Norris Nahman

Norris Stanley Nahman

Monday, November 9th, 1925 - Friday, September 6th, 2019
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Dr. Norris S. Nahman, age 93, passed away on Friday, September 6, 2019. Dr. Nahman was born in San Francisco, CA on November 9, 1925 to parents Hyman Cohen Nahman and Rae Levine Nahman. After the early death of his mother in 1930, “Aunt Alice”, a live-in housekeeper, became his surrogate mother and helped raise him to adulthood. Following High School at Lowell High School in San Francisco, he entered the U.S. Merchant Marine where he served from 1943 to 1946 attaining the rank of Chief Electrician. He received a BS degree in electronic engineering from California State Polytechnic College (San Luis Obispo) in 1951; the MS degree in electrical engineering from Stanford University in 1952, and the PhD degree in electrical engineering with a formal minor in physics from the University of Kansas in 1961. During the summer of 1962, he was a participant in the Ford Foundation Experimental Solid-State Physics Program at Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

His professional experience began with employment as a communications equipment development engineer with the Robert Dollar Co., San Francisco (summers 1950-51). Later he was employed by the San Francisco Naval Shipyard as an electronics engineer. In late 1952 Professor Nahman entered active Army service where he served until 1955 as an electronic scientist assigned to the National Security Agency, Washington, D.C. His research work was concerned with semi-conductor devices, square loop hysteresis materials, and nanosecond techniques.

From 1955 to 1966, Dr. Nahman was a staff member of the University of Kansas electrical engineering department, where he ultimately served as a full professor and director of the electronics research laboratory. He was also the trustee of the University of Kansas amateur Radio Station and the faculty advisor to the University’s Radio Club. From January ’56 to July ’64 he served as the principle investigator on Project JAYHAWK, a research program devoted to the instrumentation and study of a nanosecond phenomena in electrical systems and devices. He also served as chairman of the department’s graduate studies committee from which evolved a strong graduate advising program.

In 1966 he was jointly offered the prestigious position of Scientific Consultant to the Radio Standard Laboratory Engineering Division of the National Bureau of Standards, Boulder, Colorado, and a professorship in electrical engineering, University of Colorado, Boulder. In addition to his consulting and teaching duties, he personally directed a pulse transmission research group, served as chairman of the NBS Education Committee, and was director of the graduate program in radio metrology.

In 1970, Dr. Nahman organized the Pulse and Time Domain Section in the NBS Electromagnetics Division and was appointed Chief of that Section. He continued to serve as a CU professor adjoint and as director of the University’s NBS graduate program in electromagnetic measurements.

He is the author or co-author of over 42 scientific manuscripts published in internationally recognized scientific journals and available from internationally listed scientific library collections. He has pioneered the development of picosecond pulse techniques which include the development of miniature superconducting coaxial transmission lines, random sampling oscillograph systems, and the transient analysis of distributed networks.

Dr. Nahman is a member of Sigma Xi, Eta Kappa Nu, Sigma Tau and Sigma Pi Sigma. He was awarded the U.S. Army Commendation Medal in recognition of his research contributions; in 1963 and 1966 he was honored by the University of Kansas School of Engineering with their nomination for the University-wide HOPE Award (honor for the outstanding progressive educator award). In 1972 he was named a Distinguished Alumnus, California Polytechnic State University (San Luis Obispo) for his research contributions to nanosecond pulse measurements and techniques. He is a Fellow of the IEEE and served as an editorial reviewer for IEEE technical publications including the Proceedings, Spectrum, and Professional Group Transactions; Circuit Theory, Instrumentation and Measurement, and Microwave Theory and Techniques. He was elected (1966) to Commission I, U.S. National Committee of the International Scientific Radio Union (URSI) which is under the auspices of the U.S. National Academy of Sciences.

Dr. Nahman has served as a consultant to government and industry and was a registered Professional Engineer. He was the Distinguished Lecturer and Principle Professor, Centre National d’Etudes des Telecommunications Summer School, Lannion, France (1978); Distinguished Lecturer, Harbin Institute of Technology, Peoples Republic of China (1982); Faculty NATO Advanced Study Institute, Castelvecchio, Italy (1983). He is the recipient of the 1984 Andrew H. Chi award for the best technical paper and the 1987 I&M Society Award for outstanding contributions and leadership in advancing instrumentation and measurement techniques.

Following his retirement from government service, Dr. Nahman served as Vice President with Picosecond Pulse Labs, Inc. Boulder, Colorado. Norris enjoyed fly fishing and Ham Radio hobbies throughout his life.

Dr. Nahman was preceded in death by his wife, Shirley Darlene Nahman (1995), his sister, Caroline Kuhn (2012), his longtime partner, Gloria Short (2015). His surviving relatives include his son Stan Nahman and wife Beverly (Aiken, SC.); daughter Vicki Henderson (Estes Park, CO); son Vance Nahman and wife Kathy (San Diego, CA); and son Scott Nahman and wife Karen (Firestone, CO); numerous grandchildren include Steven (Aurora, CO); Zachary and fiancé Taylor (Arvada, CO); Jeffrey Henderson (deceased) and David Henderson (Estes Park, CO), and Lianna and Dominic Gurule (Loveland, CO); Kelly and Matt McGovren (New York, NY), Andrew Nahman (New York, NY), Haley Nahman (New York, NY); and great grandchildren Nora and Ruby McGovren (New York, NY).

A Celebration of Norris’s Life will be held on Friday, September 20, 2019, at the Longmont American Legion, Post 32, 315 South Bowen Street, Longmont Colorado, at 1:00pm. Burial will be by private ceremony for immediate family at Mountain View Cemetery in Longmont, Colorado.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Trout Unlimited by visiting their website:
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Service Details

  • Service

    Friday, September 20th, 2019 | 1:00pm
    Friday, September 20th, 2019 1:00pm
    American Legion Post 32
    315 S. Bowen Street
    LONGMONT, CO 80501
    Get Directions: View Map | Text | Email


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George, Theresa, and Jessica Avila sent flowers to the family of Norris Stanley Nahman.
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Sarah Van Pelt

Posted at 04:18am
I always enjoyed Norris' enthusiasm for life, for being with others, and his truly amazing memory. My husband Martin always felt gratitude for his time working with Norris.

George, Theresa, and Jessica Avila

Posted at 06:27pm
Grandpa Norris was a wonderful influence in my life. He touched all those he was around. He will be greatly missed! All our love!
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