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Dr. Edward E. Altshuler
Dr. Edward E. Altshuler, a scientist at Hanscom’s Air Force Research Laboratory, is retiring after 49 years of service. (U.S. Air Force photo)
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AFRL scientist retiring after half century of service

Posted 4/21/2011   Updated 4/21/2011 Email story   Print story

    


by Sarah Olaciregui
66th Air Base Group Public Affairs


4/21/2011 - HANSCOM AIR FORCE BASE, Mass. -- For those people that enjoy their jobs, 49 years of coming to work doesn't seem so long. For Dr. Edward E. Altshuler, a scientist at Hanscom's Air Force Research Laboratory, 49 years of service is almost enough.

"I would have liked to work here for 50 years," said Dr. Altshuler. "If BRAC (Base Realignment and Closure) hadn't happened, who knows how long I would have continued to work."

Dr. Altshuler began working for the then-Air Force Cambridge Research Laboratories in 1960 after he received a degree in applied physics from Harvard. He left AFCRL in 1961 to become Director of Engineering at Gabriel Electronics in Millis, Mass., however, when the company relocated to Maine in 1963, he returned to AFCRL as chief of the Propagation Branch.

"After being in the corporate world, I realized I missed doing research," he said. "When I came back here, I thought that's what I would be doing, but it turned out I had the opportunity to be a branch chief."

Over the years, the laboratory evolved, according to Dr. Altshuler. Money became tight and demands and responsibilities changed. After several reorganizations, AFRCL became a part of AFRL.

"Then, after twenty years of being a branch chief, I returned to being a scientist," he said.

Dr. Altshuler said when he began working for AFRCL in 1960, he never dreamed he would still be here almost 50 years later.

"The fact that I continued to work for about 20 years beyond the time I could have originally retired says it all," he said. "Over these many years, I have had the opportunity to work with outstanding colleagues, both as a supervisor and as a bench scientist."

A self-described creature of habit, Dr. Altshuler enjoys having a daily routine and going to the fitness center or to play tennis or work out. He says when he is able to conduct basic research and work on challenging problems, he gets a lot of satisfaction.

"I am a do-it-yourselfer," he said. "I like working on a good problem and challenging serious thought."

Throughout his years at AFRL, Dr. Altshuler has received many honors. He served on the Air Force Scientific Advisory Board and was chairman of the NATO Research Study Group on Millimeter Wave Propagation and Target/Background Signatures from 1974 through 1993. He was selected as a Fellow of the Air Force Research Laboratory in 2000. Dr. Altshuler authored three book chapters, 44 journal articles, 73 conference papers, 20 technical reports and holds two patents.

One of his proudest accomplishments was making sure the Electromagnetics Technology Division was not closed.

"About ten years ago the commander of AFRL stated that our division would be abolished," he said. "I helped to prevent this from happening with support from Senator Kennedy who summoned the Secretary of the Air Force and the commander of AFRL to his office and told them not to go ahead with this closure, 'or else.' They got the message and rescinded the closure."

Dr. Altshuler has finally decided to retire on May 5, but he won't stay idle for long. He is planning to write a monograph entitled "The Rise and Fall of Air Force Cambridge Research Laboratories."

Also, he and his wife bought an 85-year-old summer cottage in Cape Cod last year that needs a lot of work and he is looking forward to spending more time with his wife, children, grandchildren and their one-year-old beagle.

"I've had a very, very good career," he said. "I couldn't ask for anything more."



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