Gerald J Posakony received a BSEE degree in electrical engineering from Iowa State University in Ames, Iowa. After working several years as an engineer for Decimeter, Inc. (a small electronics firm in Denver, CO) and as a field engineer for Motorola, Inc., he joined the faculty of the University of Colorado Medical Center as a research engineer. There he conducted pioneering research in medical diagnostic ultrasound with Douglass Howry, William Roderick Bliss and Richard Cushman at the University of Colorado, and produced the first B-mode scanner in the United States. They published their first 2D pictures in 1950.
By 1951 Howry, Posakony and Bliss introduced multiposition, or compound, scanning to eliminate "false" echoes and produce better images. This incarnation incorporated an immersion tank system using a cattle-watering tank with the ultrasonic transducer mounted on a wooden rail, The transducer, immersed in the tank with the object under study, moved horizontally along the rail. When this equipment produced improved pictures, the Howry team published for the first time in 1952. A later version, introduced in 1954, included a transducer mounted on the rotating ring gear from a B-29 gun turret, which in turn was mounted around the rim of a large metal cup that served as the immersion tank. This permitted complete horizontal circling of the periphery of the tank, while a second motor produced back-and-forth motion as the transducer moved around the tank, resulting in compound scanning of the immersed subject.
A final version, the pan-scanner, was developed at the University of Colorado Medical Center in the late 1950s under a Public Health Service Grant. This scanner, in which a transducer carriage rotated on a semi-circular water-filled pan that wasstrapped to the patient's body, was developed specifically to eliminate the need for total immersion of ill patients.
Posakony left the University to join Automation Industries, Inc., advancing to Vice President and General Manager of the Research Division in Boulder, Colorado. In this capacity, he was responsible for the developmental research, instrument design, technical procedures and manufacture of systems for Nondestructive Evaluation (NDE) technology in ultrasonic, eddy current, infrared and magnetic methods.
Posakony acted in the capacity of Consultant in later developments of the Denver group. In 1973, he joined the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL), one of nine U.S. Department of Energy multiprogram national laboratories, as manager of the NDE Section. This Section was responsible for the design, development and deployment of advanced NDE technology. He became manager of the Automation and Measurement Sciences Department in 1986. The Department staff included physicists, computer scientists, electrical and mechanical engineers, and technicians engaged in design, development and deployment of "first of a kind" inspection and measurement systems. In 1989, he became Deputy Manager of the Applied Physics Center with managerial responsibility for staff in the Automation and Measurement Science, Computational Science and Energy Science Departments of the Center.
While officially retired from PNNL, he remains on staff as an hourly professional to continue research, development and deployment of NDE Technology. Posakony has spent more than thirty-five years in the design, development and deployment of first-of-a-kind NDE inspection and measurement systems. He has continued personal research in ultrasonic transducers, inspection technology and ultrasonic wave propagation as well as other activities in the field of NDE.
Posakony personally holds more than 12 important patents in the field of ultrasonics and is author of more than 60 technical articles and publications. He is Associate Editor of the Research in Nondestructive Evaluation (Springer), and Journal for Nondestructive Evaluation (Plenum).
During his career he has received the following honors, awards and professional affiliations:
Fellow, American Institute for Ultrasonics in Medicine 1980; William Fry Memorial Lecture Award, AIUM 1981; AIUM, Pioneer Award 1988; Fellow, American Society for Nondestructive Testing (ASNT)1974; ASNT Lester Honor Lecture Award 1976; ASNT Gold Medal Award 1985; Fellow, American Society for Testing Materials (ASTM) 1990; ASTM, Award of Merit 1990; ASTM, 25 Year Recognition 1998; Member, American Society of Metals (ASM); Registered Professional Engineer (PE) (Quality Engineering); ASNT Level III Certification - - ULTRASONICS - - (MB-703); and National Research Council, NMAB Committees, 1969, 1977, 1983.
Picture courtesy of Mr. Posakony.
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