The SETI Institute bids a fond farewell to Al Bagley, former Trustee and insightful leader.
Al Bagley, one of the transformational engineers in Hewlett-Packard’s early days and a long-time member of the SETI Institute’s Board of Trustees, passed away on 24 June at the age of 94.
At the SETI Institute, Bagley was known as a generally taciturn and occasionally flinty board member with a deep background in technical innovation and management. A graduate of Caltech and Stanford, Al had decades of experience solving problems in the pressure cooker world of high-tech – experience that prompted insightful comments on the development of equipment for the Allen Telescope Array, an instrument that was being planned and constructed during his Board tenure.
Al (known to colleagues as “Bags”) was one of the handful of HP pioneers who established the company’s impressive reputation for solidly-built measuring equipment during its first few decades, eventually heading up what became known as the Frequency and Time Division. The cesium atomic clock developed under Bagley’s leadership became the forerunner to equipment that proved the tenets of Special Relativity and also made applications such as GPS feasible. Without doubt, Al was part of the team that ushered in Hewlett-Packard’s Golden Age.
Bagley’s presence on the SETI Institute’s Board was part of a small parade of H-P luminaries who guided the research organization in its formative years. Al was an exceptional talent and singular personality – one that all who knew him will miss.