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Dr. Benjamin Patz Explains Orlando’s Charge Particle Accelerometer Project

Before moving to Orlando, research scientist Dr. Benjamin Patz worked at Martin Marietta in Middle River on Orlando’s  Charge Particle Accelerometer Project. Specifically, he was asked to calculate what the discharge rate would be due to cosmic rays. When he first came to Orlando he came down in 1963-64 to investigate the discharge of the charge particle in a 1 centimeter cube.  Dr. Patz explains the challenges of the project and the great people he worked with at Lockheed Martin in an interview on October 31, 2011.

Dr. Benjamin Patz’s scientific contributions to our area include working in the GENESYS Program at Cape Canaveral, Lockheed Martin, teaching at the Naval Training Equipment Center, Rollins College, and the University of Central Florida. His students from the Department of Electrical Engineering & Computer Science at UCF recall Professor Patz as a patient teacher who spent diligent time with everyone, undergraduate or graduate.  In the GENESYS Program at the Cape his students were people working at Martin Marietta and NASA. Dr. Patz says, “They had interesting problems they would discuss with you… It was a good chance to go over control systems, electromagnetic fields, the boundary value problems.”

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Dr. Benjamin Patz
Photo of Dr. Benjamin Patz, computer engineer, electrical engineer, research scientist. Dr. Benjamin Patz's scientific contributions to our area incl...
Dr. Benjamin W. Patz, Martin Marietta Company
1967 photo of Dr. Benjamin W. Patz, center, in a meeting with Martin engineers, management, and research scientists on the Solar Probe...
IEEE & Computer Technology in Central Florida

"Who wants to get a computer? Nobody volunteered so I was elected." So I put out a proposal to get a computer system at UCF and we got bids from Data General and Digital Equipment Corporation...

Remembering the assembly language, programming, machine code, software from the early 1970s at UCF. Dr. Benjamin Patz, worked in the Engineering and Computer Science Department at the time and recalls the department chair, Bruce Matthews, asking, "Who wants to get a computer?" Nobody volunteered so Dr. Patz took on the project. He describes the task of selecting equipment and getting good manuals for the students. He says, "You still talk to students who are using some of the same material even now."

He remembers when Dr. Simmons got an analog computer system at UCF. Then after they got the mini computer system, microcomputers started to come out and you could use an L socket to make electronic experiments. You could also build yourself a microcomputer.

Don Medoff, at Stromberg Carlson, a member of IEEE, Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers, and  IEEE Computer Society, was a founder of the microcomputer conferences in Orlando. Dr. Patz ran the conferences for several years. 

Dr. Patz shares how through his involvement with IEEE he met Terry Greenfield at the Cape, Ben Symeko at the Naval Training Equipment Center, and other people working on interesting computer projects in this area. He outlines some of the computer challenges and solutions which they faced as well as the benefits of building your own code.

Learn more about the history of computer technology in Central Florida in  this excerpt  (below) from an oral history interview with Dr. Benjamin Patz on October 31, 2011.

Dr. Benjamin Patz's scientific contributions to our area include working in the    GENESYS    Program at Cape Canaveral, Lockheed Martin, teaching at the Naval Training Equipment Center, Rollins College, and the University of Central Florida. His students from the Department of Electrical Engineering & Computer Science at UCF recall Professor Patz as a patient teacher who spent diligent time with everyone, undergraduate or graduate. In the GENESYS Program at the Cape his students were people working at Martin Marietta and NASA. Dr. Patz says, "They had interesting problems they would discuss with you... It was a good chance to go over control systems, electromagnetic fields, the boundary value problems."




Playing Bridge with Jonas Salk

"OPEN EXAMINATION" read the sign at the University of Pittsburgh announcing the opportunity for three chemists to work in the health department under Dr. Jonas Salk. Dr. Salk would choose the chemists with the three highest test scores from an open examination on Saturday recalls Anna Mae Patz. Anna Mae graduated from Carlow University with a BA in chemistry and a minor in mathematics in 1960. When she applied for a job as chemist at Koppers Metal, and at Westinghouse in the early sixties, the attitude was, "Honey, we've never hired a female chemist and we don't intend to so go look somewhere else." She did.

Anna Mae took the exam at the University of Pittsburgh, scored one of the top three test scores, and got the job working under Dr. Jonas Salk. She worked with Dr. Salk, played bridge with him in a tournament and won. She says, "He was a marvelous man".

In  this excerpt  from an oral history interview on November 15, 2011, Anna Mae Patz discusses working with Dr. Salk, moving to Orlando with her husband research scientist, Dr. Benjamin Patz, and how her search for a microscope for her children led to a 38 year career as an educator for Orange County Public Schools. Gain perspective and inspiration from chemist, mathematics educator, and mother of five, Anna Mae Patz.




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