radio]] engineering. He obtained his B.A. from Cornell College and his Ph.D. in engineering science and applied physics from Harvard University. Granger worked at Harvard's Cruft Laboratory and began specializing in antennas. In 1942 he taught pre-radar school at Harvard and then transferred to the radio Research Lab. In 1944 he traveled to England to work in the American-British Laboratory and helped develop technology used in the Normandy Invasion. Granger received his Ph.D. in 1948 and went to work at the Stanford Research Institute, where he formed the Airborne Systems Laboratory. He also became the assistant director of engineering research and was directly responsible for research and development in areas such as antennas, microwave components and systems, advance communications techniques, aircraft navigation, and weapons systems planning and evaluation.  
  
In 1956 Granger formed Granger Associates, which specialized in commercial applications of technology and had made many innovations in antennas and aviation-related products. Granger retired from his company and began advising the U.S. government on technological and scientific matters in 1971. He served as deputy director of the State Department's Bureau of International Science and Technology under the Nixon Administration. Subsequently he worked for the National Science Foundation and became the U.S. Counselor of Embassy for Science and Technology in Great Britain. Granger worked for a time in UNESCO and took up permanent residence in England. He has been an active member of [[IEEE History|IEEE]] since 1954 and has served as IEEE's president. He has written a book on politics and technology as well as many papers on aircraft antennas and airborne communications. He has also received many honors and awards.  
+
In 1956 Granger formed Granger Associates, which specialized in commercial applications of technology and had made many innovations in antennas and aviation-related products. Granger retired from his company and began advising the U.S. government on technological and scientific matters in 1971. He served as deputy director of the State Department's Bureau of International Science and Technology under the Nixon Administration. Subsequently he worked for the National Science Foundation and became the U.S. Counselor of Embassy for Science and Technology in Great Britain. Granger worked for a time in UNESCO and took up permanent residence in England. He has been an active member of [[IEEE History|IEEE]] since 1954 and erved as IEEE's president in 1970. He has written a book on politics and technology as well as many papers on aircraft antennas and airborne communications. He has also received many honors and awards.  
  
The interview spans Granger's career, beginning with his childhood and covering several decades until his retirement from public service. Granger describes his Ph.D. work at Harvard and his role in the Stanford Research Institute. He explains his decisions to found and later to retire from Granger Associates, and describes that company's contributions to the aviation engineering field. Granger discusses in some detail his experiences working with the U.S. government in various scientific advisory capacities and evaluates the relationships between policy-making, science, and technology. He recalls his IEEE career and reminisces about [[Frederick Terman|Fred Terman]].  
+
The interview spans Granger's career, beginning with his childhood and covering several decades until his retirement from public service. Granger describes his Ph.D. work at Harvard and his role in the Stanford Research Institute. He explains his decisions to found and later to retire from Granger Associates, and describes that company's contributions to the aviation engineering field. Granger discusses in some detail his experiences working with the U.S. government in various scientific advisory capacities and evaluates the relationships between policy-making, science, and technology. He recalls his IEEE career and reminisces about [[Frederick Terman|Fred Terman]].
  
 
== About the Interview  ==
 
== About the Interview  ==
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Well, this sounds like a good place to stop. Thank you.  
 
Well, this sounds like a good place to stop. Thank you.  
  
[[Category:People_and_organizations|Oral-History:John Granger]] [[Category:Engineers|Oral-History:John Granger]] [[Category:Inventors|Oral-History:John Granger]] [[Category:Research_and_development_labs|Oral-History:John Granger]] [[Category:Culture_and_society|Oral-History:John Granger]] [[Category:Defense_&_security|Category:Defense_&_security]] [[Category:World_War_II|Oral-History:John Granger]] [[Category:International_affairs_&_development|Category:International_affairs_&_development]] [[Category:Law_&_government|Category:Law_&_government]] [[Category:Business,_management_&_industry|Category:Business,_management_&_industry]] [[Category:International_collaboration|Oral-History:John Granger]] [[Category:Fields,_waves_&_electromagnetics|Category:Fields,_waves_&_electromagnetics]] [[Category:Antennas|Oral-History:John Granger]] [[Category:Microwave_antennas|Oral-History:John Granger]] [[Category:Standardization|Oral-History:John Granger]] [[Category:Navigation|Oral-History:John Granger]] [[Category:Aircraft_navigation|Oral-History:John Granger]] [[Category:IEEE|Oral-History:John Granger]] [[Category:Governance|Oral-History:John Granger]] [[Category:Nominations,_elections_&_appointments|Category:Nominations,_elections_&_appointments]] [[Category:Staff|Oral-History:John Granger]] [[Category:History_&_heritage|Category:History_&_heritage]] [[Category:Transportation|Oral-History:John Granger]] [[Category:Aerospace_and_electronic_systems|Oral-History:John Granger]] [[Category:News|Oral-History:John Granger]]
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[[Category:People and organizations|John]] [[Category:Engineers|John]] [[Category:Inventors|John]] [[Category:Research and development labs|John]] [[Category:Culture and society|John]] [[Category:Defense & security|John]] [[Category:World War II|John]] [[Category:International affairs & development|John]] [[Category:Law & government|John]] [[Category:Business, management & industry|John]] [[Category:International collaboration|John]] [[Category:Fields, waves & electromagnetics|John]] [[Category:Antennas|John]] [[Category:Microwave antennas|John]] [[Category:Standardization|John]] [[Category:Navigation|John]] [[Category:Aircraft navigation|John]] [[Category:IEEE|John]] [[Category:Governance|John]] [[Category:Nominations, elections & appointments|John]] [[Category:Staff|John]] [[Category:History & heritage|John]] [[Category:Transportation|John]] [[Category:Aerospace and electronic systems|John]] [[Category:News|John]]

Revision as of 18:27, 28 March 2012

Contents

About John V. Granger

John V. Granger
John V. Granger

Dr. John Granger's childhood interest in radios and electronics led to his pioneering career in radio engineering. He obtained his B.A. from Cornell College and his Ph.D. in engineering science and applied physics from Harvard University. Granger worked at Harvard's Cruft Laboratory and began specializing in antennas. In 1942 he taught pre-radar school at Harvard and then transferred to the radio Research Lab. In 1944 he traveled to England to work in the American-British Laboratory and helped develop technology used in the Normandy Invasion. Granger received his Ph.D. in 1948 and went to work at the Stanford Research Institute, where he formed the Airborne Systems Laboratory. He also became the assistant director of engineering research and was directly responsible for research and development in areas such as antennas, microwave components and systems, advance communications techniques, aircraft navigation, and weapons systems planning and evaluation.

In 1956 Granger formed Granger Associates, which specialized in commercial applications of technology and had made many innovations in antennas and aviation-related products. Granger retired from his company and began advising the U.S. government on technological and scientific matters in 1971. He served as deputy director of the State Department's Bureau of International Science and Technology under the Nixon Administration. Subsequently he worked for the National Science Foundation and became the U.S. Counselor of Embassy for Science and Technology in Great Britain. Granger worked for a time in UNESCO and took up permanent residence in England. He has been an active member of IEEE since 1954 and erved as IEEE's president in 1970. He has written a book on politics and technology as well as many papers on aircraft antennas and airborne communications. He has also received many honors and awards.

The interview spans Granger's career, beginning with his childhood and covering several decades until his retirement from public service. Granger describes his Ph.D. work at Harvard and his role in the Stanford Research Institute. He explains his decisions to found and later to retire from Granger Associates, and describes that company's contributions to the aviation engineering field. Granger discusses in some detail his experiences working with the U.S. government in various scientific advisory capacities and evaluates the relationships between policy-making, science, and technology. He recalls his IEEE career and reminisces about Fred Terman.

About the Interview

John V. Granger: An Interview Conducted by William Aspray, IEEE History Center, September 20, 1993

Interview # 177 for the IEEE History Center, The Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, Inc.

Copyright Statement

This manuscript is being made available for research purposes only. All literary rights in the manuscript, including the right to publish, are reserved to the IEEE History Center. No part of the manuscript may be quoted for publication without the written permission of the Director of IEEE History Center.

Request for permission to quote for publication should be addressed to the IEEE History Center Oral History Program, 39 Union Street, New Brunswick, NJ 08901-8538 USA. It should include identification of the specific passages to be quoted, anticipated use of the passages, and identification of the user.

It is recommended that this oral history be cited as follows:

John V. Granger, an oral history conducted in 1993 by William Aspray, IEEE History Center, New Brunswick, NJ, USA.

Interview

Interview: John V. Granger

Interviewer: William Aspray

Place: Cirencester, England, United Kingdom.

Date: September 20, 1993

Background and Education

Aspray:

This is an interview on the 20th of September 1993. The interviewer is William Aspray. The interviewee is John Granger. It's taking place in Cirencester, England. [Pause]

Granger:

My technical education concluded with a Ph.D. in Engineering Science and Applied Physics from Harvard in 1948. In May of that year, the Bell Telephone Labs announced the invention of the transistor, and my entire technical education went out the window in one swoop. [Laughter]

Aspray:

Right. Do you want to go through your career for me, sort of from beginning to end? Maybe we can simply start by your telling me briefly what your parents did and what your early education was like.

Granger:

My father was a postmaster in a small town in Iowa. I got interested in wireless radio because a man from this small town had gone on to a job in the Bell Labs and had left behind him a lot of radio parts. Bits and pieces of telephones. Some of my friends and I got involved with that. Then Arthur Collins formed the Collins Radio Company, and this was just a few miles down the road. The surplus from their production line sustained my interest for quite a while. I did my undergraduate work in a liberal arts college in Iowa, Cornell College.

Aspray:

Oh, a good school!

Granger:

And went on to Harvard just before the war, 1941, to the Cruft Laboratory, which I knew as one of the few places with a strong program in radio engineering. It happened that there were Cornell College alumni there. One in particular was on the faculty at that time.

Aspray:

What was your undergraduate education? What was your major?

Granger:

Math and physics.

Aspray:

You were in applied physics at the Cruft Lab; is that right?

Granger:

Well, "communications engineering" was the name of the program in 1941. In those days the Cruft Laboratory, which was distinguishable physically by two massive radio towers, was a school, self-consciously, of radio engineering. By the time I got back there after the war, nothing further was said about either radio or even communications engineering. It was then called engineering science and applied physics, and that's what I got my Ph.D. in. I could have, because of my status as a prewar student, gone for a doctor of science degree in engineering. But that would have meant taking rotating machinery, and I passed that opportunity up. As it turned out, that would have been probably the most useful thing.

Aspray:

What was the nature of the coursework? What was the emphasis in your program that you did take?

Granger:

It was pretty much classical radio engineering, shaped by the fact that the war was starting and some of the faculty had already left for wartime jobs. Howard Aiken —

Aspray:

I know him well.

Granger:

— had gone with the Navy. Ted Hunt started the Underwater Sound Lab, and went to work on sonar. Those who remained were largely E. L. Chaffee, who was head of the department and had done his work in circuit theory of vacuum tubes; Ronald King, R. W. P. King, whose work was in antennas; and Harry Mimno, in radio propagation. I was most interested in what King was doing. That's what got me into the antenna specialization. But, you know, it was wartime. There was little opportunity for any of those people, even in 1941, to do updating of their course material, even though there was a lot of work going on and some of it was being published in the open literature. I must confess that I was so naive about not only the intellectual content of engineering physics and applied physics or applied engineering, whatever, but also about where it was done, that I'd never heard of Stanford University as a school teaching radio engineering until I went to work for Fred Terman. [Laughter]

Aspray:

I see.

Granger:

Subsequently, all of my career — so long as I stayed in engineering or related things — was tied in some way or another with Stanford.

Aspray:

This was when Terman came out East for the war work?

Granger:

Yes, when he came to Harvard to establish the Radio Research Lab. This was in 1942. When I got my master's degree in '42, I was shanghaied as a lab instructor in the pre-radar school which was just being started at Harvard, and I didn't care much for that. I heard about this new Radio Research Lab. So I sniffed around until I found someone I knew and got transferred over there in 1942.

Aspray:

What did you do there?

Granger:

Worked on antenna things. Also on receivers, search receivers and intercept receivers for electronic countermeasures. But increasingly on antennas as time went on. I went to England in January 1944. I came to England to work in the American-British Laboratory, which was an offshoot of the Harvard lab established over in Malvern S.L.C. in Worcestershire, next to the Telecommunications Research Establishment, which was the principal British radar lab. From that I worked mostly with U.S. Army Air Corps units and Bomber Command units, and the invasion fleet for D-Day on electronic things. Again, mostly antennas. After the liberation of Paris, I went to France in uniform, but still a civilian, and worked on similar things there, but in the field. I was invalided out back to England with some lung problem in April 1945, so that ended the war for me. I went back to Harvard, but because of my health not until the spring term of 1946.

Aspray:

Did your wartime experiences have any bearing on the direction your education took?

Granger:

Not really my education. Between the course requirements for a Ph.D. in engineering science and the fact that the curriculum still reflected the absence of some of the professors and so on, there wasn't much in the education — in the course work anyway — that was related to my interests. But I did my Ph.D. thesis with Ronald King on aircraft antennas, which I'd become involved with during the war.

Aspray:

You finished up I see here in '48. Is that right?

Granger:

That's right.

Airborne Systems Laboratory

Aspray:

What did you want to do with yourself after you got done with your degree? What were your intentions at the time?

Granger:

To find a paying job. I had gotten married, and we had a small child. Because of my illness and subsequently my wife's illness, I was broke, really broke. So I wasn't very choosy, and I didn't know a damned thing about employment opportunities. I hadn't considered it really. It happened that Harvard needed someone to run the laboratory end of their antenna research program, mostly keeping an eye on the janitor, and things of that kind. I became a research fellow at Harvard for a year and had that job. But in the meantime — or during that year — some of the people, who had been with the Office of Naval Research liaison at Harvard and MIT, were recruited to the Stanford Research Institute, which was just converting itself from its wartime job of looking for a rubber substitute into general-purpose applied research for industry. I went there in 1949, on Patriots' Day in 1949. You know Patriots' Day.

Aspray:

Yes. I lived in Boston.

Granger:

I was with SRI for seven years and then formed my own company.

Aspray:

At SRI what kinds of projects did you work on? What responsibilities did you have?

Granger:

I formed a group called the Airborne Systems Laboratory, and we worked largely on aircraft antenna and related systems problems. But then it began to expand into other things related to aircraft operations: development of structural materials with insulating properties, largely fiberglass and epoxy; problems of precipitation static on aircraft due to impacting of ice and snow particles on the air frame and the radio noise that that generated. We began to move more toward operations research and systems-related studies as well. My part of the organization grew. I guess it was half of the engineering division when I left and probably a fifth of the entire institute in terms of dollar revenues and staff.

Aspray:

What size staff would this be?

Granger:

About 250.

Aspray:

Oh, good-sized. And who was paying for this research?

Granger:

Well, we had a good many clients. Most of ours were military, the various military labs in Wright Field and up in Concord. No. Where was the airfield out at Boston where they had an electronics research laboratory (it was Bedford)? Anyway, they were an important sponsor. But also the Signal Corps and the Navy and various branches. And the aircraft companies themselves and some of the airlines.

Aspray:

Were you working as a research engineer? Or were you mainly a manager at this time?

Granger:

I did various researching things of my own, but increasingly I was responsible for recruiting staff and for establishing budgets and running the place.

Granger Associates

Aspray:

Okay. Why was it you decided to found your own company?

Granger:

Well, some of us began to feel that the product of SRI was paper; it was reports. While there was satisfaction in that, and customers found them sufficiently valuable to keep on buying, it lacked hands-on kind of involvement. There was no opportunity to make very much money. So with two of my colleagues — really three of them but the third one came from the business end of the organization — we formed Granger Associates, with the help of additional outside directors.

Aspray:

Who brought in capital?

Granger:

No. The company never in my time sold stock outside of the employees and directors group; it was always financed by the employees and owned by the employees. After we'd been in business about three years, the principal technical brains of the organization, John Bolljahn, who had stayed at SRI taking my job there by mutual agreement while I worked with getting the new company going, got ready to move to the new company. In his outgoing physical examination it turned out he had cancer, and he died a couple of years later. That meant, for a variety of reasons (sentimental, I suppose, as well as business reasons), that we had to remove the restriction on trading in the stock so that his holdings became available to his family as real assets, not just contingent assets. From there the company has always been publicly held until it was acquired by Digital Switch Corporation, or DSC Corporation it's now called. That was after I left, and I'm not certain of the date.

Aspray:

What were the intended businesses of your company?

Granger:

We wanted tangible products, that is, material products. And we wanted them to be of a commercial nature rather than a government contract nature, although we took and sought government contracts at the beginning simply because we had no other business. We very quickly got out of the R&D contract business and strictly into product development, financed by ourselves and selling the products on a catalog basis or on a bidding, fixed-price, supply contract basis.

Aspray:

And what were those products?

Granger:

A lot of it was antennas, almost entirely very large, ground-based, high-frequency, communications antennas, which we supplied and often installed all over the world — from Northern Ireland, I suppose, in the north, to the South Pole, literally, and certainly all the way around the earth. We established a subsidiary in England in 1964, and it supplied the Middle East and many of the former British colonies, as well as the British themselves. We subsequently had a subsidiary in Australia, but that one was not in the antenna business. It was in the single-side-band communication business of supplying radio equipment to the Outback. Granger Associates still makes big antennas. But gradually, even before I left, I pushed it in the direction of microwave communication systems. They are perhaps the largest supplier of what's called thin-line microwave. That is, microwave relay for up to twenty-four telephone channels. Not the great big high-volume stuff that is used by the telephone companies, but more used by things like offshore drilling or drilling in the desert or along railroads and right-of-ways and so on.

Another product area was aviation-related products, of which the principal one was the precipitation static discharger. I'm sure you're familiar with it. You see them sticking off the trailing edge of the wings of jet aircraft. They permit the static electricity buildup on the aircraft to discharge in the air and dissipate itself without creating radio noise. That was the result of a patent obtained by a man who was doing his Ph.D. research under my supervision at SRI. SRI, lacking a patent policy at that point, gave him the patent when it was issued, and Granger Associates acquired the exclusive license to it. That was a very valuable product. There were others in the aviation area, mostly safety-related, like beacons and things like that.

Aspray:

Just as an aside, did you have many students that you were working with?

Granger:

Not very many. But I suppose because I knew Terman, and while the university and SRI were never close, there were quite a few people on both sides that knew one another from wartime experience and so on. Stanford didn't have at that point, in the early 1950s, anyone who was really interested or experienced in antenna-related things. They had a lot of people in the radio propagation area. But not in antennas. So it became convenient for them to get supervisors for Ph.D. candidates who wanted to do research in that area over at SRI. Bolljahn and myself principally, but also I think others, (I can’t remember) had a number of students. I suppose I had half a dozen or eight. After a few years the development of the faculty at the university negated the need. But I was an adjunct associate professor at Stanford for a number of years.

Aspray:

Did any of your students have particularly distinguished careers?

Granger:

Well, I like to think that they all did. I don't know what they did. The fellow who authored that book about his father is one of them.

Aspray:

Philip Carter, Jr.

Granger:

Yes. He with some other man formed an electronics company in the Palo Alto area I don't know much about. Mostly these careers have happened since my time. When I left the engineering management field and went to the State Department as a diplomat, I lost track of a great deal of this.

Aspray:

Why did you decide to leave Granger Associates?

Granger:

I came to the conclusion that the company needed a different kind of management than I could provide. I didn't know enough about the business side of it. So I resigned. Mostly, I must say, my recognition came about because the banks recognized it first. So I left. The company continued to be successful. In fact, it grew. I suppose it must have been in the fifty million annual sales range at the time it was merged into DSC Corporation. It is still, I understand. Just this last week in California, two of the first employees of Granger Associates organized a reunion of the early employees, the first and probably the only one ever held. It was quite an affair. I learned then what I hadn't known, and that is that DSC Corporation, which acquired the company, stopped using the Granger Associates name in their annual reports after a few years and just treated it all as one activity. But in fact the old Granger Associates product lines and products are still being manufactured by one of their divisions, and are still called Granger Associates and marketed as Granger Associates. They are even using the same old model numbers that we assigned in the 1950's.

Aspray:

Boy, that's a real lasting technology, isn't it?

Granger:

Well, that was one of the things that interested me about the high-frequency communications business from the beginning. At the time we went into it, everybody was certain it was going to be superseded by satellite communications and all that sort of thing. I said, no. All that happens is it's pushed out to the periphery of the applications. It's like DC-3's, you know. They're all still flying, but they're not flying mainline airline routes. They're flying out on the edge, and the edge is bigger than the middle. There's a business opportunity there, so we deliberately went into what many people thought was a dying field. They're still doing significant development in this area, and still making very profitable sales.

Bureau of Intl. Science & Technology

Aspray:

I see. When you decided to leave Granger Associates, what did you want to do with your life?

Granger:

I had no idea. This happened in the year in which I had just commenced my term as the president of the IEEE, so I was able to avoid thinking about the problem by involving myself in the IEEE. I had no idea. It only came home to me then that I'd never looked for a job, not since I'd left high school — always the circumstances had pulled me into it. I had no idea how to go about looking for a job, and when I began to look at jobs in the electronics industry, I discovered that there were some nice jobs available out there but they weren't as good as the one I'd left. I decided I'd find something else. But in fact it found me, not the other way around. I was at a meeting, an IEEE meeting or a conference of some kind — at O'Hare Airport. It wasn't an open meeting. It was one associated with a regional structure. Anyway, I got word that someone wanted me on the telephone on a long-distance call, and I took it, and it was from Washington, D.C. It was a man I'd never heard of who said he was the director of the Bureau of International Science and Technology in the State Department. I'd never heard of that, had no notion that they had any such interest. He said he was looking for a deputy because his deputy had passed away, and would I be interested? I hemmed and hawed, and he said, "Your name was recommended by David Packard and Fred Terman." I said, "Oh, yes, I'll come and talk with you." And so I flew from O'Hare into Washington, and met Herman Pollock, a great man, now dead.

Aspray:

He was the director there?

Granger:

The director, yes. He was a career foreign service officer. I enjoyed those years with the State Department very much.

Aspray:

Now, what was the responsibility of this bureau?

Granger:

Almost anything that no one else wanted to be bothered with. Largely, I suppose, its distinction was that we were concerned with and responsible for dealing with the State Department's responsibilities in any area in which technical know-how and technical experience and technical judgment were important to adopting the right stance. We were involved in things like international cooperation in the development of space vehicles. We were not much involved in energy per se, because the AEC had its own international people whom we worked with. But we were very much involved in the control of the proliferation of nuclear weapons and nuclear materials. We were involved in international environmental interests; things that led to the Stockholm Conference. The American delegation was headed by our man, Christian Herter. What else? Let's see. It's hard to think of things that didn't come up one way or the other. We worked closely with the President's Science Advisor's staff, developing position papers with respect to international issues that required a government-wide position. We worked with the Defense people and so on.

Aspray:

So this was during the Nixon Administration?

Granger:

Yes. I went to the department in January of 1971. Let's see, Nixon was reelected for a second term that next year. But then because he didn't like the advice he was getting from his Science Advisory Committee, he abolished it. Ed David, who was a director of the IEEE at the time he was appointed the President's Science Advisor, resigned. The responsibility was shifted to — I'm sure the White House thought of it as a stop-gap, although they picked a very good man — Guy Stever, who was then the director of the National Science Foundation. Guy and I had known one another during the war in England; we'd worked together occasionally. So our bureau and the State Department began to work with that group and the NSF, and also people in the Office of Management and Budget. They, the OMB people did an awful lot for science and technology in our government in those years. Then the Congress got uneasy by the lack of a PSAC (Presidents Science Advisory Committee). So they adopted legislation over the protests of the White House to recreate the President's Science Advisory structure. By then, I guess, Gerry Ford was President. The Congress also independently had adopted legislation that created a legislated Bureau of International Environmental Scientific and Technological Affairs in the State Department to replace our old bureau, which had previously been an administrative creation, not a legislative one.

National Science Foundation

Aspray:

Let's me turn my tape over.

Granger:

Of course there's still another batch of legislation that created the Department of Energy and absorbed into it the Atomic Energy Commission. Dixie Lee Ray had been the chairman of AEC. In this shuffle she was left with nothing to do, so she became Assistant Secretary of State for International Environmental, Scientific and Technological Affairs. She had her own choice as deputy in mind, so I lasted about an hour after her inauguration in that position. Then shortly thereafter I went over to NSF to work for Stever in his role as Science Advisor. I was at that point Deputy Director of the Office of Science and Technology Policy, which was the staff of the Science Advisor. Then in time that was altered. Stever became the real Science Advisor, the legislated one, and that office moved out of NSF and back into the White House structure. Stever, as a last gasp effort in NSF, created a Directorate of Scientific, Technological, and International Affairs, everyone called it “STIA”. Because of my experience in the State Department, I became Deputy Assistant Director for that and finally acting Assistant Director. But then I got so fed up with Washington, and all these changes, and no one knowing what they were trying to do.

Counselor at London Embassy

Granger:

So I went back to my friends in the State Department and I said, "I know that the position of Counselor of Embassy for Science and Technology in London is vacant. Why don't you name me to that, and it would be a nice pre-retirement posting." And that happened.

Aspray:

Now what is the responsibility of that position?

Granger:

In the embassy?

Aspray:

Yes.

Granger:

To advise the ambassador and the other embassy officials in the political and economic area. Well, the way it usually works is that problems come up in, let's say arms control or proliferation of nuclear materials or something like that. In Washington that's fairly clean-cut nowadays. That's the responsibility of the Arms Control and Disarmament Agency, bolstered by the Energy Department. In the embassy, I mean, where does it belong? The Science Counselor provides a channel of communications with the Washington agencies involved, and on-the-spot response and expertise, and pedals the mail over to the counterpart agency in the British government, and generally tries to keep people happy and from going off half-cocked. It's fascinating; it changes every day; what's involved. It's different, I know, in every embassy because of a different situation; it's different with every ambassador because of different interests and needs — his, or nowadays, often hers.

Aspray:

Why England?

Granger:

Why England? Because I spoke something like the language. [Laughter] I had worked here during the war, and had many associations from the Granger Associates days, and so on, I knew a lot of people in the British government and in industry and the profession. I was a Fellow of the IEE. And not having French or Russian or Chinese, it seemed like the logical place.

Aspray:

Did you have a particular fondness for England as well?

Granger:

Oh, always, yes. From the wartime. My second wife is English. She was born in London. We met in California and knew one another for many years there. But she has family here, and that, of course, has broadened the foundation of my relationship with England.

UNESCO

Aspray:

I see from your curriculum vitae that you then moved over to UNESCO.

Granger:

Yes. I had a four-year assignment in London, with at the beginning an expectation that that would stretch my retirement. Because of the mandatory retirement at 65, I might be able to get a dispensation to go the extra year that would be involved. Well, then the Congress mucked up again and abolished the mandatory retirement. Suddenly there wasn't any inhibition to continuing on, and we could use the money. So I went back in. The same friends in Washington, some of whom had also moved from the State Department to NSF with me said, "Well, hold your horses. Your UNESCO job is vacant." So I went there for two and a half years. That was entirely different and quite rewarding.

Aspray:

What were your daily duties there?

Granger:

None.

Aspray:

None....

Granger:

I was the person in our very small permanent delegation — there were only, I think, seven professionals — who met with anyone in the Secretariat or one of the other national delegations to UNESCO who had something they wanted to discuss, argue, negotiate or convey in the science or technology area. But also because I was, in terms of grade level in the foreign service and in terms of age, the oldest, the most senior, I got a lot of other things, too, that had to do with personnel and housekeeping and so on. Helping the place go.

Aspray:

And how did you decide to leave that position?

Granger:

Oh, it wasn't me. It turned out — and it's coincidence, I assure you — it turned out that my resignation took effect on the day the United States withdrew from UNESCO. So the timing was perfect. There would have been real trouble if I'd tried to stay any longer. Besides, my wife's mother was living in Cirencester then, alone. She'd been widowed for a good many years. She was in her nineties, and we'd been coming over here to visit her. Since my wife and I had both been divorced, we had no home in the United States. That is, we didn't own a home in the United States. We saw this one, and we decided to buy it and be here with her. It worked out very well. We learned a lot about how real estate dealing works in the United Kingdom, but that's not part of your research.

Aspray:

So you've been here for ten years now.

Granger:

Yes.

Technology & International Relations

Aspray:

I notice that you've written a book, Technology and International Relations. Can you tell me what your objective was in writing that book, what you did in the book?

Granger:

I was trying to show politicians and career foreign servants and civil servants that because of the involvement of technology in some of these things — let's say an international agreement on cloud seeding — they can't just make a political decision and expect that to work, unless they're terribly lucky. They really need to understand at least the fundamentals of the technology and the science that's involved, and how that limits their options. I was also trying to show the people in mission agencies, like Defense and Atomic Energy and so on, and people in industry on the technical side, that there are matters of public policy, public interest, that limit their options, too. To be successful — in fact, to avoid starting another war or something — both sides really have to think these things through and inform one another, and make sure that each other is informed before they trot out and start telling people elsewhere (in their own government or their own industry or in another country), before they start laying down the law. They really need to understand what the law is trying to deal with and how far it can go. The book wasn't very successful because it isn't very well written. But it's one of the very few — well, at the time, perhaps, the only — book of that scope that was available. So as these largely seminar courses in graduate schools in the universities dealing with technology and public policy became popular — John Logston was a good friend at George Washington University — for their seminar things they needed something to read, something to tie it to print. So it sold a surprising number of copies on that basis. I don't know whether any of the intended audience ever actually read it. But there were quite a few graduate students.

Aspray:

I see. I also see here that you were a member of the U.S.-Japan Joint Commission for Scientific Cooperation. What was the purpose of this group, and how well did it succeed?

Granger:

Well, its purpose is lost in the fog of history. It was so even in my time. It was something that grew out of the Occupation and the MacArthur business as one of the efforts to establish relationships with Japan, recognized as a coming force in science and technology as in other areas. It established relationships where the prewar ones were just out of the question. These sort of things were set up. This was entirely government-to-government. But representation on it was given to individuals that might have been associated with mission agencies dealing with their counterparts. Or there were a few people, who because of their unusual background — fluency in Japanese on the part of Americans is not —

Aspray:

It's not common, right.

Granger:

Were helpful. It was conducted, then, in a certain formal tea-ceremony manner in which the Japanese like to conduct such relationships. It meets, I think, every three years, or something like that. I've really only attended two meetings, one in Japan and one in the U.S. In the time I was in the State Department, that's all there were.

Aspray:

Do you think this had any good benefit?

Granger:

Probably, in that it was one of the avenues of communications by which the people in the mission agencies of government on both sides learned that there were people like them who had similar interests and similar experiences and so on, facing similar problems on the other side. It came at a time when rebuilding self-esteem in Japan and getting Americans out of the mood of thinking of the Japanese as some kind of monkeys was important. In a practical way undoubtedly it led to other forms of cooperation — informal cooperation perhaps mostly — between groups in these agencies on their respective sides. I can't remember the name of it, but a very large catchall Japanese applied science agency reflects some of those in its structure, reflects some of those early exchanges in the relationships that were created. The position of Counselor for Science and Technology in the American Embassy in Japan became a very important one, and a very busy one. The staff there had to be ultimately quite large. It's probably the busiest of the Science Counselors anywhere.

Most Significant Accomplishments

Aspray:

Looking back on your career, what would you say were your most significant technical accomplishments?

Granger:

I didn't have any.

Aspray:

You didn't have any?

Granger:

Let's put it this way: When I look back on it, in that area, the most satisfactory recollections — satisfactory to me — that I have, have to do with prodding other people into doing things that turned out to be very worthwhile. And that's about it.

Aspray:

I see. And if I open that question up wider and take out the word "technical," and you look at your career in government as well as in industry, what do you see as the things you're most proud of, most fulfilled by?

Granger:

Well, I don't know. I tell you, attending last week's reunion after twenty-seven years, with people I had worked with in the early days at Granger Associates, certainly made me very conscious of the rewards that I received emotionally from my relationships with those people, and working together in trying to make a success of the company. Some of the things the company did were very good. No one else ever succeeded — or so far has not succeeded — in competing with some of them, and that's very good. On the other hand, again, I got a lot of satisfaction out of government because my father was a postmaster, as I mentioned, in a town small enough that he could to come home to lunch everyday. He'd say, "Son, don't ever get mixed up with the government." He'd start in about all these problems he had to deal with. I was prepared to believe that the government had a lot of clunks in it, and it does. And a lot of people who are motivated by shallow motivations. But it also has a lot of very fine people, and it was a great privilege to get to know those people, to work with them, and to find that they found my interest and willingness to help worthwhile.

IEEE Career

Aspray:

Let's talk about your IEEE career for a few minutes.

Granger:

Yes.

Aspray:

When did you join?

Granger:

I joined as a student in 1942.

Aspray:

And then became an associate or a full member after you graduated, I assume.

Granger:

Yes. Well, of course it was all sort of obscured by the intervention of the war years there. In all those moves in membership status in which the member has a choice I pressed it along.

Aspray:

Did you become an active volunteer soon after you started professional career?

Granger:

Well, no. I don't know when I started my professional career, again, because of the war. But in the SRI years I began to get involved, first in the local section, but then very quickly with WESCON. Actually it was so quickly that I never did anything except attend section meetings, as far as the section was concerned. But I became a director of WESCON quite early. Then came the IRE-AIEE merger, and I got involved in that. It should be a lesson — it wasn't to me — but it should be to others. I wrote a letter to the editor in which I protested what was going on. I said that the AIEE was nothing, and we shouldn't pool with them. I had various judgments of that kind to offer. And the upshot of that — Well, I guess the first thing that happened was that the first president of the IEEE — from Texas Instruments —

Aspray:

Oh, the first president was from Polytechnic, Ernst Weber.

Granger:

No.

Aspray:

No?

Granger:

No. Oh, what's his name? Pat Haggerty.

Aspray:

Oh, yes. I know of Pat Haggerty.

Granger:

He invited me, along with some other protestors, down to Dallas to meet with him and talk about this. I don't know if anybody convinced anybody else, but it was a good and worthwhile thing, a very pleasant thing. The next thing I knew, they were putting together the first interim sort of structure, and I was on their Technical Activities Board. Then I got on the Board of Directors, I think, as Treasurer. Then I was off for a year and then back on as Vice President. Then I was nominated for the president's job, which flattered me greatly. It was a mistake. I shouldn't have agreed to it because I couldn't do also my job at Granger Associates, with which I was having difficulty anyway. I couldn't do it well and do the IEEE job well at the same time.

Aspray:

It's a big job.

Granger:

Oh, yes.

IEEE Presidency

Aspray:

What were the issues that you faced during your year as president?

Granger:

When I think back on it, there were two: One was the question of classified meetings. IEEE was being named as a sponsor of some sessions, or even whole meetings, that were classified and therefore had restricted attendance. I was one of those who took the position that we had no right to use the IEEE to restrict any of its members from attending its meetings, and that we couldn't do that. Well, an impassioned difference of opinion lingered there for a number of years. My other concern was the international aspect, the international structure, of the IEEE and its relationships with other professional societies abroad. After my time, separating the U.S. activity and the international activity, and adopting certain policies with respect to classified sessions and so on, I think dealt with those concerns pretty well. I had a pet hobbyhorse, too. Karl Willenbrock, who was President I guess the year before I, he and I had been in graduate school together at Harvard, and we were very good friends. He was big on computerized information systems, and he wanted to develop computerized systems for document identification, document retrieval, and so on, and apply those to all of the IEEE publications, including all the group publications. I objected to that. I said I thought it was busy-work. I mean, what were they going to do about "bridge,", for example? Were they going to restrict the meaning of that term to a card game, or to a structure across a stream, or to an electrical measuring instrument, or just what? The language did not adapt itself to this kind of thing. Until it did, there wasn't any point. In fact, as far as I know, the only success then, and perhaps it's still true, was with the chemists. But of course chemical formulae and the designation of chemical compounds and so on, as a structure, cleaned out a lot of those ambiguities right from the beginning.

Aspray:

Who was the general manager during your term?

Granger:

Don Fink.

Aspray:

Don Fink.

Granger:

He was the first general manager of IEEE, and he was still General Manager at the time of my involvement. And Bill Keys was the financial administrative guy. I guess he left.

Aspray:

I don't know him. I know Fink, certainly.

Granger:

Woody Gannett of course was a very important figure, although he's a very modest kind of guy, a low-keyed sort of fellow. You wouldn't have known he carried the responsibility or the authority that he had, but he certainly did well.

Aspray:

What can you tell me about Fink as a general manager? How could you characterize him for me?

Granger:

Forceful, intelligent. It was a struggle, I think, for Don not to tell the elected amateurs when they were on the wrong tack. But he handled it extremely well. Don is a really first-class guy in every respect. He had a technical career, and it was distinguished. His name was very well known from his books. I think he was an ideal choice.

Aspray:

Now, did you serve on the board with Eric Herz during this period?

Granger:

I knew him, yes. But I'm not sure we were on the Board together. I'm not certain. Maybe after I'd been President when I was winding down those last two years; it's possible he was on the Board then. But certainly I met him because of his involvement with some of the other related activities, some of the regional activities. I don't know that I would know him. He certainly wouldn't know me if we encountered each other.

Aspray:

I see. I was curious to get a reading of him from earlier in his career, before he became General Manager.

Granger:

Going back a long time, his name was known to a lot of people. Then there was Mac Van Valkenberg.

Aspray:

I don't know him.

Granger:

He was one of the heroes of the IEEE, in my opinion. The Vice- President of Publications, I think, was his highest elective office. Maybe he didn't want to be President. But Van Valkenberg is an intellectually and technically a very outstanding person. He's Dean of Engineering Emeritus at the University of Illinois now, but he got his Ph.D. at Stanford. He had an awful lot to do with shaping the whole publications structure of the IEEE as it stands now, and in lots of other ways, too. A very mature, thoughtful person. He did a lot.

Aspray:

Did you feel you could get things accomplished in the year's time of being President?

Granger:

Well, no. But then I never thought of it in terms of deadlines. I don't believe, at least as the IEEE was structured in those days, that any individual elected to any position in the IEEE could hope to carry through his or her ideas, ambitions, and goals alone. Obviously it's not that kind of an organization. That means talking in terms of one year or whatever doesn't signify. I think one of the things that happens in the organization, inevitably but not always consciously, is that one of the major roles of directors and officers is to identify and bring along people who will someday be directors and officers and get them involved. I'm not talking about nepotism. I'm just talking about seed corn. I think that's perhaps the most important role of elected people in the IEEE. For that matter many of the staff in their capacity, have done so.

Current Connection to IEEE

Aspray:

What changes do you see today in the IEEE compared to that period in the early 1970s?

Granger:

I don't see the IEEE today. Well, that's not true. I get three publications: I get Spectrum, of course; I get the news bulletin of the old codgers, whatever that's called.

Aspray:

Life Members Newsletter?

Granger:

Yes. And of course I get the tabloid that comes with the Spectrum.

Aspray:

Institute.

Granger:

I think the pictures in Spectrum are beautiful. I enjoy them very much. I don't attempt to read it. There's very little about diplomacy or government policy in there, and technically it doesn't mean anything to me. The issues don't mean anything to me anymore, either. I live here. It's the only contact I have with that part of U.S. life, and that's not enough to put it in any perspective. My younger son has a company of his own, and they do computer software and systems development. He asked me if I've read this or that, or do I know about this or that? And I say, "Son, the only thing I read in the IEEE publications is the obituary columns, because that's what I can understand." [Laughter] I read them, unfortunately, with increasing familiarity. A lot of my friends and colleagues are gone. I was seventy-five on Monday, so I feel.... There clearly are major forces, factors, at work in today's IEEE which I don't understand at all. I know nothing of what led to their development. I don't comprehend how people divide on them, you know, why they're motivated to particular things.

I suppose the biggest thing about today's IEEE from my standpoint is that it's clearly a success. In my day, you know, right after the IRE-AIEE merger, there were real questions about whether it would succeed, whether this publications program, with all of these things, could be pulled off or would collapse of its own weight, or prove to be amateurish, or whatever. There were a lot of problems. But now it's a success. No one can deny that or question that at all.

IRE/AIEE Merger

Aspray:

Do you want to go back and tell me a little about those opinions you held about the merger before it took place, or at the time it was about to take place?

Granger:

Oh, they were very amateurish. I think the general thing that troubled me was the feeling that the rush of new technology that had come with the war years was going to be enormously difficult for an organization like the IRE was, then, to cope with, with its structure and its financing and all the rest. Taking on the AIEE didn't look to me like it was going to advance that thing. Of course AIEE had the same problems, but I wasn't aware of that. They had them in reverse. Their field of interest was narrowing, whereas IRE was widening. So if we merged, the IRE would be the dominant group in terms of membership, in terms of the wave of the future. And so on. And we don't know one another. Why take on that sort of thing? There are, I expect, unreconstructed former AIEE people in the IEEE even today, as I know there are unreconstructed former IRE people in there. But they talk to one another now. They certainly accept one another as having legitimate interests and co-interests. I think it's been a very positive thing. I think it's been, in large measure, due to the insight and the hard work of people like Pat Haggerty and Ernst Weber and Don Fink, and a lot of others.

Fred Terman

Aspray:

Changing topics rather strikingly, what can you tell me about Fred Terman as a scientist, as an administrator, as a person?

Granger:

He's great. I don't think Fred ever thought of himself as a scientist. He was a radio ham back in the spark days. His father was, as you probably know, a very distinguished educator. He developed the IQ test, the Stanford-Binet. Fred grew up on the Stanford campus. He got his Ph.D. — or his D.Sc., I think it was — at MIT, and went back to Stanford and taught there the rest of his life except for the war years. He had an enormous influence on a large number of people, of whom a surprisingly high proportion turned out to be very successful and very influential in their own ways. Dave Packard and Bill Hewlett are the two best-known. Russ Varian was there, too. There were lots of others. Fred had a great deal of influence on the development of Stanford University as such.

At the end of World War II, Stanford was a relatively small university, stuck with provisions in its benefactors' wills that they had to have four men for each woman. You couldn't have more than one woman for each four men. Stuck with thousands of acres of valuable land which they couldn't sell, and which they didn't know to exploit. The situation required-and received- a lot of imaginative thinking, but Fred didn't do all that. But Fred was in there pushing and was an important influence all the way. Furthermore, he was one of the forces that led to the creation of TIAA-CREF and to the character that it has, particularly the CREF side of it. When that proposal came up — to invest trust funds in equities — it was regarded as somehow not sure enough for academicians. Fred was one of the ones who convinced them. So I think you all owe him a debt in that regard.

Fred's big interest in life — certainly not his sole interest in life, but his biggest interest in life — was his students. I never heard Fred lecture as a teacher. But his books must have reflected his teaching. It's hard to think of any individual in any field whose series of textbooks are so comprehensive and so useful, so free of the chaff that so often gets into the best of textbooks. He was deeply interested in everyone who'd ever been a student of his. I was never a student of his, but he was interested in me because I'd been a quasi-student. I'd worked for him during the war. Fred was interested in Granger Associates right from the beginning, as he was interested in what I was doing at SRI. He came on the board of Granger Associates quite early. He was not one of the original incorporators, but within a couple of years, he was a very valuable board member until his death. He was a very low-keyed kind of guy. He shared with J. H. Van Vleck a characteristic which always amused me, and which at the same time I've personally perceived in many, many, many other people that have received a great deal of personal satisfaction. You haven't seen them for six months, and you run into them down at the Texaco Station, and they start in on a conversation without any preliminaries. No "How are you" or anything. Just start in on the conversation. When you get synchronized, you realize it's the conversation you were having the last time you saw them. They've been thinking about it in the meantime, and on they go.

Fred was a great conversationalist. Fred was a terrible automobile driver. I think it's only by the grace of God that he died a natural death and not at the wheel of a car. He ignored first and second gear, you know. Every car was like a Model-T Ford as far as he was concerned. It either went forward or it went in reverse. He'd been driving, and he'd start talking with you. Oh, my. California traffic especially. I loved Fred Terman. A great man.

Aspray:

I've heard that from lots of people.

Granger:

Yes. He got interested in my younger son. Fred's wife, Sybil, was a protégé of Fred's father and did her Ph.D. with Fred's father. They were both very interested in primary education. They got interested in my younger son when he was about six or seven years old. He was a real problem. It was clear he was very bright, but he had a totally undisciplined mind. He never did finish college. He's like that mathematical theorem where you proceed half the distance to your goal at all times, and you end up never getting there. But his academic knowledge of his field is exceptional. I think Fred could see that from the very beginning. He was as frustrated as I was.

Aspray:

Did Terman have particular interests outside of work? Hobbies? Reading? Or travel, things like that?

Granger:

Not that I'm aware of, no. He probably did, but I'm not aware of them. He was fully committed to his academic responsibility, and to the responsibilities that he undertook toward his students in their careers, to companies that he got involved with as a director, was a fully committed person.

I'm still bedazzled by how I happened to be selected for this treatment, being recognized as a former president of the IEEE. But there are a lot of those.

Aspray:

Yes, but nonetheless....

William Hewlett and Dave Packard

Granger:

As far as the history of electrical engineering is concerned, I played no role in it whatsoever. But thinking about it after receiving your letter, it's amazing. When I think back at how many people I knew, one way or another, did have something important to do with it. I knew, of course, Bill Hewlett and Dave Packard very well. Dave also was a director of Granger Associates for a number of years, until he went to Washington. Dave was an immense help to me then, and Bill was when I was at SRI. Those are really two very fine men, but entirely different in personality.

Aspray:

In what way?

Granger:

Well, Dave —

Aspray:

I don't know either of them.

Granger:

Dave is a very big man. He was an All-American potential football player at Stanford. He's rather quiet, but very forceful and direct when he talks. He's very analytical in looking at you and thinking. Bill is much more easy-going on the face of it, an open kind of person. I think they made a decision between them some way that Bill would focus on the technical side, and Dave on the business development side. Although, when Dave went to Washington as Deputy Secretary of Defense, and Bill took over as Chief Executive, Bill didn't want to give up being Chief Executive when Dave came back — and he didn't, in fact. They were so different. Yet you could ask of either of them a question on any matter, any important matter, and you'd be sure that the answer you got reflected the feeling of the other one as well. I mean they understood one another perfectly. It was really wonderful. Very good friends.

Packard’s new book, The HP Way, is an absorbing account of their relationship and the company they created.

Aspray:

Well, this sounds like a good place to stop. Thank you.