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ESL Timeline

1941: Antenna Lab founded, Sinclair becomes Supervisor

Antenna Laboratory is founded by W. L. Everitt. Two of Prof. Everitt's graduate students, George Sinclair and Sidney Bertram, begin to implement the new technique and also to improve the equipment and procedures available for the previously used model techniques which continued to be very useful.

When Everitt left Columbus for a war-time assignment in Washington, Dr. E.C. Jordan greatly assisted with his guidance and advice, but because of Jordan's heavy teaching load the primary responsibility for the fledgling project was assumed by Sinclair, who became the lab supervisor.

The group was soon joined by two more graduate students, Eric Vaughan and Paul H. Nelson. The research was performed in and on the roof of the Communications Laboratory on the 19th street.

1946: Lab grows to 50 employees, Experments in Quonset Huts

The responsibility of deciding whether or not to allow and encourage growth falls onto Prof. Dreese as Department Chairman. Although Sinclair was only a graduate student, Prof. Dreese decides to support his efforts, and by now the group has grown to approximately 50 employees and become known as the Antenna Laboratory.

The experimental program is moved to two Quonset huts, located on the edge of ROTC drill field on Tuttle Park Road. As programs expanded, a series of small trailers was added for additional work space where the working conditions were less than ideal due to temperature-control issues. Nevertheless, many valuable measurements were obtained in those trailers.

Many of the antenna ranges that were commonly in use by aircraft and antenna companies are descendants of the hand-built equipment first used in the Quonset huts.

1947: First Commercial Spin-Off Company

Dr. Sinclair leaves Ohio State after obtaining his Ph.D., and Mr. Robert P. Jacques takes over the guidance of the Laboratory. After approximately a year, Mr. Jacques and some others from the Laboratory staff form their own company for the measurement of antenna patterns.

This was the first commercial spin-off company formed, the Antenna Research Laboratory, Inc., which was later was acquired by a larger company, as also happened with several later spin-offs.

1948: Prof. Rumsey becomes Supervisor

Professor Victor H. Rumsey becomes Supervisor of the Laboratory. A brilliant theoretician and inspiring teacher, he attracts a large number of excellent graduate students. He became the academic advisor of many of them and a strong influence on all.

Of the group who joined the Laboratory about this time, many eventually joined the faculty of The Ohio State University while others had distinguished careers elsewhere.

The Laboratory grows, and Prof. Rumsey appoints an early member of the Laboratory, Robert A. Fouty,  Research Manager in order to delegate some of the research management responsibilities. Eventually becoming Associate Director of the Laboratory, Mr. Fouty involved himself in its research management ever since and had, in large part, been responsible for the growth of the Laboratory and the style of its work.

1950: Research in Caldwell Lab and Quonset Huts

The Laboratory moves to the fourth floor and part of the third floor of the Caldwell Laboratory Building but most of the experimental activities continue at the Quonset huts. The construction of the St. John Arena immediately behind the experimental site makes experiments at this location totally impossible, and plans for a facility at 1320 Kinnear Road were made

1954: Dr. Tice becomes Director

Prof. Rumsey leaves Ohio State and Dr. Thomas E. Tice becomes Director. During the seven years of his administration the style of the Laboratory changes considerably. Under Dr. Tice, the activities of the Laboratory grow in breadth.

More faculty and increasingly more graduate students became involved, and the programs were more diversified technically. New areas into which the Laboratory ventured were highway automation, quantum detectors, satellite communications, and plasmas.

The expansion of the scope of the Laboratory is indicated by a change in titles: Dr. Tice became Director while the title “Supervisor” was reserved for those directly in supervision of research projects. 

1955: Facilities moved to Kinnear Rd

Experimental facilities move to present location on Kinnear Road. 

1961: Dr. Levis becomes Director

Dr. Tice to leaves the Columbus area, and Dr. Curt A. Levis becomes the Director. Diversification of the Laboratory continues, faculty participation increases.

The research staff of the Laboratory, formerly relatively distinct from the teaching faculty of the Department, now became closely intermingled.

Work started on four steerable 30-foot diameter parabolic reflector antennas at ElectroScience Laboratory under a $435,000 research contract with the United States Air Force. These were to be used for satellite tracking as well as inter­continental and interplanetary communication.

1964: Addition to Lab, Doubling Floor Space

The projects in the information science areas grow to such an extent that it could support a separate Laboratory. The Communication and Control Systems Laboratory splits off from the Antenna Laboratory and is placed under the direction of Dr. Robert L. Cosgriff.

Even with this reduction, the number of persons involved in the Laboratory grew to the point where new space was vitally necessary. An addition was completd to the field station at 1320 Kinnear Road, more than doubling its floor space.

1967: Antenna Lab renamed ElectroScience Lab

During the late 50's and the 60's, the interests of the Laboratory continued to broaden to encompass all types of systems utilizing radiant electromagnetic energy. Among the new areas of strength were communications through a plasma, under the leadership of Mr. Ross Caldecott.

The name Antenna Laboratory was obviously inadequate to describe these activities, and as such, the Antenna Laboratory is renamed ElectroScience Laboratory to reflect broad research programs. 

Antennas and electromagnetic theory continued to be a strong area of interest, however.

1969: Prof. Bailin becomes Director

Prof. Levis resigns the Directorship in order to have more time for teaching, writing, and research, and Prof. L.L. Bailin comes to The Ohio State University as the new Director.

1983: Prof. Peters becomes Director, Major Government Contracts

Prof. Leon Peters becomes ESL director. Growth at the lab continues supported by major contracts from NASA and the Compact Range Consortium.

1994: Prof. Burnside becomes Director

Prof. Walter Burnside becomes ESL director. Significant growth takes place in industrial research causing it to reach nearly 50% of total funding. 

2003: Prof. Volakis becomes Director

Prof. John Volakis becomes the director. ESL hosts its second IEEE Antennas and Propagation Symposium. Multidisciplinary Research Initiative (MURI) on Novel Materials for Antennas awarded. 

2005: Building Remodel

ESL building remodeled. College approves new ESL building financial plan. 

2009: Construction of new ESL Begins

Construction begins with a groundbreaking event on a new 40,580-square-foot facility that showcases the laboratory's unique talents, history, and demonstrates the ability to carry out cutting-edge research. See related story from Business First.

2011: ElectroScience Lab Complex Opens

New Wireless Communication/Radio Frequency Research Building, known as ElectroScience Lab Complex, opens with the ribbon-cutting event.