Fred Van Roessel (1937-2019)

We have the sad duty to report that our friend, colleague and team member Fred Van Roessel has died. He suffered a fatal stroke on Tuesday, November 26 and died without regaining consciousness on November 28. Fred was LPPFusion’s Electrical Engineer.

Fred came to work with LPPFusion in 2010, only six months after our FF-1 device started operating at our lab in Middlesex, NJ. He started working part-time in our lab after his retirement from Phillips Research Lab and Panasonics. He was a core member of our team, making large contributions with his expertise in electrical engineering, optics and software development. He made our ICCD camera operational, obtaining our first images of the plasmoids where fusion reactions take place. He redesigned and re-made the trigger heads that allow our switches to fire. He helped diagnose and fix many early problems with the operation of the switches. In 2014, he designed and developed a program, JavaFusion, which analyzes our data, identifying and measuring the peaks that show the results of each shot.

After Fred relocated to North Carolina in 2015, he continued to work with us remotely, consulting on our work and continuing to make great improvements in JavaFusion to meet our evolving needs. Indeed, he sent us an e-mail about his ideas for further upgrades on the day before his stroke.

Prior to working with us, Fred had spent a career as a pioneer of color TV cameras. He was born Frederick J. Van Roessel in the Netherlands in 1937 and started his engineering work at the Television Group at Phillips. He later emigrated to the US, still working for Phillips. He developed the software and hardware for fully automating camera adjustments. For these and other advances, he was awarded 17 patents. He was a Fellow of the Society of Motion Picture and Television Engineers, among other honors.

Fred was an extraordinary engineer—extremely careful and accurate, knowledgeable and insightful. While firm in expressing his professional opinions, he was never argumentative. He always maintained a quiet, friendly calmness and equilibrium, even at the times when his own life was going through a rough patch. He took great joy in working on and solving the puzzles that our project threw up to him. He was truly a pleasure to work with and to know.

His death came as a shock. To all who knew him, he appeared to be in good health right up to the end. He was a great guy and will be deeply missed.

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