Edward E. Simmons
Edward E. Simmons Jr. was an electrical engineer
Electrical engineering
Electrical engineering is a field of engineering that generally deals with the study and application of electricity, electronics and electromagnetism. The field first became an identifiable occupation in the late nineteenth century after commercialization of the electric telegraph and electrical...

 and the inventor of the bonded wire resistance strain gauge
Strain gauge
A strain gauge is a device used to measure the strain of an object. Invented by Edward E. Simmons and Arthur C. Ruge in 1938, the most common type of strain gauge consists of an insulating flexible backing which supports a metallic foil pattern. The gauge is attached to the object by a suitable...


Simmons attended the California Institute of Technology
California Institute of Technology
The California Institute of Technology is a private research university located in Pasadena, California, United States. Caltech has six academic divisions with strong emphases on science and engineering...

, where he received a B.S. in 1934 and an M.S. in 1936. He continued to work for the Institute under Assistant Professor Donald Clark. In 1938, Simmons invented the strain gauge. Caltech claimed the patent on the strain gauge, but Simmons took his case to the Supreme Court of California
Supreme Court of California
The Supreme Court of California is the highest state court in California. It is headquartered in San Francisco and regularly holds sessions in Los Angeles and Sacramento. Its decisions are binding on all other California state courts.-Composition:...

, and won patent rights in 1949.

The Franklin Institute
Franklin Institute
The Franklin Institute is a museum in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and one of the oldest centers of science education and development in the United States, dating to 1824. The Institute also houses the Benjamin Franklin National Memorial.-History:On February 5, 1824, Samuel Vaughn Merrick and...

 awarded Simmons the Edward Longstreth Medal in 1944.

Simmons became notably eccentric later in life, dressing in quasi-medieval attire, including tights, a tutu, a turban, and white women's sandals. He was commonly known among Caltech students as the "Millikan Man," due to his habit of wandering the campus late at night, particularly in the vicinity of Millikan Library. He was known among staff of Caltech as "Renaissance Ralph", and was generally shunned by staff, who were uncertain of his status relative to the institute. One other nickname on campus was "Dr. Strange Gauge". Simmons was repeatedly picked up by Pasadena police who found him wandering nude in the vicinity of Caltech.

He died of cancer in 2004.

External links

  • http://online.ceb.com/calcases/C2/34C2d264.htm Simmons vs. Caltech
  • http://pr.caltech.edu/periodicals/EandS/articles/LXVII2/simmons.html Obituary (with photo)
  • http://www.sciencebits.com/Crackpots Description of Simmons as a "crackpot"
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