Howard K. Knoebel dies; CSL loses early control pioneer
The Coordinated Science Laboratory lost one of its earliest pioneers in the area of control, Howard K. Knoebel, who died Nov. 19.
Knoebel joined CSL in the early 1950s, when it was still the Control Systems Laboratory. He became a research professor in 1964, working on various electronics instrumentation projects, including the development of the “electrostatic gyroscope,” a high-precision inertial navigation instrument now used in aircraft and nautical guidance systems.
In 1964, he received a joint appointment with the Department of Aeronautical and Astronautical Engineering. His research group developed a radio propagation system using sounding rockets to measure upper atmosphere electron density and collision frequency. His work in control systems brought him in contact with a GE 242, Project Design, in applying fluidic devices in developing a highway vehicle system for severely handicapped individuals.
In 1975, he joined the Department of General engineering where he was a key member of the project design faculty as well as teaching GE 103, GE 104, GE 193, GE 222, GE 242, and GE 393. He retired in May 1979, but continued as professor emeritus on a part-time basis until May 1989, teaching in the project design course.
He ended his career in the Department of Industrial & Enterprise Systems Engineering.
According to Harry Wildblood, IESE’s Senior Project Design Coordinator, Howard Knoebel was “one of the finest engineers to ever walk these halls.”