Alumni Hall of Fame 2004 | SRI International

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Alumni Hall of Fame 2004

Charles A. (Capp) Spindt

Somewhere between the cathode-ray tubes (CRTs) so common in electronic displays and the solid-state circuits that drive them lies the technology of vacuum microelectronics. Here arrays of extremely small charged-particle emitters are housed in thin vacuum chambers to perform many electronic functions. Central to these devices are tiny cone-shaped cathodes, so sharp that the energy required to emit electrons from their tips is very small and the emitting process is called field or cold cathode emission. This technology was invented at SRI over 40 years ago, and the world has no better expert or practitioner in this field than Capp Spindt. In fact, these small emitters are known everywhere as "Spindt cathodes."

Spindt joined SRI in 1959 and in 1966, he invented and developed processes for microfabricating gated arrays of field-emission cathode tips. These very efficient, cold cathodes have been the enabling technology for a new technical field dedicated to applying microfabrication techniques to vacuum devices and for a rekindled interest in vacuum devices within the scientific community. Spindt cathodes are used for flat-panel displays of incredible brightness, in microwave amplifiers, in electron-beam etching in the building of integrated circuits, and for many space applications. Spindt also championed the efforts to develop microfabricated field ionization sources, which have been used as the ionization source for nonfragmenting mass spectrometry of large molecular-weight compounds and can be used in diverse applications ranging from spacecraft propulsion to biomedical analytic instrumentation.

As the world discovered the Spindt cathode’s utility, Spindt helped found the ongoing worldwide conferences on vacuum microelectronics that this year will see its 17th annual meeting. He contributes to world understanding of vacuum micro- electronics by many positions on committees and editorial boards as well as by delivering invited lectures all over the world. In 1990, he received his Ph.D. and in 1992, he was honored as an SRI Fellow. In 1996, the Society for Information Displays awarded Spindt the Jan Rajchman Prize for inventing and developing field-emission flat-panel displays using micro-tip structures.

Capp Spindt’s legacy to SRI is this broadly useful technology -- the subject of active SRI projects -- as well as his continuing contribution to world understanding of vacuum microelectronics.

Robert Stewart

Robert F. Stewart was an innovator in the field of business planning. Under his leadership, from early 1962 and extending into much of the 1970s, SRI developed a broadly applicable framework for formal organizational planning. The method has been widely and successfully used to align a corporation’s various developmental and operational units with its overall strategic directions.

SRI’s first foray into this field came in 1962 with the formation of a group under SRI’s Long Range Planning Service (LRPS) called TAPP, for the Theory and Practice of Planning. Stewart, who had developed some ideas on corporate planning at Lockheed, joined SRI that same year to lead the new group. He then initiated an important series of LRPS reports on planning. This series distilled into what came to be known as the SRI System of Plans that became widely copied and adapted in corporate circles.

These SRI contributions to new methods for corporate planning began in response to requests from LRPS clients who were pleased with SRI’s information on what to plan for but wanted help in knowing how to plan. As principal author of the LRPS planning reports and of the planning framework itself, Stewart influenced a wide range of executives in the world’s major corporations. The reports were often supplemented by week-long seminars, sponsored by the corporate attendees and conducted in both the United States and Europe. Led by Stewart and including SRI colleagues such as Al Humphrey, Manuel Sotomayor, Bill Royce, Carl Spetzler, Joe McPherson, plus other SRI and guest speakers, some 35 such seminars attracted over 500 different companies between 1965 to 1971.

Incidentally, the first printed use of "stakeholders" appeared in one of Stewart’s reports, entitled "The Strategic Plan" dated April 1963. This term for a person who has a natural interest in the results of an enterprise caught on and has been widely used both within the business community and elsewhere.

Thus, Robert Stewart contributions to organizational planning played a major role in developing SRI’s commercial business and in enhancing SRI’s reputation worldwide.

Shigeyoshi Takaoka

Shigeyoshi Takaoka, generally called Tak, built SRI’s business in Asia in the 1970s and created for SRI a legacy of long-running contracts and client good will that continue to this day.

Takaoka joined SRI in 1966 as a senior chemical engineer working on projects for the Chemical Economics Handbook in Menlo Park. In 1974, he was transferred to the SRI Tokyo Office, and in 1976 he was promoted to the position of Director, SRI International East Asia. He served in this position for ten years. During the years of his management of SRI East Asia, Takaoka’s ability to grow and develop SRI business was really outstanding. When he came to SRI’s Tokyo office, the number of staff was only two or three; when he left, it was more than thirty. The annual sales grew from $2 million in the beginning year of his activity to more than $20 million in his last year. During this period, the office was moved from a floor in a building owned by Nomura to a floor in the Imperial Towers, a building owned by the Imperial Hotel. This move helped to increase the status and reputation of SRI in Japan.

Examples of Japanese companies that became long term SRI clients include Osaka Gas, Isuzu, Sharp, and Toshiba. Japanese government agencies included NEDO and AIST. These working relationships lasted for many years with contracts being renewed year after year. Some of the relationships are still active to the present day.

Takaoka was very skillful in managing the team of SRI Japan. He actively encouraged the working activity of his team through his business leadership. He also activated people’s feelings through many recreational events such as golf and tennis tournaments. These events created a family-like teamwork throughout the office, bringing about the excellent business performance of SRI East Asia.

Takaoka’s excellent leadership has given SRI a strong position in Japan and continuing revenue and client good will throughout Asia.

Masato Tanabe

Masato (Mas) Tanabe is a world-renowned scientist. He was recognized as an SRI Fellow in 1984 for his innovations in steroid hormone therapeutics. He also helped develop SRI’s long-term and beneficial relationships with the Japanese pharmaceutical industry.

Tanabe was program manager of Steroid Chemistry group, then director of SRI's Bio-Organic Chemistry Laboratory for much of his career, and later the director of SRI's Pharmaceutical Chemistry group. He devoted 45 years to the study of steroid hormones. Because of the outstanding talent of this group and Tanabe’s leadership, many outstanding contributions to excellent steroid chemistry and drug development were made at SRI. The culmination of this work is the successful development of the drug SR 16234 to be used in the treatment of breast cancer. The goal in developing this drug was to create a very tissue-selective estrogen that would act like an anti-estrogen in the breast and uterus but would appear as normal estrogen to bones and other responsive tissue. The drug can be taken orally, thus substantially lowering the cost of administration. The drug, licensed to Taiho Pharmaceutical Co., Tokyo, has already successfully completed Phase I trials, is finishing Phase II, and has the potential to become a very effective drug against breast cancer. During the past six years of development, Tanabe has been the "Drug Champion" of SR 16234.

Tanabe visited Japan and promoted SRI business there for many years, establishing a strong reputation for SRI as well as his own steroid program. He fostered extensive postdoctoral and international fellowships at SRI in which he trained many Japanese scientists. These students then became very distinguished in their own right as worldwide experts in steroids and in the biosynthesis of natural products. In 2001, Tanabe was awarded the Japanese Pharmaceutical Society’s Distinguished Service Award for a long history of helping Japanese academic scientists and companies in the chemical and pharmaceutical fields. In particular, the award recognized his dedication to the scientific exchange represented by the 45 scientists who have come to SRI to study under him. He is the first person outside of Japan to win this honor.

Mas Tanabe leaves SRI a legacy of enormous advances in steroid chemistry and drug development -- representing a robust portfolio of high-value intellectual property -- as well the strong relationship SRI enjoys with the Japanese pharmaceutical industry because of his research and the many students he nurtured.