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This is the 17th Volume in the series Memorial Tributes compiled by the National Academy of Engineering as a personal remembrance of the lives and outstanding achievements of its members and foreign members. These volumes are intended to stand as an enduring record of the many contributions of engineers and engineering to the benefit of humankind. In most cases, the authors of the tributes are contemporaries or colleagues who had personal knowledge of the interests and the engineering accomplishments of the deceased. Through its members and foreign members, the Academy carries out the responsibilities...
This is the 17th Volume in the series Memorial Tributes compiled by the National Academy of Engineering as a personal remembrance of the lives and outstanding achievements of its members and foreign members. These volumes are intended to stand as an enduring record of the many contributions of engineers and engineering to the benefit of humankind. In most cases, the authors of the tributes are contemporaries or colleagues who had personal knowledge of the interests and the engineering accomplishments of the deceased. Through its members and foreign members, the Academy carries out the responsibilities for which it was established in 1964.
Under the charter of the National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Engineering was formed as a parallel organization of outstanding engineers. Members are elected on the basis of significant contributions to engineering theory and practice and to the literature of engineering or on the basis of demonstrated unusual accomplishments in the pioneering of new and developing fields of technology. The National Academies share a responsibility to advise the federal government on matters of science and technology. The expertise and credibility that the National Academy of Engineering brings to that task stem directly from the abilities, interests, and achievements of our members and foreign members, our colleagues and friends, whose special gifts we remember in this book.
BY GERALD T. HEYDT
LUD LISCHER’S office on the 37th floor of the First National Bank Building in Chicago was where many of the most important decisions of long-term energy resources and electric power transmission in the Midwest United States were made. But the background of this engineering leader was simpler and had its roots in Germany and small towns in Indiana.
Ludwig F. Lischer was born on March 1, 1915, in Darmstadt, Germany, and came with his parents Ludwig and Paula Lischer and sister Ilse to the United States in 1923. He progressed through the public school system in Michigan City, Indiana, graduating from the Michigan City High School in 1933. In view of his excellence in mathematics and science, he went on to the electrical engineering program at Purdue University, where he graduated with a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering in 1937. Upon leaving Purdue, he joined the Commonwealth Edison Co. in Chicago where he spent almost his entire engineering career of 43 years.
Lud had visionary thoughts of the power industry, and he was recognized at Commonwealth Edison by being appointed assistant head planning engineer in 1958, progressing to manager of technical services in 1962, and then vice president of engineering and production in 1964. In this position he headed all the electrical and mechanical engineering at Commonwealth Edison, including transmission and distribution, power operations, and research and development.
His career was interrupted during World War II when he served in the Army Signal Corps, the Army Air Corps, and the US Air Force (1941–1945), where he was promoted from first lieutenant to lieutenant colonel. He also worked for two years at Argonne National Laboratory, where he assisted in the design and initial operation of the experimental boiling water reactor II.
Lud was active in several professional societies, especially the American Institute of Electrical Engineers (AIEE). He authored technical papers on series capacitors for transmission circuits and generator stability. He was a fellow of the AIEE and later the IEEE.
He served in advisory positions for the Edison Electric Institute, the Electric Research Council, the University of Illinois-Chicago Circle, Eta Kappa Nu, Tau Beta Pi, the Western Society of Engineers, American Society of Mechanical Engineers, and others. He was a cofounder of the Purdue Electric Power Center at Purdue University in 1970, where he was named a distinguished engineering alumnus in 1965 and was awarded an honorary doctorate in 1976. He was elected to the National Academy of Engineering in 1978.
Lud Lischer was best known for his service on national boards relating to energy policy. He was a founding member of the Commerce Technology Advisory Board (CTAB), and he led Project Independence (1974–1975) in preparing a roadmap for energy independence for the United States. He also was a visionary leader in the National Academy of Sciences and National Academy of Engineering for nuclear and alternative energy systems.
Lud was preceded in death by his wife Helen and his sister Ilse. He was a resident of Wheaton, Illinois. His daughter Linda is a resident of Glen Ellyn, Illinois.