Linear Technology Corporation (NASDAQ: LLTC) today remembered the company’s long-time Staff Scientist Jim Williams, who died on June 12. Williams, who worked for Linear Technology for nearly three decades, started as an applications engineer in the early years of the company. His contributions were many-fold. He was a legendary analog circuit designer, problem solver, writer and mentor to many engineers over the years.
Jim Williams in his lab. (Photo: Business Wire)
Hailing from Detroit in the shadow of a booming postwar US automotive market, Jim developed an early curiosity and interest in all things electronic. He would talk about working at a TV repair shop during his early years, so he could poke around inside to find out how they worked. His passion for electronics took him to Boston, where his intellect and drive helped him find a technician’s job working on the Apollo program. Although self-taught in electronics, Jim taught and did research at Massachusetts Institute of Technology from 1968 to 1979, concentrating exclusively on analog circuit design. During this time, he began his legendary writing career—finding clear, elegant ways to describe complex and seemingly indescribable design challenges and solutions. Before joining Linear Technology in 1982, Jim worked in National Semiconductor’s Linear Integrated Circuits Group for three years. In nearly 30 years with Linear, Jim had the unique role of staff scientist, with interests spanning product definition, development and support. He was consumed with developing analog circuits, helping set up instruments in the company’s labs, mentoring junior engineers in-house and customers outside, even answering his own phone. Jim maintained a lab at his home and worked there, in a lab at least as well outfitted as the one at work.