Bob Pease: A tribute to his last challenge-- "What's all this voltage reference stability stuff?" Part one

-June 17, 2013

When Bob Pease died, he was working as a consultant on a project for Pete Wagner, Product Manager at PowerBox Group.  


Typical Bob Pease stuff to design something that didn't exist.  Here's a picture of Bob and the widget he was designing:


Bob Pease was helping design the challenging PS6 power supply and voltage reference when he died (Image courtesy of Pete Wagner)


The widget  was an ULTRA stable voltage reference and extremely stable, high power, programmable, constant current source.  “He was having a blast doing it - for peanuts too.  I think he just wanted the challenge” said Pete Wagner.

Wagner told me that, “While I didn't have too much contact with Bob - and I have 561 e-mails in my "Bob Pease folder" -  if you'd like I can put you in touch with another of my consultants, Jeffrey Callahan (the guy doing the digital stuff and interface), who had intimate and lengthy contact with Bob for about 18 months prior to his death.  A "What's all this voltage reference stability stuff?" might make a great one last tribute.  Wasn't he rather outspoken on voltage references? At least that's what I got initially.”  

Wagner commented that his company owned the rights to Pease’ work,  but since the project never came to fruition, he would release Bob's design scribblings (literally) and musings  (“damn auto routers....") for the community to enjoy one last time (That will be part two of this article).  Wagner said that Bob was quite a guy and that we should contact Jeffrey Callahan, who worked directly with Pease on this project.  So we did.

I got in touch with Jeffrey  Callahan and he  told me that it is hard to believe it has been 2 years and “ I miss him every day”. Callahan agreed to ramble on a bit and that as Bob Pease' last known engineering partner, it was his GREAT, GREAT privilege to pay him as much love and respect as he possibly can. He thanked EDN for the opportunity to tell his story.

Callahan began, “I'm not a writer , but I'll sure try to recap a few things for you about my friend Bob's last days. He was an engineer’s engineer until that old VW crashed at Jim Williams’ farewell get together. I'll never forget how broken up he was about losing Jim. When he talked to me about it, I could sense that he realized that the ‘old analog guard’ was going away and that HE was maybe among the last. Bob was hugely broken up about Jims passing, and he got in touch with me when he heard the news. I could hear a broken sadness in his voice that evening and later he wrote me an email from his Apple notebook which made me very SURE that he was feeling like the last of a dying (literally) breed. Hard to say much more than that, I can't imagine what goes through a man’s mind when he sees all his peers in any scientific discipline fall away one by one and realizes that he is indeed one of the last remaining.”

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