Barrie Gilbert (IEEE Life Fellow) b.1937 in Bournemouth, England has contributed several of the analog cells and terms now in common use, some of which are described in over 100 issued British and U.S. patents. Of special value has been the concept the Translinear Principle, which processes signals in the current mode and allows both simple and arcane algebraic functions to be accurately implemented with ease. The “Gilbert mixer” – an RF frequency-translation circuit – has gained widespread recognition, as a special type of analog multiplier. It also appeared in a prior art patent as a “synchronous demodulator”. Following school years in England, he worked on speech encryption systems at the Signals Research and Development Establishment, and on nuclear reactor control systems at the Atomic Energy Research Establishment. He emigrated to the USA in 1964 and worked as an oscilloscope designer at Tektronix. In 1979 he founded the first remote design center of Analog Devices Inc., located in Oregon, where he now directs affairs by urging his team of IC designers to practice freewheeling rebellion in the pursuit of invention against the tide of received wisdom. He has received the “ISSCC Best Paper” award on six occasions and has published papers in the IEEE Journal of Solid State Circuits, Transactions on Circuits and Systems, IEE Electronics Letters, Analog Integrated Circuits and Signal Processing and elsewhere, He has contributed to text-books and co-edited others and served on several editorial boards and program committees. For pioneering work on analog multipliers and later merged logic (a precursor of I2L), he received IEEE Outstanding Achievement Awards and the Solid-State Circuits Council Outstanding Development Award for Contributions to Nonlinear Signal Processing. In 1990 he was named Oregon Researcher of the Year, and received the IEEE Solid-State Circuits Award in 1992. He has collected industry awards for several “Products of the Year”, as “Innovator of the Year”, as The Microwave Journal’s “Legend of the Year”, etc. He is a member of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. In 2009, he was inducted into the U.S. National Academy of Engineering. He received the Honorary Doctorate in Engineering from Oregon State University, citing “a lifetime dedicated to analog circuit design”, and the Doctor Honoris Causa from the University of Cluj-Napoca, citing “exceptional contributions to the theoretical and practical development of electronics and widespread reputation in the world of science”.
When Barrie Gilbert turns his mind to an area of design, expect the unexpected. In this first article in a series of several, Barrie starts the design of a versatile audio test bench sine-...