November 14, 2012
Fritz Trapnell; Son of Vice Admiral Frederick M. “Trap” Trapnell
Trap – The Pioneering Test Pilot Who Led The Navy From Biplanes to
Fritz Trapnell tells the story of Vice Admiral Frederick “Trap” Trapnell,
for whom Trapnell Field at NAS Patuxent River gets its name, and one of America’s
greatest engineering test pilots. His flying career spanned the period from
1927 to 1950, during which naval aviation evolved from biplanes through high
performance propeller planes and into jets Through much of this period, he
was responsible for guiding the development of new Navy aircraft. At the start
of WW II, Navy fighters were outperformed by their opposition. Trap led the
expedited evolution of two superb fighter types that came to dominate the air
over the Pacific. Then, following the war, he guided the Navy into the jet
Fritz Trapnell grew up in Coronado, California, spent two years on active
duty as an enlisted Aviation Electronics Technician in the U.S. Marine Corps,
and then attended the California Institute of Technology, from which he graduated
with a Master degree in
Electrical Engineering. He had a fifty-year career in the computer and software
engineering and engineering management – starting with IBM and retiring
in 2007 from Hewlett-Packard.
Fritz is a life-long aviation enthusiast with a special affection for the
Navy. He wrote a novel about an American pilot in the Battle of Britain and
is currently working on a biography of his father, which he expects to have
published this year. His talk will be based on material collected for this
October 17, 2012
David "Pablo" Cohn, Senior Research Scientist,
One Hell of a Long Day - A Summer Working at the South
One hundred years ago, Roald Amundsen first reached the southernmost
point of the globe – almost two miles up on an unbroken
ice sheet two thousand miles wide, at the center of the coldest,
highest, driest and emptiest continent in the world. It would
be 45 years before anyone else made it to the Pole and lived
to tell the tale. Today on that site sits the Amundsen-Scott
South Pole Station, staffed year-round by scientists, engineers,
tractor drivers, plumbers and dishwashers.
David Pablo Cohn spent three months working for the U.S.
Antarctic Program there, doing tech support for some of the
most interesting people and craziest science projects on
Dr. Cohn is a Senior Research Scientist with Google.org,
the philanthropic arm of the company, and the former Technical
Lead for Google Labs. He travels compulsively, and writes
about those travels on his blog at http://roadtrip.somerandom.com.
Recent adventures have taken him from the South Pole, through
New Zealand earthquakes, and deep into the wilds of the Liberian
Dr. Cohn is also a certificated flight instructor, and
a commercial single- and multi-engine pilot. He recently
earned solo privileges in the Supermarine Spitfire.
September 19, 2012
Brian Sussman, KSFO Talk Radio Host
For 25 years Brian Sussman has been a top media personality in the San Francisco
Bay Area. For many of those years he was the market’s top television meteorologist
and recognized by his peers as one of the most accurate and entertaining in the
business. His accolades include nearly two dozen state and regional awards for “Best
Weathercast” from the Associated Press and Radio-TV News Directors Association,
a handful of Emmys, and an award of merit from the National Education Association
for his enlightening science reporting. During the 1990s, Brian served as the
fill-in weatherman on the nationally broadcast CBS Morning Show with Harry Smith.
In 2001, he voluntarily left the TV airwaves to host a local conservative
political talk show on the legendary radio station, KSFO. In 2010, Sussman
was promoted to headline the station’s morning drive program.
Sussman was also distinguished by the State of California for assisting in
the adoption of foster children. Through his organization, Brian’s Kids,
Sussman utilized the airwaves of KPIX-TV in San Francisco to highlight children
waiting for adoptive families. Between 1989 and 2001, 400 foster children were
placed into permanent
families thanks to Brian’s Kids.
Sussman’s bestselling book, Climategate: A Veteran
Meteorologist Exposes the Global Warming Scam, was released on Earth Day, 2010. His second
book, Eco-Tyranny: How the Left’s Green
Agenda Will Dismantle America,
was released on April 17. His books will be on sale following the luncheon.
August 15, 2012
Louis Paré, Chief Engineer, Near-Infrared-Camera (NIRCam), Lockheed-Martin
Advanced Technology Center
It Ain’t Rocket Science
Louis was born four and a half months after NASA was founded. He grew up in and
with the space age. A self-proclaimed space geek from as far back as he can remember;
he started building and launching rockets more than 40 years ago. He attended
Texas A&M University, earning Bachelor and Master-of-Science degrees in Aerospace
Engineering. His graduate research involved modeling transonic boundary layers
in cryogenic gas flows. He worked for NASA, General Dynamics, and 27 years ago
he joined Lockheed, now Lockheed-Martin.
Louis has supported a wide array of projects and programs including: Skylab,
Shuttle, Heavy Lift Launch Vehicles, Hubble Space Telescope, Strategic Defense,
missile warning systems, missile defense, atmospheric and environmental science
systems and sensors, space lasers, precision pointing optical- mechanical systems,
x-ray astronomy, and numerous advanced system concepts and proposals. He is
currently Chief Engineer for the NIRCam instrument of the James Webb Space
Telescope at the Lockheed Martin Advanced Technology Center in Palo Alto.
In addition to his professional activities he has several years of involvement
coaching accomplished student teams competing in the Tech Challenge held by
the Tech Museum of Innovation. Louis is known to occasionally wax philosophically
in dialogue and blogs, enjoys motorcycles, snow skiing, redwoods, mountains,
June 20, 2012
Roy Lave, Founder and Former Chair/CEO, Los Altos Community
Foundation and Former Mayor of Los Altos
Over the last 20 years, Dr. Lave has served as the Founding Chair/CEO of the
Los Altos Community Foundation. He also served as Los Altos Mayor and Councilmember,
and as a Commissioner on both the Metropol- itan and Santa Clara County Transportation
Commissions. He now serves on the board of directors of the Bus Barn Stage Company
Theatre, the Los Altos Rotary AIDS Project and has recently retired from the
Moscow- Santa Clara County Sister-County Commission.
Prior to his retirement, Dr. Lave was the CEO and Co-Founder of SYSTAN Corporation,
a systems anal- ysis consulting firm. In addition, he served as a found- ing
Director of the Bank of Los Altos and, in 2000, joined the Heritage Bank of
Commerce where he served until 2005.
Dr. Lave is an expert in follow-on careers and volunteerism. He will ad-
dress the new recognition by sociologists of a demographic of seniors who are
retired but still healthy, active and fully capable of continuing to con- tribute
for two or more decades longer than in previous generations. Noth- ing in our
personal backgrounds, our various cultures or our society has prepared us for
this time in our lives. Many of the seniors in this group may have special
abilities of value to our community, together with needs for enrichment and
engagement beyond the present offerings for seniors.
Dr. Lave earned BS, MS and MBA degrees from the University of Mich- igan
and a PhD from Stanford University in Operations Research and Industrial Engineering.
He has lived in Los Altos with his spouse Penny (also a previous Los Altos
Mayor) for over 43 years.
May 16, 2012
Don Nielson, former Vice President of SRI and Director of
the Computing and Engineering Sciences Division
The History of SRI
During his 40 years with SRI International, Don Nielson spent about equal time
in technology development and in management. His technical expertise began in
conventional radio, but in 1972 he and his colleagues recognized the emerging
potential of digital systems and the eventual convergence of digital communications
and computing. This vision was so clear that, in a rare initiative within SRI,
they petitioned to move their communications laboratory into the SRI computing
research environment where he became the laboratory’s director. What followed
gave SRI op- portunities to create some of the earliest innovations in computer
commu- nications. In 1973 he lead the design and integration of the world’s
mobile digital radio network, called Packet Radio. In 1976, that effort led to
the first demonstration of the Internet protocol, TCP, using it to span that
radio network and the existing ARPANET. Nielson and his lab also created some
of the first handheld digital terminals for computer access, which, by design
were also the first portable communications devices for the deaf. Shortly thereafter,
in 1978, SRI built one of the first publicly accessible electronic mail sys-
tems for that community.
After retiring from management roles in 1998, he documented SRI’s origins
and unique research accomplishments in his book entitled A Herit- age of Innovation:
SRI’s First Half Century.
Dr. Nielson received his Ph.D. from Stanford University in 1969. He has also
served on technical advisory committees for DARPA and DCA and on the U.S. Air
Force Scientific Advisory Board.
April 18, 2012
Ron Lynn, Director of Player Development, Stanford Uni- versity
Stanford Football and his personal history in professional
Ron Lynn has extensive coaching experience during 20 years in profes-
sional football, including stints with both the Oakland Raisers and the San
Francisco Forty-Niners. He also has extensive experience in coaching at
the college level, starting in 1966 at Toledo and in-
cluding positions with Cal, San Jose State and now
Stanford (since 2008).
After serving as Stanford's assistant head
coach and co-defensive coordinator for the 2008
and 2009 seasons, Ron enters his second year
as the program's director of player development.
His primary duties will focus on all aspects of
Stanford's football operations and recruiting.
Considered to be one of the most respected defensive minds in
the game, Ron has held defensive coordinator positions with the
San Diego Chargers (1986-91), the Cincinnati Bengals (1992-93)
and the Washington Redskins (1994-96). He was also a secondary
coach in the NFL with the New England Patriots (1997-99), the
Oakland Raiders (2000-03) and the San Francisco 49ers (2004).
Ron got his start in coaching as a graduate assistant at Toledo in
1966 before returning to his alma mater, Mount Union College,
where he coached from 1967-73. He then moved onto coaching
positions at Kent State, San Jose State, Pacific and California. He
served as the Golden Bears defensive coordinator for the 1981 and
Ron graduated from Mount Union College in 1966 with a Bache-
lor of Science Degree in Chemistry. He later added a Master's De-
gree in Education from Toledo in 1970.
March 21, 2012
John Mascali, U.S. Navy Reserve Officer and Commercial Airline
The History of Moffett Field
John Mascali is a retired Navy Captain with over 41 years of flying expe- rience.
He started flying in 1959 after graduating from the U.S. Naval Academy, and ended
his career in 2000, retiring as a commercial pilot with Pan American World Airways
and Delta Airlines. He credits his long career to the adage that “there
are bold pilots and there are old pilots, but there are no old, bold pilots.” His
career in the Navy extended over 35 years and included tours of duty at Moffett
Field Naval Air Station in Patrol Squadrons VP-19, VP-31 and as the Commanding
Officer of VP 2920, VP 91 and VTU 8087.
John has lived in Saratoga for 42 years with his wife Diana, to whom he’s
been married for over 50 years. He currently serves on the Moffett Field Historical
Society’s Board as Director of Development. He is also a member of the
Navy League, Sons of the American Revolution, The Quiet Birdman and several other
In his presentation “The History of Moffett Field,” John will trace
the 75- year history from its beginning in 1930 when Mrs. Laura Whipple of Niles
lead a campaign to purchase more than 1000 acres of farmland in Sunnyvale and
Mountain View for $476,000, then sold it to the Navy for $1. John will share
pictures and stories of the construction of Hangar One, the rigid dirigible USS
Macon, the many different squadrons and aircraft that have flown out of Moffett
Field, and some of the history of NASA Ames.
February 15, 2012
John Hollar, President and Chief Executive Officer of the
Computer History Museum.
History and Direction of the Computer History Museum
Since joining the Museum, John has led the development and execu- tion of a new
strategic plan that has produced significant growth in the Museum and in its
mission. The centerpiece is “Revolution: The First 2000 Years of Computing,” which
opened in January 2011.The new strategy also is producing major growth of www.computerhistory.org
into the one of the world’s leading Internet sites on computing and computer
John has expanded the Museum’s production of film and digital media
to make the major stories of computer history and its pioneers vivid and engaging
for a wide audience. He has formed strategic relationships with National Pub-
lic Radio, Intel, Microsoft, Google, SAP, the Western Association of Venture
Capital (WAVC) and other national and international institutions, and introduced
a new education program. John previously was President of Penguin Television
Ltd. and of Pearson Broadband Ltd. in London, and served as a senior executive
of Pear- son PLC., the FTSE 100 global media and education company. Before
that, he served as Executive Vice President of the Public Broadcasting Service
(PBS), where he launched the award-winning PBS.org, PBSKids.org and a wide
array of national education services. He has been the executive producer of
more than 100 hours of documentary and children’s television. He is the
winner of a 2003 BAFTA and the 2001 Milia d’Or in digital content, among
many other awards.
Hollar holds bachelor’s degrees in journalism and political science from
Southern Methodist University and a Juris Doctor from Harvard Law School.
Janury 18, 2012
Dr. Dharmendra S. Modha, Manager, Cognitive Computing, IBM
Research - Almaden
Brain on a Chip
Dr. Modha will describe how IBM's so-called cognitive computing chips could one
day simulate and emulate the brain's ability to sense, perceive, interact and
recognize tasks that humans currently do much better than computers. In a sharp
departure from the past, IBM intends to change the computer from a basic calculator
to something much more like the brain.
Dr. Modha is the founder of the Cognitive Compu-ting group at IBM Research-Almaden
and the princi- pal investigator for the DARPA SyNAPSE team.
(SyNAPSE is a backronym for “Systems of Neuro-
morphic Adaptive Plastic Scalable Electronics.”) In
this role, he leads a global team across the fields of
neuroscience, nanoscience and supercomputing to build a computing
system that will emulate the brain's abilities for perception, action, and
Among the past accomplishments of his group: they have performed
cortical simulations at the scale of a cat cerebral cortex (one billion neu-
rons, 10 trillion synapses); they have compiled, visualized, and analyzed
the largest network of a Macaque monkey brain currently in existence;
and they have recently demonstrated two path-breaking neurosynaptic
cores that enable the creation of super-dense, cognitive computing chips.
Dr. Modha holds a Bachelor of Technology degree in Computer Science
and Engineering from the Indian Institute of Technology Bombay and a
Ph.D. in Electrical and Computer Engineering from the University of Cali-
fornia at San Diego. He has 30 U.S. patents, and is named as an IBM
Master Inventor. In 2010, he was elected to the IBM Academy of Technology.