Glen Edward Ellis was born May 6, 1936 in Comanche, Texas, to Castle B. and Frances Lucille Jones Ellis, their only child. He attended school in Comanche, graduating from Comanche High School in 1954.
Glen first joined Applied Research Laboratories (ARL) in 1956. He received his BS in 1958 and his MS in 1960 in physics from the University of Texas. After a brief period with Texas Instruments in Dallas, he returned to ARL:UT on 6 October 1958 as a Research Scientist. He was instrumental in the acquisition and installation of ARL and Central Texas’ first supercomputer, the CDC 3200. This involved installation of special flooring, air conditioning, and power facilities in the lean-to of the barracks building. He established the Computer Science Division in 1967. With his unerring instinct for the business side of the research programs, he set up the management philosophy that still guides the operations of research support today. Ellis was an early proponent of the idea that ARL should establish and maintain the highest quality computational resources possible. He believed that these resources would play a key role in two areas: one would give us entrée into advanced applications of computers in scientific data analysis, and the other would attract high-quality young researchers to benefit from computer sources.
Early in his career, Glen Ellis was involved in the development of solion hydrophones and their applications to measurement of seiche activity (oscillation of the surface of a lake or landlocked sea). This work resulted in a number of papers, conference presentations, and technical reports throughout the 1960s. He then became interested in applications of digital signal processing to underwater acoustics, in the analysis of tape recordings for the Long Range Acoustic Propagation for experimentation of low frequency passive sonar which, in turn stimulated his interest in computers.
In 1972, he helped establish the low frequency acoustics research program based on three strengths: an outstanding scientific staff, a keen interest in working with difficult problems, and strong computational resources that enabled state-of-the-art frequency acoustic modeling and experimental data analysis. He continued in this field until 1983.
In 1976, he became assistant director and his focus shifted toward management, though he continued to be an excellent sounding board for the technical direction and content of the research programs. He became associate director in 1980 and exerted a continuing strong influence over the development and maintenance of the lab’s operating philosophy. He continued to serve as ARL’s conscience, insisting that we remain true to our charter and to the principles that have made us successful.
He won the Jeffress Award in 1994, the highest honor bestowed by the Applied Research Laboratories.
Glen's first marriage was to Virginia Lee Walter of Austin on May 31, 1958. She was a student at the University of Texas. They had two children, Glen Edward Ellis and David Walter Ellis. Virginis later had a distinguished career as an educator. Her resumé reads, "Virginia Lee Walter, American psychologist, educator; Professor of educational psychology University Minnesota, Minneapolis, 1973–1985; President, School Resource Center, Austin, Texas, 1985–1990; Teacher. Llano Public Schools, 1988–1997; Named Minnesota Special Educator of Year, 1978; recipient Service award International Council Exceptional Children, 1978; Department of Health Office of Human Development Services grantee, 1976–1980; Department Education contractee, 1980–1983. Education: Bachelor of Science, University Texas, Austin, 1959. Master of Education, University Texas, Austin, 196, Doctor of Education, University Houston, 1973.
Glen's grandaughter, Jennifer (daughter of David Walter and Lisa Ellis) continued the physics tradition in the Ellis family. She graduated from the University of Texas at Austin in physics and astronomy. She was a member of Dean's Scholars. She currently is completing a PhD in physics at the University of Colorado in optical and x-ray science using new tabletop light sources. Her photo is at right. Her husband, Travis Autry is also a UT physics graduate who has his PhD from the U. of Colorado.
Virginia and Glen were divorced in 1963. Glen then married Jean Burwell Grebing in Dallas on July 10, 1964. Jean had attended Bryan Adams High School in Dallas, TX where she was an outstanding student participating in arts and sciences. She also attend the University of Texas at Austin studying architecture.
Glen's hobbies included sailing and woodworking.
Glen died at the age of 67 in Georgetown, Texas on December 8, 2003. He is buried in Oakwood Cemetery in Comanche, Texas.
Some of the information included here has come from A History of Applied Research Laboratories, Vol. 1, 1945–1980, by Chester McKinney and Clark Penrod. Special thanks to Glen's son, Glen E. Ellis, for providing information and contacts.
Glen Ellis Photo and Document Album