In Memorium: Grant Imahara

By Corey Ruth

It is with great sorrow that we learned of the sudden passing of Grant Imahara last week, at the age of 49.

Imahara, an active IEEE senior member, graduated from the University of Southern California with a degree in Electrical Engineering. In a 2006 interview with IEEE Spectrum, he revealed that he was ready to quit and switch majors after two years at USC. Professor Tom Holman convinced him to stay, re-igniting Imahara’s passion for engineering.

After graduation, Imahara worked a gig with Holman (who also happened to be corporate technical director of Lucasfilm and developer of the THX Sound System) at THX Labs into a full-time job. When a two-week trial position at Lucasfilm’s Industrial Light and Magic model workshop opened up, Imahara jumped at the chance and ended up staying for nine years, racking up credits on blockbuster films like Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines, The Matrix Reloaded, and three Star Wars movies.

Many know Imahara from his later work in front of the camera on television, including shows BattleBots, Mythbusters, and The White Rabbit Project. Through these roles, he had a major impact on countless lives, with many fans – mirroring his conversation with Professor Holman back at USC – crediting Imahara with inspiring them to pursue careers in engineering. As Imahara himself put it, his goal was “making science fun; it’s really a fun world to open up to.” I think we all would agree. Rest in peace, Grant.

For more on Imahara’s career, and how he inspired the next generation of engineers, check out’s threepart interview with him at the 2018 IEEE VIC Summit.

Also see IEEE Spectrum’s celebration of Imahara’s life.


Guest Contributor

IEEE-USA is an organizational unit of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, Inc. (IEEE), created in 1973 to support the career and public policy interests of IEEE’s U.S. members. IEEE-USA is primarily supported by an annual assessment paid by U.S. IEEE Members.

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