Dickron Haig Mergerian

October 13, 1929December 29, 2018
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Dickron Haig Mergerian passed away surrounded by his loving family on December 29, 2018. Dr. Mergerian will always be remembered as the husband, father, grandpa, and friend that everyone loved. Dick was very dedicated to his work and his country. During his off time you would always see him running, windsurfing, vacationing at his home in Maine, watching the NY Giants, San Francisco Giants and, most of all, enjoying his family.

Dr. Mergerian earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees in Physics from Columbia University in 1951 and1952, respectively. Following service in the U.S. Army, he enrolled in graduate studies at the Illinois Institute of Technology where initially he had the good fortune to become involved in the very earliest efforts to develop fiber optics. He then went on to conduct his thesis research in electron paramagnetic resonance (EPR) studies of defect centers in crystalline solids. He received a Ph.D. in Physics from IIT in 1962.

Upon completion of his doctoral studies, he took a position as a fellow physicist in the Applied Physics Group at what later became the Westinghouse Defense & Electronics Systems Center in Baltimore, where he continued EPR studies on various materials, including in the analysis of irreversible changes in the blood of shock victims. He also pioneered in the utilization of EPR effects in recovery and extraction of very weak signals, work that culminated in a number of professional publications on spin echoes and the awarding of several U.S. patents. Over the course of the next several years, he became an advisory physicist in, and then manager of, Applied Physics Group, holding the latter position until his retirement in 1994. As manager of Applied Physics, his fields of interest expanded to include, among others, optics and optical signal processing, laser research and development, microwave spectroscopy and its application in radar, acousto-optics, integrated optics, photonics, and the use of optical components in specialty computing.

In the mid-1970s, he headed his group’s development of the Westinghouse cylindrical laser, one of the most powerful laser devices ever constructed under private funding. That effort led ultimately to a government-funded program for the development and testing of special optical systems for utilization in laser weapons applications.

Still in the 1970s he steered his group into research and development in integrated optics, an emerging field directed toward the shrinking of large, complex optical information processing systems into planar structures, an approach aimed at mirroring the development of integrated electronics in planar devise on silicon. These efforts resulted in invention of special lenses and other integrated optical components for study of acousto-optic interactions in signal processing and, ultimately, in the realization of the Integrated Optical RF Spectrum Analyzer, at its time the first and still the most complex integrated optical device yet reduced to practice. For this work, he received a prestigious IR-100 award in 1982. He and his group continued to explore application of acousto-optic devices in electronic and other signal processing through the remainder of his active career. His last major area of emphasis came in optical computing, a rather successful ten-year effort directed toward the employment of optical or photonic components in ulta-highspeed information processing for radar and communications applications. Dr. Mergerian had a least 15 patents issued in his name. He produced well over 30 technical publications in such fields as fiber optics, EPR studies, integrated optics, acousto-optical signal processing and optical computing. He also co-authored a chapter on integrated acousto-optics for a reference book on acousto-optic processing.

Dr. Mergerian was the beloved husband of 65 yrs. to Ann Mergerian (Nee Gamjian); devoted father of Jeff Mergerian and his wife Jennifer, Terri Kingeter and her husband Dave Shauck; Laurie Califano and her husband Ken, David Mergerian and his wife Karen, Julie Connelly and her husband Bill; dear brother of Alice Melkonian; cherished grandfather of Kerri Martin and her husband Ben, Mandi Harris and her husband Springer, D.J. Califano, Amy Mergerian, Kevin and Kenny Connelly, Blair and Max Mergerian; step-grandfather of Erik Helsing, Lissa O’Donnell, Cait Shauck; great grandfather of Chase Martin, Christopher and Elizabeth O’Donnell.

The family will receive friends in the Lemmon Funeral Home of Dulaney Valley, Inc. 10 W. Padonia Road (at York Road) Timonium, Maryland 21093 on Wednesday from 2:00 pm to 4:00 pm and 7:00 pm to 9:00 pm. A Funeral Service will be celebrated at Hunt's Memorial United Methodist Church, 1912 Old Court Road at W. Joppa Road, Towson, Maryland 21204 on Thursday, January 3, 2019 at 11:30 am. Expressions of sympathy may be directed in Dr. Mergerian’s name to Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, 891 Elkridge Landing Road, #150, Linthicum Heights, Maryland 21090.


  • Visitation Wednesday, January 2, 2019
  • Funeral Service Thursday, January 3, 2019
  • Committal Service Thursday, January 3, 2019

Dickron Haig Mergerian

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Mamdy Breedlove

January 2, 2019

What a powerhouse of a man and a life well-lived! I extend sincere condolences to Terri and the family.

Robert Norian

January 1, 2019

Dickron was my cousin, and I fondly recall him extending his help to me on a National Science Foundation project for high school students in the early 50s. It was an optics project — an area he would later become tremendously accomplished in. He was an inspiration to me in my future endeavors in engineering. Armine and I are proud of all his accomplishments and extend to the family our deepest condolences for your loss. May the memories you shared with him sustain you.

Roger and Irene Norian

December 30, 2018

I am unsure how Dickron Mergerian is related to my mother’s family, the Genjoyians, but I believe he is if one goes back to his Old Country heritage. That allows me to wonder at how his Armenian kinsmen massacred in 1915 would marvel at how he could amass such a body of highly technical accomplishments in physics in such a short period after the diaspora. Well done Dickron!!!