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David Lindorff Sr. Dies: Radar Pioneer, Engineering Professor, Jungian Analyst and TCBH! Contributor


David Plimpton Lindorff, an occasional contributor to ThisCantBeHappening! and one of the last surviving members of the Radiation Lab, a top-secret World War II project in Cambridge, MA that led to the placing of radar on aircraft, died March 15 in Storrs, CT at the age of 89 as a result of complications from ataxia.

Lindorff, a native of Flushing, NY, was a polymath, an artist/writer/scientist/philosopher/analyst who, after writing an acclaimed book, Theory of Sampled Data Control Systems (Wiley, 1965), which addressed some fundamental challenges posed in analog computing, and working in his chosen field of engineering and computer science, took early retirement from the University of Connecticut at the age of 57 to remake himself as a licensed Jungian analyst and scholar.

It was a second career he pursued for another 28 years, and it led to his writing a second book. Pauli and Jung: A Meeting of Two Great Minds (Quest Books, 2004). This volume, which is based on two decades of letters of correspondence between Jung and a famous patient of his, the enigmatic and brilliant theoretical physicist Wolfgang Pauli, explores the issues of genius, creativity, and these two men’s discourses and debates over such concepts of quantum theory, synchronicity and the controversial notion of mind over matter.

Lindorff’s leap from engineering to a study of the psyche came in 1979. He said he was in the UConn faculty club dining hall having a weekly lunch with an informal group of professors who liked to practice their German, when the topic turned to a court decision, just in the news, in which several male state employees had won a lawsuit claiming discrimination because at the time, female state workers could retire at 60, while men had to wait until they were 65. Lindorff said, “With my three years’ military credit, I could retire now!” A colleague advised him, “If you’re going to do that, you better do it right away, because this decision is going to be so expensive it’s bound to be overturned on appeal.” Lindorff left his lunch, pushed back his chair, got up, and walked across the campus to the personnel office and filed for retirement. “I didn’t even call my wife to discuss it!” he said. Shortly after this impulsive act, the court ruling was overturned as predicted, but Lindorff and a few others who had already filed their papers were allowed to remain retired.

D.P. Lindorff, Sr., electrical engineer to Jungian analyst, wartime researcher to pacifist, 1922-2012D.P. Lindorff, Sr., electrical engineer to Jungian analyst, wartime researcher to pacifist, 1922-2012 (photo by Dave Lindorff, Jr.)

story | by Dr. Radut