Remembering Bob Pease
    What's All This Bob Pease Stuff, Anyways?    

Bob Pease


Legendary analog circuit design expert Robert A. Pease died on June 18, 2011.  During his 33-year career at National Semiconductor, Bob received 21 patents and designed more than 20 integrated circuits.  Bob Pease was loved by the analog community and we celebrate Bob's passion for analog.

East Coast Beginnings

After attending Northfield Mount Herman High School in Massachusetts, Bob earned a Bachelor of Science degree in electrical engineering from MIT in 1961 and started working at George A. Philbrick Researches.  The Boston-based company launched the commercial use of the operational amplifier in 1952.  There Bob worked on affordable mass-produced op-amps using discrete solid-state components.  He passed up an opportunity to work at nearby Analog Devices and instead moved to the San Francisco Bay Area to work at National in 1976, which had rapidly become one of the top three U.S. semiconductor companies on the strength of its analog technology.

Among the semiconductor products Bob designed are temperature-voltage frequency converters used in groundbreaking medical research expeditions to Mt. Everest in the 1980s.  He also designed a seismic pre-amplifier chip used to measure lunar ground tremors in the U.S. Apollo moon landing missions.  Among his more memorable designs are the LM331 voltage-to-frequency converter and the LM337 adjustable voltage regulator.

"Bob Pease was one of those analog engineers who spanned the semiconductor industry's early history," said EDN columnist Paul Rako, a former colleague.  "He started working on vacuum tubes and discrete components, then monolithic analog circuits with the planar process.  Later in his career he put all of this accumulated knowledge to use as an applications engineer.  That's what gave him such breadth."

Analog Seminars & Pease Porridge

Bob's reputation grew as he shared the secrets of analog design with engineers around the world via National's Analog Seminars.  Bob's passion for sharing information knew no bounds.  He worked long hours from home as well as at National answering phone calls and emails from anyone with questions about analog design: customers, students, veteran engineers — it didn't matter.

"Discussing the solutions made one think differently and look at alternative possibilities," said strategic technologist Don Archer.  "It was a fun time working with Bob and he loved working through difficult problems to find elegant answers."

During his tenure, he began writing a continuing popular monthly column in Electronic Design magazine entitled "Pease Porridge" about his experiences in the world of electronic design and application.  Stories often started with his trademark expression, "What's All This [topic] Stuff, Anyhow?"  He also wrote for EDN magazine for a time.  He authored eight books, his most popular being Troubleshooting Analog Circuits.  He also had his own his own website at with the subtitle, "What's All This Homepage Stuff, Anyhow?" where you can find "several kinds of useful information" as well as Bob's passion for Nepal and its people.

Analog by Design Show

Starting in 2003, Bob hosted the semiconductor industry's first online webcast tailored specifically for analog design engineers.  The "Analog By Design Show" was an engineering talk show by engineers for engineers.  Early segments of the half-hour talk show included co-hosts Paul Rako and Paul Grohe, plus a guest expert.  As Bob's reputation grew and he became a face of National, his persona grew as well.  His image was featured in many promotions, often with a humorous slant.  Behind the humor, there was always a serious note around engineering excellence.  As part of a campaign to help engineers avoid repeating old mistakes in their new band gap reference circuits, Bob donned an outlandish "Czar of Band-Gaps" uniform.

"Bob Pease goes back to the wild days of analog design," Rako said.  "This is when a core group of passionate engineers and scientist would work hard, play hard, and do as they pleased."

The Right Stuff

Recently Bob was working on material called "How to Choose an Op-Amp" featuring sage advice and his inimitable style.  He was also updating the popular application note, AN-31, a collection of op-amp circuits dating back 1969.  He was in the process of writing about the history and evolution of these circuits and the best ways to implement these circuits using today's op-amps.

Bob received many awards for his work, including the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Embedded Systems Conference (2010) and Electronic Design magazine's Electronic Engineering Hall of Fame (2002).  He was listed as one of the top 10 analog engineers of all time in a 2009 EE Times story (Additional Info).

TI Fellow Dennis Monticelli remembers Bob as a helpful colleague and friend.  "We go way back to my days as a green engineer when his gregarious personality and sheer knowledge drew me in.  Bob was always generous with his time and never forgot what interested you whether work-related or not.  He could multi-task like no other, yet also dive deep and narrow into esoteric areas.  While famous for his analog expertise and passion for seat-of-the-pants engineering, his interests were actually quite broad and he would gladly engage on a wide variety of subjects.  I will miss him yet take solace in the fact that his legacy lives on in the hearts and minds of true analog engineers everywhere."

"The industry has lost an analog giant," said former National CEO Don Macleod.  "Bob Pease was an extraordinarily talented engineer who cared deeply that others gained the knowledge they needed to advance their own work.  He was a spokesperson for us for many years, with a worldwide following."

Bob Pease is a hero of the analog world.  We will miss him greatly.

Notes on Death

"Some sleazebag auto 'journalist' has already blogged about the irony of Bob dieing from a car crash after writing the book 'How to Drive into Accidents, and How Not To.'  The thing is, Bob hit the first tree on steep driveway out of the parking lot of the Mountain Winery where he had shown up late for Jim Williams memorial.  Bob had walked up the hill to the event and back down to the parking lot, and most likely had a stroke or heart attack as he left.  He was not conscious when he left the road.  It was not really an accident the way most people think of it, as something that Bob could have avoided.  Oh, also - Bob showed up way late, the function was over, I waved to him as I drove my motorcycle out of the parking lot.  He was not at the memorial, he missed it.  There was no alcohol available, it had been put away an hour earlier.  His wife tells me he was at work that day, which is the only thing that would have made him late - Bob was working with the National web group on three hot projects."    --- Paul Rako - June 27, 2011.

Bob's Stuff

  1. The Best of Bob Pease Website  Download Bob's National website and navigate the pages on your computer.  (20.4M PDF)
  2. Bob Pease Lab Notes - 2005  What's All This Common-Mode Rejection Stuff, Anyhow?  (3.8M PDF)
  3. Pease Porridge Column Online  At Electronic Design magazine.
  4. Pease Porridge - Part 1  Scans of the original Electronics Design articles, 1990-1992  (18.1M PDF)
  5. Pease Porridge - Part 2  Scans of the original Electronics Design articles, 1993-1995  (30.9M PDF)
  6. Pease Porridge - Part 3  Scans of the original Electronics Design articles, 1996-1998  (23.2M PDF)
  7. Pease Porridge - Part 4  Scans of the original Electronics Design articles, 1999-2001  (24.0M PDF)
  8. Pease Porridge - Part 5  Scans of the original Electronics Design articles, 2002-2004  (10.9M PDF)
  9. Pease Porridge - Part 6  Scans of the original Electronics Design articles, 2005-2007  (12.7M PDF)
  10. Pease Porridge - Part 7  Scans of the original Electronics Design articles, 2008-2011  (15.9M PDF)
  11. Troubleshooting Analog Circuits  Original article series in EDN magazine from 1989 to 1990.  (14.6M PDF)
  12. Random Collections of Articles and Book Chapters  (16.2M PDF)
  13. FOCUS ON: Bob Pease on Analog - Vol. 1  A compendium of technical articles from legendary Electronic Design engineer Bob Pease.  (10.7M PDF)
    • Remembering Bob Pease
    • What's All This Designer Stuff, Anyhow?
    • What's All This Analog Engineering Stuff, Anyhow?
    • What's All This Technical Reading Stuff Anyhow?
    • What's All This Transimpedance Amplifier Stuff, Anyhow?
    • What's all This Frequency To Voltage Converter Stuff, Anyhow?
    • What's All This Capacitor Leakage Stuff, Anyhow?
    • What's All This Noise Gain Stuff, Anyhow?
    • What's All This Current Limiter Stuff, Anyhow?
    • What's All This Output Impedance Stuff, Anyhow? - Part 1
    • What's All This Output Impedance Stuff, Anyhow? - Part 2

  14. FOCUS ON: Bob Pease on Analog - Vol. 2  A compendium of technical articles from legendaryElectronic Design engineer Bob Pease.  (2.1M PDF)
    • What's All This Battery-Powered Stuff, Anyhow?
    • What's All This Battery-Charging Stuff, Anyhow?
    • What's all this Soakage Stuff, Anyhow?
    • What's All This Future Stuff, Anyhow?
    • What's All This Ripple Rejection Stuff, Anyhow? - Part 1
    • What's All This Ripple Rejection Stuff, Anyhow? - Part 2
    • What's All This One-Transistor Op-Amp Stuff, Anyhow?
    • What's All This Bridge Amplifier Stuff, Anyhow?
    • What's All This Best Amplifier Stuff, Anyhow?
    • What's All This Profit Stuff, Anyhow?


  15. Troubleshooting Analog Circuits
  16. Circuit Design: Know It All
  17. Analog Circuits: World Class Designs
  18. History of Semiconductor Engineering  by Bo Lojek, edited by Bob Pease
  19. Videos

  20. What's All This Distortion Stuff, Anyhow?  Bob Pease discusses analog distortion in op-amp circuits including measuring and reducing distortion.  (YouTube)
  21. What's All This Signal Current-Source Stuff, Anyhow?  Bob Pease, Alan Martin, Paul Rako, and Paul Grohe discuss current source circuits for signaling applications such as sensors, video, etc.  (YouTube)
  22. What's All This High-Noise Amplifier Stuff, Anyhow?  Bob Pease and friends discuss low noise amplifier design and analysis, including a demonstration of TI Instruments' LabVIEW SignalExpress on an active filter circuit built using TI's WEBENCH Active Filter Designer.  (YouTube)
  23. What's All This Scope Probe Stuff, Anyhow?  Bob Pease andf friends discuss high frequency scope probes and high-speed measurement tips.  (YouTube)
  24. What's All This Analog Computing Stuff, Anyhow?  Bob Pease discusses an analog computer circuit a simple six op-amp circuit to make an analog computer that represents the familiar problem of forced, damped harmonic motion.  (YouTube)
  25. What's All This Active Filter Stuff, Anyhow?  Bob Pease discusses active filter design including types of filters, filter response, and the WEBENCH Active Filter Designer tool.  (YouTube)
  26. What's All This Current-Source Stuff, Anyhow?  (YouTube)
  27. What's All This Femtoampere Stuff, Anyhow?  (YouTube)
  28. What's All This Wattmeter Stuff, Anyhow?  (YouTube)
  29. Milliohms, Micro-ohms, Nano-ohms...  (YouTube)
  30. High Definition Function Generation  (YouTube)
  31. What's All This Data Transfer Stuff, Anyhow? - Part 1  Bob Pease, Howard Johnson, and friends discuss high-speed analog and digital data transfer topics and demonstrate a 1.5 GSPS data conversion subsystem.  (YouTube)
  32. What's All This Data Transfer Stuff, Anyhow? - Part 2  Bob Pease, Howard Johnson, and friends discuss high-speed analog and digital data transfer topics and demonstrate a 1.5 GSPS data conversion subsystem.  (YouTube)
  33. High Frequency Techniques  (YouTube)

Friends' Stuff

  1. Remembering Bob Pease  From Texas Instruments  (YouTube)
  2. Bob Pease's Office  From Paul Rako  (YouTube)
  3. What's All This RIP (Rest In Pease) Stuff, Anyhow?  by Paul Rako
  4. Analog Expert Bob Pease dies in Accident  by Bill Schweber
  5. Analog Engineering Legend Bob Pease Killed in Car Crash  by Paul Rako
  6. Interview with Bob Pease: EEWeb Interview
  7. Bob Pease Didn't Hate SPICE Models  by Paul Rako
  8. Remembering Bob Pease The Writer  by Don Tuite
  9. PCB Design 007 Panel Interview
  10. Bob Pease Remembered for Pease Porridge and a Whole Lot More  by Joe Desposito
  11. An English Major Remembers an Analog Giant  by Richard Gawel
  12. Analog Engineering Legend Bob Pease Remembered by Friends  by Paul Rako

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