Doran Baker (center) retired from the Space Dynamics Laboratory in June 2021 after more than 60 years with the university. Pictured here with Dean Jagath Kaluarachchi (left) and Electrical and Computer Engineering Department Head Jacob Gunther. Photo courtesy of Utah State University.
NORTH LOGAN – The death of Doran Baker last week at the age of 90 ends an important chapter in the history of Utah State University’s Space Dynamics Laboratory (SDL).
After earning a PhD in Electrical Engineering at the University of Utah and completing post-doctoral study at Harvard University, Dr. Baker joined the USU faculty in 1959.
He helped establish USU’s Electro-Dynamics Lab which merged with another lab and later became the Space Dynamics Lab. SDL now employs more than 1,000 people and has put USU on the map as a hub for space research.
His life long passion was teaching and working with students. He was instrumental in developing USU’s involvement with the NASA space grant consortium as a way to enhance higher education opportunities for students.
He developed systems engineering and space instrumentation courses for NASA and led or participated in numerous expeditions to remotely sense terrestrial, atmospheric optical and microwave emissions using aeronautical and space vehicles.
Over the years he and his research team developed some of the most advanced and successful spectrometric and radiometric imaging sensors.
In addition to teaching and performing research, Dr. Baker accumulated industrial experience by working for seven different firms in the commercial sector and for two federal agencies. He authored a dozen books and hundreds of professional publications.
Last June, after 62 years at USU, he transitioned from teaching to emeritus status.
He is survived by his wife Kathy and children Suzan (Bruce), Steven (Kathy) and Philip (Tiffany), six grandchildren, three great grandchildren and his sister Karen.
A graveside service will be held Wednesday, May 11, at 10 a.m. at Providence Cemetery. A viewing will take place on Tuesday, May 10 from 6-8 p.m. at White Pine Funeral Services.