CHAPEL HILL: Dr. Paul Eliot Green, Jr., American scientist and electrical engineer, passed away peacefully at his home in Chapel Hill on March 22, 2018, surrounded by his loving family. He was born in Chapel Hill on January 14, 1924, the son of Elizabeth and Paul Green, the well-known North Carolina playwright. He attended the University of North Carolina, majoring in physics and serving in the Naval ROTC. He received a master’s degree in electrical engineering from NC State in 1948, and continued his education at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where he received a Ph.D. in 1953. Since its inception in 1982, he served as a Trustee of the Paul Green Foundation, which carries on his father’s legacy of supporting the arts and human rights.

Green was at MIT’s Lincoln Laboratory from 1951 to 1969. In 1969 he joined the IBM Watson Research Center in Yorktown Heights, NY, and became head of IBM Research communications department. In 1988 he headed the optical communications research group, which was acquired by Tellabs Co where he worked from 1997 until 2000. Following his retirement he lobbied for broad public access to fiber optic technology. Green published extensively during his career; major works include Fiber Optic Networks (1992) and Fiber to the Home: The New Empowerment (2005).

During his professional career Green was at the forefront of research in a broad range of technologies: cryptography, radar, range-Doppler mapping, earthquake prediction, and optical communications. A major contributor to modern communications, he built the first spread spectrum system and invented the RAKE anti-multipath receiver. Green was a fellow of IEEE (The Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers), president of its Communications Society (1991-92) and a frequent contributor to its publications. He was elected to the National Academy of Engineering in 1981 and was the recipient of numerous awards, including the IEEE Aerospace and Electronics Society Pioneer Award (the Simon Ramo Medal 1981), the Distinguished Alumnus Award of North Carolina State University (1983), the IBM Outstanding Innovation Award (1986), and the Edwin H. Armstrong Award of the IEEE Communications Society (1989).

Green’s interests and accomplishments were wide-ranging. He was a passionate classical music lover and an enthusiastic amateur pipe organ builder, pianist, and flautist. His many musical projects included cataloguing all of Bach’s cantatas; hosting numerous house concerts at his former homes and at The Cedars in Chapel Hill; and discovering, through months of relentless detective work, two unknown piano compositions by Robert Schumann which have since been published. He encouraged in his children a deep love of art, music, and the dropping of watermelons from great heights, for which they are forever grateful.

Paul Green was dearly beloved and will be remembered forever by a large family and a wide circle of friends. He was pre-deceased by his beloved wife of 61 years, Dorrit “Skip” Gegan Green, and by his youngest sister Janet Green Catlin. He is survived by his five adoring children, Dorrit Green of Charlottesville, VA; Nancy Green of Chapel Hill, NC; Joanna Green of Ithaca, NY; Paul McAllister Green of Durham, NC; and Gordon Green of Amherst, MA; his sister Byrd Green Cornwell of Morganton, NC; his sister Betsy Green Moyer of Concord, MA; his eight grandchildren; numerous nieces and nephews; and his dearest companion, Kani Hurow.

A Celebration of Paul Green’s Life will be held on April 28, 2018 at The Cedars in Chapel Hill.