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Fri, September 28, 2018
On Sunday, Sept. 30, during its 2018 annual meeting, the National Academy of Engineering (NAE) will present two awards for extraordinary impact on the engineering profession. The Simon Ramo Founders Award will be presented to Thomas Kailath for his research contributions and leadership in engineering. The Arthur M. Bueche Award will be given to Venkatesh Narayanamurti for his contributions to technology research, policy, and national and international cooperation.
Regarded as a leader in the fields of electrical engineering, Thomas Kailath is being recognized with the Simon Ramo Founders Award “for pioneering contributions to diverse fields of electrical engineering and for leadership in technology commercialization and in engineering education, guiding a stellar array of young scholars.” The award acknowledges outstanding professional, educational, and personal achievements to the benefit of society and includes a commemorative medal.
Kailath’s research and teaching have spanned a number of engineering and mathematical disciplines, with the major focus of his research changing roughly every decade. In the 1960s he contributed to information and communication theory. Next he turned his attention to state space estimation and control. In the 1980s he led a large research group in four major areas: smart antenna array processing, adaptive filtering, special purpose VLSI architectures for signal processing and fast matrix and linear algebra computations. In the 1990s his group made contributions to two areas of semiconductor manufacturing: rapid thermal processing and optical lithography, where they showed how to break the widely believed 100 nm barrier for the smallest achievable critical dimensions. Kailath received a 2012 National Medal of Science “for transformative contributions to the fields of information and system science, for distinctive and sustained mentoring of young scholars, and for translation of scientific ideas into entrepreneurial ventures that have had a significant impact on industry.” In 2017 he was honored with the Marconi Society’s Lifetime Achievement Award. He has also received the IEEE’s Education and Signal Processing Medals and its highest award, the IEEE Medal of Honor, “for exceptional contributions to the development of powerful algorithms for communications, control, computation, and signal processing.” Kailath is an elected member of NAE and Hitachi America Professor of Engineering, Emeritus, at Stanford University.
Venkatesh Narayanamurti is the Benjamin Peirce Research Professor of Technology and Public Policy at Harvard University. He will be presented the Arthur M. Bueche Award “for seminal contributions to condensed matter physics and visionary leadership of multidisciplinary research in industry, academia, and national labs that generated research and engineering advances.” The award recognizes an engineer who has shown dedication in science and technology as well as active involvement in determining U.S. science and technology policy, and includes a commemorative medal.
Narayanamurti was previously the John L. Armstrong Professor and founding dean of the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences (SEAS), professor of physics, dean of physical sciences at Harvard, and, from 2009 to 2015, director of the Science, Technology, and Public Policy Program at the Harvard Kennedy School. He was dean of the University of California, Santa Barbara (UCSB) College of Engineering (1992–1998), vice president for research at Sandia National Laboratories (1987–1992), and spent much of his scientific research career at AT&T Bell Laboratories (1968–1987), where he became director of the Solid State Electronics Research Laboratory (1981–1987). Narayanamurti is credited with developing the field of phonon optics — the manipulation of monoenergetic acoustic beams at terahertz frequencies — and is active in the field of semiconductor nanostructures. He is an elected member of the National Academy of Engineering and Royal Swedish Academy of Engineering Sciences, and a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, American Physical Society, American Association for Advancement of Science, Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, Indian Academy of Sciences, and Indian National Academy of Engineering.
The mission of the NAE is to advance the well-being of the nation by promoting a vibrant engineering profession and by marshaling the expertise and insights of eminent engineers to provide independent advice to the federal government on matters involving engineering and technology. The NAE is part of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine, an independent, nonprofit organization chartered by Congress to provide objective analysis and advice to the nation on matters of science, technology, and health.