Memorial concert to honor deceased U electrical engineering professor

Former electrical engineering professor Allen Nussbaum was interested in optics.

by Matt Graham

A memorial concert will take place Sunday to honor a recently deceased University electrical engineering professor.

Allen Nussbaum died Jan. 5 of bone cancer after being diagnosed in December.

Nussbaum, who retired in 1988, worked on semiconductor and optic technology while at the University.

“He was interested in the (optics) design process,” said William Peria, an electrical and computer engineering professor. “(Optics) could be just about anything, be it telescopes or copying machines.”

Nussbaum learned about radar in England during World War II. Afterward, he earned his doctorate in physics from the University of Pennsylvania.

He came to Minneapolis in 1953 to work on transistors for Honeywell. In 1962, he started teaching at the University of Minnesota, where he began his research on optics.

Nussbaum taught optics, traditionally a discipline of physics, to computer engineering students because of the emergence of fiber-optics technology.

Nussbaum retired in 1988 after 20 years as the department’s director of graduate studies but continued to teach University of Minnesota students until last year, even grading papers while sick in the hospital.

The memorial will be held in Nussbaum’s honor Sunday in the West Wing of the Campus Club. It will be open to the public and feature a performance of Ludwig Van Beethoven’s “Archduke” trio, as was Nussbaum’s wish.

“My dad didn’t want to have a funeral, but he wanted to have a concert,” said Nussbaum’s son, Peter Nussbaum.

He said his father was “a lifelong classical music fan,” who first met his future wife in a classical-music library while stationed in England during World War II.

Allen Nussbaum is survived by wife Barbara Nussbaum, of Edina, Minn.; sons Peter Nussbaum and David Nussbaum, of Minneapolis; daughter Elizabeth Bachman, of New York; four grandchildren and one great-grandchild.