A Mighty Mind

Tonight, Lew Aronson passed after teaching us all how to fight cancer for the past 9 years.

Lew was ornery, never at a loss for words and the smartest, most diligent and cleverest fiber optic engineers that I knew in my 30 years in the field.  He was Finisar’s chief scientist for most of that time and he only gives up the post by his passing.  He was still contributing a good part of this year.  We will not find another like him and we will all miss him.

I met his family this afternoon when I stopped by to visit with him briefly.  They are all scientists and engineers.  Each one is very bright and capable in their own right.  Families like that give one another gifts that compound.

My favorite story about Lew was when we were working on a very early 10 Gb/s SFP style module.  He knew that the connector we used in the 1-2 Gb/s SFP were not quite right in terms of impedance.  Rather than wait, Lew took an xacto knife and began systematically trimming leads, circuit traces and such to fix the impedance of the circuit in real time.  He was able to do it and as it happened the eye pattern continued to sharpen.  Later he connected with connector manufactures and explained how to improve the device so it could be mass produced.  (I suspect he received some of his mechanical cleverness from his Dad who is also a mechanical engineer.)

Lew was one of a kind and he will be missed by many at Finisar, by Finisar’s customers and even our competitors who knew him from his tireless work on the international standards bodies.

I suspect that as Lew makes this transition his skills working with light will be in even higher demand where his journey takes him now.

— Frank

Posted in Essays, Personal Stories

  1. Vipul Bhatt says:

    Frank, you said it. One of a kind. I saw him as an embodiment of everything great about western civilization — ownership, quest, spirit. He will be missed dearly.

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