Joseph P. Martino
I entered Miami in the fall of 1949 as a physics major. Most of my physics classes were taught by either Ray Edwards or George Arfken, both of whom were outstanding teachers. I graduated in 1953 with an AB in Physics, and a commission as a Second Lieutenant in the U.S. Air Force.
The Air Force offered selected graduates the opportunity to go immediately to graduate school. I was selected to go to Purdue for a Masters in Electrical Engineering, with a major in automatic controls. I found that my undergraduate physics background stood me in good stead in electrical engineering courses, especially since I had taken Dr.
Arfken's Electronics course.
Following my graduation from Purdue I was assigned to the Armament Laboratory at Wright Field, where I worked on inertial guidance systems. The combination of physics and automatic controls allowed me to catch on quickly and eventually make some major contributions to development of inertial guidance systems for missiles and aircraft. I was project manager for a gyroscope improvement program for the Thor missile. The guidance system, including my gyros, is now on display at the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force, in the Missiles & Space Gallery.
Following my Wright Field tour, I was sent to Ohio State for a Ph.D. in Mathematics, with a major in Statistics. This led to a split tour at Air Force Office of Scientific Research (AFOSR), in Washington, DC, as a statistician. I was responsible for managing a research program in statistics, with grantees and contractors at various universities throughout the US.
That tour was broken in the middle by an assignment to the Combat Development and Test Center, in Bangkok, Thailand, where I worked on electronic systems for enemy personnel detection, and conducted operations research on enemy activities. I found that my background as a physicist, in constructing mathematical models of various systems, helped me in conducting operations research, since I had a "feel" for modeling.
After leaving AFOSR I attended Armed Forces Staff College, and then was assigned to the Office of Research Analyses, in New Mexico. This was an operations research organization. Again, my experience with mathematical models was a big help in modeling Air Force operations of different kinds. It was here that I began publishing papers in technical journals and presenting papers at technical conferences.
My next assignment was to the Air War College, followed by another tour at Wright Field, this time in the Avionics Laboratory. I became a staff officer for Electronic Warfare, which depends heavily on mathematical modeling of enemy radars, and of countermeasures.
After being promoted to Colonel, I was assigned as Director of Engineering Standardization, at Defense Electronics Supply Center. This was purely a management position, with essentially no technical activity, although my background in electronics made it easier to understand the activity I was commanding.
I retired from the Air Force in 1975, and immediately went to work at the University of Dayton Research Institute as a Research Scientist. It was "back to the bench," doing mostly statistical work. Projects included a study of damage from birds getting sucked into jet engines (mathematical modeling again), and of applications of communications satellites (more modeling).
I retired from UD in 1993. My activities since then have gone all over the map (literally). I've done consulting in Brazil, Korea, Taiwan and Turkey, presented papers at international conferences in Finland, Ireland, France, Belgium, Turkey and Taiwan, and spent two semesters as a visiting professor in Turkey.
As a sideline, I've done some writing. My fiction output includes a dozen stories in science fiction magazines, and a murder mystery. Non-fiction includes an engineering textbook that went through three editions and was translated into Chinese, two books on military affairs, and a book on R&D Project Selection.
My professional recognition includes being a Fellow of the Institute of Electrical & Electronics Engineers, a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, an Associate Fellow of the American Institute of Aeronautics & Astronautics, Associate Editor of a professional journal, and being elected to various offices in these Societies, at both local and national levels.
Currently I'm more or less retired. I still review papers for two journals, but am no longer active in research. My hobbies include target shooting and bicycling.
"I was fortunate to get my first real taste of physics research at Miami working with Prof. Alexander on simulating the formation of a gas giant planet. It taught me the value of making incremental changes in initial experimental conditions (and patience) -- change too much at once and it's hard to find the cause -- change too little you get the same result." Read More »
Martha Clark Walz
"I am the editor in chief of R&D Magazine. How did I get here? After graduating from Miami..." Read More »
Joseph P. Martino