R. Martin Arthur, Ph.D., professor and interim chair of electrical and systems engineering, was installed as the Newton R. and Sarah Louisa Glasgow Wilson Professor of Engineering April 1 in Uncas A. Whitaker Hall for Biomedical Engineering.
The Wilson professorship was established with funds from a charitable trust Sarah Wilson had established at the University, the last gift among many for construction of facilities, faculty salaries and scholarships for women.
Born in St. Louis in 1858, Wilson was the daughter of William Glasgow Jr., one of the 17 charter members of the Corporation of Washington University, and the granddaughter of William Carr Lane, the first mayor of St. Louis. She was a graduate of the Class of 1876 at Mary Institute, then a girls’ preparatory division of the University.
In 1897, she married Newton R. Wilson, an 1879 graduate of the University with a degree in mining engineering. He contributed to the success of many American smelting companies until his interest shifted to lumber. He was president of the Industrial Lumber Co. in Louisiana when he died in 1914.
After her husband’s death, Sarah Wilson returned to St. Louis, where she died in 1938. Her interest in philanthropy extended to many organizations, including John Burroughs School, Mary Institute, the St. Louis Medical Society and Washington University.
Arthur is one of the world’s experts in using electrocardiographic data to image the electrical activity of the heart to gain new information about its condition. He also ranks among the world’s leaders in research on ultrasonic imaging systems.
Arthur earned bachelor of arts (1962), bachelor of science (1963) and master’s (1964) degrees in electrical engineering from Rice University. In 1968, he earned a doctorate in biomedical engineering from the University of Pennsylvania, where he developed methods to estimate cardiac activity from body-surface measurements.
Following postdoctoral work in auditory neurophysiology from 1969-1970 at Washington University, he joined the faculty. He was assistant professor of electrical engineering unitl 1975, when he became an associate professor. He was promoted to full professor in 1983.
He also is an affiliate professor of biomedical engineering.
He was a research associate of the Biomedical Computer Laboratory from 1973-1987 and director of the Clinical Engineering Program from 1975-1980.
“Martin Arthur carries on in the great tradition of the Wilson professorship in biomedical engineering,” said Christopher I. Byrnes, Ph.D., dean of the School of Engineering & Applied Science and the Edward H. and Florence G. Skinner Professor of Systems Science and Mathematics. “Martin has been a pioneer in the use of imagery and other engineering tools in medicine. For these reasons, it was very fitting that his installation occurred in Uncas A. Whitaker Hall for Biomedical Engineering. He is truly an inspiration to us all.”
From 2002-03, he was interim chair of the Department of Electrical Engineering and is now the interim chair of the newly formed Department of Electrical and Systems Engineering. During that period, faculty in the Computer Engineering Program in electrical engineering moved to the new Department of Computer Science and Engineering, and electrical engineering was merged with systems science and mathematics to form the Department of Electrical and Systems Engineering.
Arthur has been a researcher for more than 35 years. He is responsible for more than 60 articles, five book chapters and many conference presentations.
He has developed 12 new courses, including graduate-level offerings on the foundations of bioengineering, hospital electrical systems, biophysical measurements, principles of clinical engineering, quantitative image processing, multidimensional signal processing and principles of ultrasonic imaging.
Arthur is a fellow of the American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering, a senior member of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers and a registered engineer in the state of Missouri.