Edward G. Ramberg

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Edward G. Ramberg

Birthdate: (88)
Death: 1995 (88)
Immediate Family:

Son of Walter Gustav Ramberg and Lucy Dodd Ramberg
Husband of Sarah Ramberg
Brother of Walter Gustave Charles Ramberg and Lucy Elizabeth Ramberg

Occupation: Physicist
Managed by: Private User
Last Updated:

About Edward G. Ramberg


Edward G. Ramberg (June 14, 1907 in Florence, Italy – January 9, 1995) was an American physicist who contributed to the early development of electron microscopy and color television. He was the uncle of Mario Capecchi, a 2007 Nobel laureate. His mother was an American painter, Lucy Dodd Ramberg (née Dodd), and his father a German archaeologist, Walter Ramberg. His father was killed while serving in World War I.

Life and Education

Ramberg and his mother moved from Italy to Munich for the remainder of World War I, and in 1920 they moved to his mother’s family home in Portland, Oregon. He graduated from Lincoln High School in 1922. That year he enrolled in Reed College, but two years later he transferred to Cornell University. During the years 1925 to 1927, he took a hiatus and worked for Bausch & Lomb on optical computing. Upon receipt of his bachelor’s degree from Cornell in 1928, he stayed at the University to work with Floyd K. Richtmyer. In 1930, Ramberg went to study with Arnold Sommerfeld at the Ludwig Maximilians University of Munich. He was granted his Ph.D. in 1932.

Edward and his wife (Sarah) were Quakers and, for that reason, during World War II he did alternative services that include: working at a mental institution, clearing swamps and served for testing vaccines against tropical diseases.


Upon return to the United States from Munich, Ramberg returned to Cornell and continued the work on which he based his thesis: X-ray satellites and line widths. In 1935, he left Cornell to take a position at RCA to work on both theoretical and experimental work on secondary emission, pickup tubes, and field electron emission. He later took part in the development of the theory of thermoelectric refrigeration and image tube aberrations and in demonstrating the mathematical operability of a multistage electrostatic electron multiplier. He also took part in construction of one of the first electron microscopes in the mid-1940s. He remained at RCA until 1972.

In addition to working at RCA, he was a visiting professor at the University of Munich in 1949 and, he was a Fulbright lecturer at the Technische Hochschule Darmstadt 1960-1961. In addition to co-authoring a number of books, he also translated Electrodynamik, Arnold Sommerfeld’s third volume in his six-volume Lectures on Theoretical Physics.


1957 – Elected a Fellow of the American Physical Society

1964 – David Sarnoff Outstanding Team Award in Science from RCA

1972 – David Sarnoff Award (co-sponsored by RCA and the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers) for his work on electron optics, electron physics, and television.

1989 – Karl Ferdinand Braun Prize from the Society for Information Display

Fellow of the Institute of Radio Engineers

Fellow of the American Physical Society

Selected Literature

Arnold Sommerfeld and E. Ramberg Das Drehmoment eines permanenten Magneten im Felde eines permeablen Mediums, Annalen der Physik 8 46-54 (1950) as cited in Sommerfeld Bibliography – Sommerfeld Project.


V. K. Zworykin and E. G. Ramberg Photoelectricity And Its Application (John Wiley and Sons, 1934)

E. E. Zworykin, G. A. Morton, E. G. Ramberg, J. Hillier, and A. W. Vance Electron Optics and the Electron Microscope (John Wiley & Sons, 1945)

Arnold Sommerfeld, translated from the German by Edward G. Ramberg Electrodynamics - Lectures on Theoretical Physics Volume III (Academic Press, 1952)

V. K. Zworykin, E. G. Ramberg, and L. E. Flory Television in Science and Industry (John Wiley and Sons, 1958)

A. M. Morell and E. G. Ramberg Color Television Picture Tubes (Academic Press, 1974)

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Edward G. Ramberg's Timeline

Age 88