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This is the 22nd 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 international 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 international members, the ...
This is the 22nd 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 international 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 international 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 international members, our colleagues and friends, whose special gifts we remember in this book.
BY HANS G. FORSBERG
PER GUNNAR ENGSTRÖM died July 20, 2015, at age 92 in Västerås. He was born April 11, 1923, in the Swedish town of Ludvika, where his father was a foreman at a local electrical company, later acquired by ASEA, a leading manufacturer of electrical goods.
Gunnar enrolled as a student of electrical engineering in KTH, the Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm, where he received his master certificate in 1948.
He spent his entire career at ASEA. He first joined a research group devoted to new applications of high-voltage currents under the leadership of Uno Lamm, and was soon promoted to leading positions. He obtained several patents and published articles in Swedish and international journals.
Most of his activities were related to high-voltage direct currents (HVDC), an area in which he earned international recognition. His first success was with tyristor-guided train engines, used in Scandinavia and exported to the United States. Under his leadership HVDC cables were installed for underwater transmission between Scandinavian countries and the New Zealand islands, and to connect foreign AC electric grids.
He was promoted to executive vice president and became responsible for the ASEA (later ABB-ASEA) divisions of electronic control equipment and robotics. He proved to be an inspiring manager of technology, even outside his own field of HVDC.
He was elected to the Royal Swedish Academy of Engineering Sciences (IVA) in 1967, the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences in 1976, and as a foreign associate of the US National Academy of Engineering in 1992. He received an honorary doctorate from the University of Uppsala in 1983.
He was deputy chair of IVA (1984–86) and very active in its Division II, Electrical Engineering, for many years, serving as chair and member of many committees. After retirement he chaired the extensive IVA program on Management of Technological Change. He was also an active supporter of the use of nuclear power, for both safety and climate reasons.
In 1983 ABB honored him by establishing the Gunnar Engström ABB Foundation, which aims to stimulate interest in energy technology research by awarding scholarships to a final PhD student project in the field of energy engineering at a Swedish technical college or university.
Gunnar Engström is survived by Gertrud, his wife of 67 years, and their children Per, Ingalill, and Kerstin with families.