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University of Arizona
888 N. Euclid Ave. Room 413
Tucson, Arizona 85721
The University of Arizona is one of the nation's leading public universities, with a long history of academic excellence, research innovation and a student-centered approach. A member of the prestigious Association of American Universities, the UA is rank... more
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Green Valley News & Sun
Edward Keonjian, 90passed away Sept. 6, 1999, from a ruptured artery.A distinguished professor in residence at the University of Arizona, Keonjian and eight other engineers from GE published ÒPrinciples of Transistor CircuitsÓ in 1953.It was the first book on transistors, and it became an instant best seller among engineers.Keonjian was an early leader in the field of low-power electronics, and in 1954 designed the worldÕs first solar-powered, pocket-sized radio transmitter.The transmitter now is on display at the Smithsonian Museum of American History.He was born to a large Armenian family in Tiflis, Georgia, in czarist Russia, and went on to live a life that rivaled an adventure novel for excitement and last-minute escapes.Keonjian earned a doctoral degree in electrical engineering from Leningrad (now St. Petersburg) Institute of Electrical Engineering in 1932, and just a few years later was one of the millions of Russians swept into the vortex of World War II.He survived the siege of LeningradÑat one point being left for dead in a mass graveÑand later escaped with his wife and son from a German slave labor camp.Through persistence and determination, Keonjian secured a visa for himself and his family after the war, and came to the United States in 1947, penniless, already middle-aged, and unable to speak English.His prospects werenÕt any better than many other displaced persons who had to work at jobs far below their abilities after losing everything in the war.But Keonjian refused to give up.Through bulldog determination, he learned English, pursued his career and became a successful electrical engineer.He had more than 100 publications and 27 U.S. and foreign patents.One of the books Keonjian edited and co-authored, ÒMicroelectronics : Theory, Design, and Fabrication, Ó sold more than one million copies worldwide and has been translated into six languages since it was first published in 1963.While employed by Grumman Aircraft, he worked with Neil Armstrong as chief of failure analysis on the Apollo 11 project.He also spent several years in India and Egypt working as an electronics specialist for the United Nations.Keonjian was a fellow of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, won the Distinguished Colleague Award from the Aerospace Industries Association (AIA), and was a member of the New York Academy of Science.He was an avid traveler and a member of the ExplorerÕs Club, the Circumnavigators Club, and the Archaeological Institute of America.In 1997 he chronicled his life story in his autobiography, ÒSurvived to Tell.Ó.Keonjian moved to Green Valley in 1993 from Great Neck, N.Y. In 1998, he and his wife established the Edward and Maria Keonjian Chair in Microelectronics at the University of Arizona.Survivors include : his wife, Maria ; children Edward Keonjian, Jr. of Portland, Ore. ; Mikael Safarian of N.J. ; Asya Almonte of N.Y. ; and four granddaughters.
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