Marcel J. E. Golay

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Schematic of a Golay cell.
Schematic of a Golay cell[1]

Marcel J. E. Golay (French: [gɔlɛ]; May 3, 1902 – April 27, 1989) was a Swiss-born mathematician, physicist, and information theorist, who applied mathematics to real-world military and industrial problems. He was born in Neuchâtel, Switzerland.


Golay studied electrical engineering at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology ("ETH" in German) in Zürich, joining Bell laboratories in New York in 1924. He received a Ph.D. in physics from the University of Chicago in 1931. Leaving Bell labs, Golay joined the US Army Signal Corps, eventually rising to the post of Chief Scientist. He was based mostly in Fort Monmouth, New Jersey. In 1963, Golay joined the Perkin-Elmer company as Senior Research Scientist. Golay worked on many problems, including gas chromatography and optical spectroscopy. He remained with Perkin-Elmer for the rest of his life.


Significant bibliography[edit]

  • Notes on Digital Coding, Proc. IRE, vol. 37, p. 657, (1949)
  • Sieves for Low Autocorrelation Binary Sequences, IEEE Trans. Info. Theory, vol. IT-23, pp. 43–51 (1977)
  • Preparative Capillary Chromatography - A Proposal, Journal of High Resolution Chromatography & Chromatography Communications, Vol. 11, pp 6–8 (1988)
  • Complementary series, IRE Transactions on Information Theory, Volume: 7, Issue: 2, pp. 82–87 (1961) [1].
  • Bibliography of writings by and about Marcel Golay, including awards. Compiled by his daughter, Nona Golay Bloomer (2007).


  1. ^ D. Klocke, A. Schmitz, H. Soltner, H. Bousack and H. Schmitz, "Infrared receptors in pyrophilous ('fire loving') insects as model for new un-cooled infrared sensors," Beilstein Journal of Nanotechnology 2, 186 (2011), doi:10.3762/bjnano.2.22
  • MARCEL J.E. GOLAY (1902-1989) obituary in the June 1990 IEEE Information Society Newsletter (by James L. Massey).