UC Berkeley press release


Retired UC Berkeley professor of mechanical engineering Yasundo Takahashi has died at the age of 84

by Robert Sanders

Berkeley -- Yasundo Takahashi, professor emeritus of mechanical engineering at the University of California at Berkeley, died Tuesday, Oct. 29, of cancer at his home in Kensington, Calif. He was 84.

An expert in automatic control and the design of control systems, Takahashi taught at UC Berkeley from 1957 until his retirement in 1979. He specialized in automobile control systems, and more recently in computer software for automatic control.

He was the author of three books in Japanese and main author of two books in the United States on automatic control. Up until the time of his death he served as a senior technical consultant with Mikuni/Berkeley Research & Development of Richmond, Calif.

Born in Nagoya-shi, Japan (d.o.b. 6/12/12), Takahashi graduated from Tokyo Imperial University (now the University of Tokyo) in 1935, and returned to finish his doctorate in mechanical engineering in 1946. In the interim he served as an assistant design engineer with the Japanese Government Railways (1935-37) and as a professor at Yokohama Technical College and Nagoya Imperial University.

He taught at Tokyo University from 1944 until he moved to UC Berkeley in 1957.

In 1994 he received one of Japan's sought-after biannual awards from Japanese Emperor Akihito, the "Third Class Order of the Sacred Treasure," for his service to Toyohashi Technical and Scientific University, where he served as a professor from 1979 until 1982. While there, he chaired a committee on international relations and lectured on automatic control.

Among other awards he has received are an honorary degree in 1978 from the University of Grenoble in France, and the Oldenburger Award from the American Society of Mechanical Engineers. In 1994 he received the first Koseki-Sho (which means award for lifetime achievement) from the Japan Society of Measurement and Automatic Control for his contributions over half a century, including founding a predecessor of the society after the war.

He was an honorary member of both the Japanese Society of Mechanical Engineers and the Japanese Society of Automatic Control, and a lifetime fellow of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers.

Takahashi is survived by his wife Kuwako, his son-in-law James Earle Canfield and granddaughter Maya Canfield, both of Grand Rapids, Michigan; sister-in-law Hisako Yasuda of Tokyo; and niece Mari Kohjima of Rancho Palos Verdes.

There will be a memorial service on Sunday, Nov. 3, at 3:00 p.m. at the Northbrae Community Church, 941 The Alameda, Berkeley.

The family requests no flowers, but donations may be made in honor of Professor Yasundo Takahashi to the Alta Bates Comprehensive Cancer Center c/o Alta Bates Foundation, 2850 Telegraph Avenue, 6th Floor, Berkeley, CA 94705.


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