Jones, Richard W. (Richard Ward), 1904-1987
Richard Ward Jones was born on May 9, 1904, in St. Paul, Minnesota. He took a B.S. degree in electrical engineering from the University of Minnesota in 1926. Afterwards, Jones worked for ten years in divisions of Westinghouse Electric in East Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and in Chicago. During this period of employment he designed elevator control and signal systems. Jones held several patents related to this work.
From 1937 through 1941 Jones served as an instructor and then assistant professor of mathematics and engineering science at Central YMCA College in Chicago. While teaching he continued his formal education and in 1941 took a master's degree in physics from Northwestern University. Jones' thesis topic was "Discharge Across Very Small Gaps." Beginning in 1942 Jones held a series of academic appointments in electrical engineering at Northwestern: assistant professor (1942-1946), associate professor (1946-1951), and professor (1951-1971). From 1969 through 1971 he held a joint appointment in electrical engineering and biological sciences. Jones retired from the Northwestern faculty in 1971 and was named emeritus professor.
Jones was a pioneer in the study of biomedical engineering and his work was instrumental in Northwestern's development of a leading department in the field. His research specialties included respiration, hearing, and vision. In 1948 he figured prominently in the development of the control systems laboratory at Northwestern and, under his direction, Northwestern's Technological Institute created a computer application to solve complex equations in designing control systems.
In addition to several published articles and unpublished papers Jones was the author of two books: Electric Control Systems (New York: Wiley, 1953) and Principles of Biological Regulations: an Introduction to Feedback Systems (New York: Academic Press, 1973). He was a member of several professional organizations including the American Institute of Electrical Engineers, the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, the American Physical Society, the Optical Society of America, the Society of General Systems Research, the Philosophy of Science Association, the American Association for Advancement of Sciences, Sigma Xi, Eta Kappa Nu, and Tau Beta Pi. In 1983 Northwestern University named him a recipient of its Alumni Merit Award.
Jones married Dr. Miriam Dorothy Eubank in 1938. The couple had three children: R. Mahlon, Lawrence Gurdon, and Judith May. Jones died in Fort Meyers, Florida, on February 26, 1987.