SCARBOROUGH -- Dr. Gordon Raisbeck, a mathematician and researcher, died June 15, 2009, in Scarborough. He was 84.
Dr. Raisbeck was born in New York City in 1925. He attended Trinity School in New York, then Stanford University, where he received his BA in mathematics in 1944. He then served as an officer in the Navy, doing radar research at MIT and in Hawaii. In 1947 and 1948 Dr. Raisbeck studied at Oxford as a Rhodes Scholar. He received his Ph.D. in mathematics from MIT in 1949 with the thesis 'Simultaneous Diophantine approximation.'
In 1948 he married Barbara Wiener and they settled in New Jersey, later moving to Lexington, Mass., and finally to Portland.
Dr. Raisbeck believed strongly that mathematics was at its best when applied to real world problems, and pursued this course throughout his life. His career began in 1949 at the Bell Telephone Laboratories in Murray Hill, N.J., where he worked in a number of areas, including transmission line development, operations research, transistors circuit analysis, solar batteries, and acoustics. In 1959 and 1960 he spent time in Washington at the Advanced Research Projects Agency (ARPA.)
In 1961 Dr. Raisbeck joined Arthur D. Little, Inc. in Cambridge, Mass. While there he delved into topics as diverse as underwater sound, air traffic control, and the management of innovation. In 1963 he authored the book 'Information Theory, an Introduction for Scientists and Engineers.' In the course of his career he published 35 papers and received 20 patents.
Dr. Raisbeck was a fellow of the IEEE and of the Acoustic Society of America, the 1992 Distinguished Service Award winner of the Oceanic Engineering Society, and a member of the Mathematical Association of America. He enjoyed chess; as a youth he was schoolboy chess champion of New York City. He was also an avid sailor. But his favorite pastime was playing chamber music, and he was an accomplished amateur violist.
Dr. Raisbeck leaves his wife Barbara; their five children, Michael Raisbeck of Chelmsford, Mass., Lucy Trombley of Grand Isle, Vt., Alison Lanman of Scarborough, Timothy Raisbeck of Burlington, Vt., and James Raisbeck of Acton, Mass.; 12 grandchildren; and three and a half great-grandchildren.
A memorial service will be held at St. Lukes Cathedral in Portland on Wednesday, June 17 at 2 p.m.
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Published in Portland Press Herald/Maine Sunday Telegram on June 17, 2009