Norman Scott (1918–2018): In Memoriam

Over the course of his career Scott became internationally recognized for his work on digital computer logic and design.

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Norman Scott, professor emeritus of EECS, passed away on August 20, 2018 at the age of 100. Prof. Scott was recognized not only within U-M, but also nationally, for his work on digital computer logic and design.

Scott, who showed an early interest in amateur radio and electronics,received his B.S. and his M.S. degrees in Electrical Engineering from MIT in 1941. During World War II, he spent five years in the Army working on radar countermeasures and rose to the rank of major. He received his Ph.D. in Electrical Engineering at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign in 1950.

In 1951, Scott joined the University of Michigan as assistant and was promoted to associate in 1954 and in 1957. He served as Associate Dean of the College of Engineering from 1966 until 1968, and was then appointed to a three-year term as Dean of Engineering at the University of Michigan-Dearborn.

Over the course of his career Scott became internationally recognized for his work on digital computer logic and design, publishing three books and numerous journal articles. He was a member of the first western team to tour Soviet computing centers in 1958, and served on the Math and Computer Science Research Advisory Committee of the Atomic Energy Commission from 1961 until 1965. He conducted research, taught, lectured, and traveled extensively in Germany, China, and Japan. In Japan, he visited Hokkaido, Tohoku, Tsukuba, and Kyoto Universities conducting important research work in the CAD/CAM area and in the field of computer architecture.

Scott’s career spanned the EECS Department’s early development of programs in computers. In 1952, he presented the first electrical engineering course in computers, “Seminar in Computer Technology,” and during the years following he managed to acquire computers for the instructional laboratories that he developed.

Scott was known for his outstanding capabilities as a teacher, mentor, and graduate advisor. For many years he served as the faculty advisor to the IEEE student chapter and as the chief undergraduate program advisor in computer engineering. He was highly regarded for his knowledge of theory and practice and fostered in his students enthusiasm, curiosity, and a desire to excel. His understanding of — and willingness to communicate with —students was widely recognized. On four separate occasions, he was selected as Eta Kappa Nu’s Teacher of the Year. He was a Fellow of the IEEE.

Scott led an active life, filled with travel, sailing, family, and friends. He swam well into his 90s and his last visit to the gym was less than a week before he passed away. He was preceded in death by his wife Marjorie.

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