Winter 2024 Bulletin

Remembrance: Arthur Gelb


In Memoriam:
Arthur Gelb (1937–2023)


A black and white headshot of Arthur Gelb. He has short hair and wears a tweed suit with a white collared shirt and tie. He smiles gently at the viewer.
Photo Courtesy of Gary Zakon.

Arthur Gelb, a prominent member of the American Academy since 2000, died on November 8, 2023. He served as the Chairman of the Academy’s Investment Committee and as a member of the Academy Trust. For many Academy Induction ceremonies his role was to introduce the Class I speaker (in the mathematical and physical sciences).

Arthur lived a life that can be described as the fulfillment of the proverbial American dream. Over his noteworthy career, he was deeply engaged as a scientist, entrepreneur, investor, philanthropist, supporter of medical research, and lover of music.

Arthur was born in 1937, the child of immigrant parents. He was orphaned at the tender age of sixteen. From that point forward, he became the primary organizer and manager of his life and career. After attending high school in Brooklyn, he graduated from the City College of New York, and received a master’s degree in applied physics from Harvard and a doctorate in systems engineering from MIT.

He then began a lifelong relationship with the MIT community and cofounded The Analytic Sciences Corporation (TASC) in 1966. Under his leadership as Chairman and CEO, TASC produced twenty-seven consecutive years of growth while employing more than two thousand three hundred people in twenty-five locations worldwide. During this period, TASC became known for solving some of the most difficult top security problems in information management, decision support, and engineering for the U.S. government and other customers.

Following TASC’s acquisition, Arthur became president of Four Sigma Corporation, which focused on the development and use of algorithmic trading methods for financial markets. This work, and his related efforts as an independent investor, consultant, and advisor, further developed and utilized the analytical and decision-making skills he employed at TASC.

A scientist by nature, he published more than twenty-five papers in technical journals. His passion was solving difficult problems, and he turned his philanthropic focus to curing cancer, a disease that was intensely personal for him. A member of the Executive Committee of the Board and later a Distinguished Trustee of the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Arthur saw a rare opportunity to bring the talents of MIT’s Koch Institute and the Harvard/Dana Farber Cancer Institute together in 2010 under The Bridge Project, which has become a highly successful research collaboration attracting extensive funding.

As a philanthropist, he contributed time and financial support to the organizations he believed in and where he felt his contributions would do the most good. As he wrote in his autobiography, “Each of us must recognize our duty to work for the betterment of society by sharing our one truly priceless asset: our time.” He also had a lifelong love of music, was an Overseer Emeritus of the Boston Symphony Orchestra, and would often say, “Music moves me emotionally the way few things can.”

Throughout his remarkable life of achievement, Arthur was recognized by a wide range of organizations. In addition to being a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, he was a member of the National Academy of Engineering. He served on the Board of Directors of the Massachusetts Port Authority and the Massachusetts Board of Regents of Higher Education. He was a Life Member Emeritus of the MIT Corporation, a member of the visiting committees for several departments at MIT, and a member of the Lincoln Laboratory Advisory Board. He was a Fellow of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers and a Fellow of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics.

Arthur will be remembered as a caring husband, father, and grandfather. He was devoted to his wife, Linda. He was loved, admired, and cherished by his ten grandchildren, who came to him constantly for advice, which he generously shared.

Arthur Gelb’s wonderful passion for life, his sense of humor, his love and devotion to his family, his continuous focus on trying to make things better and to always search for the truth, are qualities all of us should attempt to emulate.

Arthur L. Goldstein
Chairman and CEO Emeritus,
Ionics, Incorporated