At the beginning of his career, Prof. Lotfi Zadeh enjoyed capturing the people around him in a series of black and white portraits. He joined the EECS faculty in 1959 after stints at Columbia and Princeton. As department Chair from 1963-68, he led the charge to change the name of the department from Electrical Engineering to Electrical Engineering and Computer Sciences, making Berkeley the first university to do so. Over the course of his pioneering career, he traveled widely and held a variety of visiting appointments at other institutions like MIT, IBM Research, SRI International, and Stanford.
Lotfi’s life was built on a broad cultural and political framework. He was born in Azerbaijan to a Russian mother and local father, and grew up in Iran before moving to the States. He spoke a number of languages, surrounded himself with a cosmopolitan crowd, and always kept his mind open to new ideas. He cultivated many friendships with people in all walks of life, all over the world. His expansive interests are reflected in the subjects of his portraits, which were taken during the first two decades of his career. Everyone appealed to him: beautiful people, politicians, mathematicians, scientists, artists, engineers, theorists, even the occasional dermatologist.