In Memoriam Prof. Dr. Ir. Johan Cornelis Compter

A valuable alumnus of the Technical University Delft, Philips and a family member of the EPE group of Eindhoven University of Technology has unfortunately left us.

6 November 1953 
’s Gravenhage

23 October 2020



Magnetism moved him

Professor Dr. Ir. J.C. (John) Compter1 started his academic career with a doctoral thesis “Microprocessor-controlled reluctance motor"2. That he was an academic educated engineer with a good sense for the industry is clear from his career. Within his thesis this is already visible from statement number 6, which defines: “Friendliness (kindness) is precious when it is applied to software for computers and microprocessors. Because non-expert users will start working with this software, friendliness (ease of use) should be given the highest priority.” Historically, all calculations were undertaken with pen and paper, only later micro-processors and “computers” were able to perform some form of calculations. This is also apparent from statement 8 from his thesis, which states: “The use of personal computers for technical and scientific calculations should be rejected, unless they can be connected in a network”. Engineers and Scientists that were used to calculate with pen and paper usually found it difficult to move with the ever increasing computational capabilities to the higher order calculations that we are capable of now. John Compter was not such a person, as is clearly visible from “3D Field of Cuboidal Magnet3”. His vision and contribution to high precision actuation that allow the current minimization of mobile phones and computers is something that many non-expert users from today and tomorrow will appreciate, not forgetting that also vacuum cleaners with 50,000rpm motors were something very special in its days.

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