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PASSINGS: Bob Pease

Bob Pease, 70, a prominent Silicon Valley engineer and author of several books on analog chip design, died Saturday evening when his car crashed into a tree in Saratoga, Calif., southwest of

San Jose

.

Pease, who was not wearing a seat belt while driving his vintage Volkswagen Beetle, struck the tree head-on and died instantly, according to the

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Highway Patrol. Authorities said Pease was coming out of the Mountain Winery driveway, but it was not clear if alcohol played a role in the crash.

A

San Francisco

resident known for his brilliant mind, eccentric personality and flowing white beard, Pease worked for 33 years as an analog chip designer at

National Semiconductor Corp.

in nearby Santa Clara.

Among his most important designs were a temperature-voltage frequency converter taken on medical research expeditions to Mt. Everest, a seismic pre-amplifier chip to gauge lunar ground tremors on

NASA's

Apollo missions to the moon and the LM337 negative voltage regulator.

Robert Allen

Pease was born Aug. 22, 1940, in

Rockville

, Conn., and earned a bachelor's degree in electrical engineering at the

Massachusetts Institute of Technology

in 1961.

He worked for George A. Philbrick Researches in

Boston

designing operational amplifiers, analog computing modules and voltage-frequency converters until 1976, when he moved to National Semiconductor. He left the company in 2009.

In addition to well-regarded scientific volumes such as "Troubleshooting Analog Circuits," Pease also wrote

.

He also was the author of "How to Drive Into Accidents — And How Not to."

-- Los Angeles Times staff and wire reports
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