Remembering Ross Stone, an Influential Leader of IEEE Technical Activities

W. Ross Stone, an influential IEEE Technical Activities leader, died on 29 March at the age of 75.

The Life Fellow received the 2023 IEEE Richard M. Emberson Award “for sustained contributions to and impactful leadership in the IEEE Technical Activities publication enterprise.”

Stone held several leadership positions with the IEEE Technical Activities Board for more than four decades. He transformed the way the TAB periodicals committee operates by establishing several programs and processes to revitalize IEEE publications and initiate strategic plans to ensure their success in the future, according to his Emberson Award citation.

He was president of Stoneware, a business he founded in San Diego that provided consulting and expert witness services related to antennas, propagation, and telecommunications.

Communications and patent law expert

Stone received a bachelor’s degree in 1967 in earth sciences from the University of California, San Diego. He went on to earn master’s and doctoral degrees in applied sciences from UCSD in 1973 and 1978, respectively.

He worked as chief scientist at McDonnell Technologies and a research advisor at IRT. In the early 1980s he founded Stoneware, which also provided litigation support services, patent infringement analysis, prior art research, and invention and design consulting in the areas of cellphone handset antennas and base stations, cellular systems, IEEE 802.11 technologies, LTE networks, Wi-Fi, and wireless networking technologies. During his career, he also served in leadership positions for 16 wireless communications startups.

He was an adjunct professor at Beijing Jiaotong University and the Politecnico di Torino.

Longtime editor of IEEE Antennas and Propagation Magazine

Stone, who served as chair of the TAB periodicals committee, established 15 ad hoc committees to further IEEE’s publication goals. The ad hoc committees developed new evaluation metrics for proposed articles, a mentoring program for publication editors, and long-term open-access strategies.

For more than 30 years, Stone was editor in chief of the IEEE Antennas and Propagation Society Newsletter, which evolved into IEEE Antennas and Propagation Magazine.

“While he’s known for his rigor and results-oriented approach, those who work with Stone never fail to describe him as a gentleman,” one of his Emberson Award endorsers said. “He’s invariably polite, open to discussion, and handles any disagreements sensitively and respectfully. Stone has a kind word for every collaborator and displays an unwavering sense of humor in the most complicated situations.”

In addition to his contributions to IEEE, Stone served as editor for more than 20 years of The Radio Science Bulletin, a publication of the International Union of Radio Science (URSI).

He was a Fellow of the Chinese Institute of Electronics, the Electromagnetics Academy, and URSI. He was also a life member of the Phi Eta Sigma honor society. In addition, he was a member of several societies including the Association for Computing Machinery, Optica, the Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics, and the Society for Technical Communication.

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