John G. Truxal

February 19, 1924 – February 16, 2007

Brief Biography

John G. Truxal was a control theorist and Frederick W. Lanchester Prize recipient. After serving as a naval Radar Officer during the Second World War, Truxal graduated from Dartmouth College in 1946. He enrolled in at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology where he studied the mechanics of particles and systems under Ernst Adolph Guillemin. Truxal received his PhD in 1950 with a dissertation on servomechanism synthesis through pole-zero configurations. 

Truxal joined the faculty at Purdue University where he remained until 1954. His next position was with the Polytechnic Institute of Brooklyn where he graduated six PhD students. There, he chaired the department of electrical engineering and was eventually named Vice President of the school, holding that position for eleven years. He was named Dean of Engineering and Applied Sciences at the State University of New York at Stony Brook prior to returning to full-time teaching in 1977.  Though he retired in 1991, Truxal continues to direct the Stony Brook Center for the New Liberal Arts Program and is a principal investigator for the SUNY Research Foundation.

With Edward E. David and Emil Joseph Piel, Truxal authored The Man-Made World. The book was written to inspire young students of operations research to learn how OR can be applied to real-world problems. It presents a complete collection of programs that can be used to compliment laboratory work at varying levels of education. The Man-Made World was warmly received by students and instructors in the liberal arts and advanced high school classes. For its tangible presentation and ability to introduce readers to significant methodology with minimal mathematical training, the Operations Research Society of America honored the text’s authors with the Frederick W. Lanchester Prize for best OR publication in 1971.

Truxal received a number of other honors for his life’s work. He was an elected member of the National Academy of Engineering. In 1991 Truxal received both the Rufus Oldenburger Medal of the American Association of Mechanical Engineers and the Richard E. Bellman Control Heritage Award of the American Automatic Control Council for distinguished contributions to automatic control

Other Biographies

Wikipedia Entry for John G. Truxal

Engineering and Technology History Wiki. John G. Truxal. Accessed May 30, 2015. (link)

Purdue University School of Electrical and Computer Engineering. Alumni and Friends: John G. Truxal. Accessed July 20, 2015. (link)


Dartmouth College, BS 1946

Massachusetts Institute of Technology, ScD 1950 (Mathematics Genealogy)


Academic Affiliations
Non-Academic Affiliations

Key Interests in OR/MS


Awards and Honors

National Academy of Engineering 1965

Frederick W. Lanchester Prize 1971

IEEE James H. Mulligan, Jr. Education Medal 1974

Rufus Oldenburger Medal 1991

Richard E. Bellman Control Heritage Award 1991

Selected Publications

Truxal J. G. (1958) Control Engineers’ Handbook: Servo-Mechanisms. McGraw-Hill: New York.

Truxal J. G. (1972) Introductory Systems Engineering. McGraw-Hill College: New York.

Thompson W. B. & Truxal J. G. (1991) Controlling technology: contemporary issues. American Journal of Physics, 59(11): 1054-1054.

Truxal J. G. (2009) Automatic feedback control system synthesis. Physics Today, 8(8): 17-18.