Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering cum laude, University of California, Berkeley, 1970; Master of Science, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 1972; Doctor of Philosophy, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 1975.
He is known primarily for his work on microelectromechanical systems Petersen received his Bachelor of Science degree cum laude in Electrical Engineering from The University of California at Berkeley in 1970. He established a micromachining research group at International Business Machines Corporation from 1975 to 1982, during which he wrote the review paper “Silicon as a Mechanical Material,” published in the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers Proceedings (May 1982).
This paper is a highly referenced work in the field of micromachining and micro-electro-mechanical systems (Microelectromechanical Systems).
As of September 2014, Google Scholar reported 3087 citations. Since 1982, Doctor Petersen has co-founded six successful companies in Microelectromechanical Systems technology" Transensory Devices Incorporated. in 1982, NovaSensor in 1985 (now owned by General Electric), Cepheid in 1996 (now a public company on National Association of Securities Dealers Automated Quotation: CPHD), SiTime in 2004 (still private as of 2014), Profusa in 2008 (still private), and Verreon in 2009 (acquired by Qualcomm).
NovaSensor developed low cost micromachined blood pressure sensors using bulk silicon micromachining technology. Cepheid used microfluidic technology for rapid polymerase chain reaction detection.
In 2002, Red Herring ranked him as a Top Ten Innovator.
In 2011, Petersen joined the Band of Angels in Silicon Valley, an angel investment group which mentors and invests in early stage, high-technical start-up companies. As of 2014, his responsibilities include helping and mentoring technology startup companies. He has a unique visionary quality and foresaw technology potentials in society and industry.
Fellow: Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (general chairman solid state sensors workshop 1986, Simon Ramon medal 2001). Member: National Academy Engineering.
Married Carol Tao, September 24, 2000. Children: Scott Edward, Brett William.