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Three faculty members from the UCLA Henry Samueli School of Engineering and Applied Science have been elected to the National Academy of Engineering, one of the highest professional distinctions awarded to engineers.
Frank Chang, professor of electrical engineering; Yahya Rahmat-Samii, distinguished professor of electrical engineering; and William W-G Yeh, distinguished professor of civil and environmental engineering, are among 65 U.S. members and nine foreign associates elected in 2008, the academy announced Friday.
"Bill, Frank and Yahya are truly outstanding scholars and engineers, and they are richly deserving of this special honor," said Vijay K. Dhir, dean of the engineering school. "They each have made world-changing contributions to their respective fields, and we are delighted that their exemplary careers have been recognized with membership in the National Academy of Engineering."
Academy membership honors those who have made outstanding contributions to engineering research, practice or education. Established in 1964, the academy shares responsibility with the National Academy of Sciences for advising the federal government on questions of policy in science and technology.
UCLA Engineering is now home to 22 affiliated faculty members who belong to the National Academy of Engineering. With three members elected this year, UCLA, along with Harvard University and the University of California, Berkeley, had the most new members elected in 2008.
Mau-Chung Frank Chang, who directs UCLA's high-speed electronics laboratory, has made seminal contributions to the discovery, development and commercialization of III-V-based heterojunction bipolar transistors (HBTs) and field-effective transistors (FETs) for RF wireless communications. His pioneering work in realizing mass-produced GaAs HBT integrated circuits and power amplifiers has enabled modern wireless communications that require sophisticated modulations for high data rates and high output to cover a wide area with minimum battery-power consumption. These systems, including mobile phones and wireless LAN systems, cannot be realized at low cost without using such high-efficiency, high-linearity power amplifiers.
"When I started to work on this technology, people said that GaAs integrated circuits would only be a technology for the future," Chang said. "I am blessed that I had the opportunity to participate in its development phase with a group of distinguished researchers and to carry this through all the way to its production and commercialization. I'm proud to say that in everyone's pocket there is more than one HBT device working for their personal benefit for communications."
Indeed, GaAs HBT technology has evolved into a billion-dollar industry. In the last decade, 4 billion GaAs HBT power amplifiers have been shipped, and in 2007, 95 percent of the world's 1.2 billion mobile phones and 200 million wireless LAN units were equipped with GaAs HBT power amplifiers.
While at Rockwell, Chang led the transfer of HBT technology from the science center to the product division and oversaw efforts to establish a worldwide commercial supply of low-cost metal-organic chemical vapor deposition (MOCVD) HBT epimaterials with high reliability. He has also made several pioneering contributions to high-speed integrated circuit development.
In the early 1990s, Chang's team mass-produced GaAs HBT power amplifiers to enable the deployment of the first commercial CDMA handsets in Hong Kong and South Korea, and then throughout the world. In 2006, he was honored with the David Sarnoff Award from the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) for his contributions to HBT power amplifier development.
Chang has authored more than 250 technical papers and 11 book chapters and holds 20 U.S. patents. He received Rockwell's Leonardo Da Vinci Award in 1992 and was named an IEEE fellow in 1996. He received the National Chiao-Tung University's Distinguished Alumni Award in 1997 and the National Tsing Hua University's Distinguished Alumni Award in 2002. He served as the editor of the IEEE journal Transaction on Electronic Devices from 1999 to 2001, and he was a guest editor of IEEE's Journal of Solid-State Circuits in 1991 and 1992 and Journal of High Speed Electronics and Systems in 1994.
Chang received his bachelor's degree in physics from National Taiwan University, his master's in materials science from National Tsing Hua University and his doctorate in electrical engineering from National Chiao-Tung University, Taiwan, R.O.C. He joined the UCLA materials science and engineering department in 1979 as a postdoctoral fellow under professor Alfred S. Yue. In 1997, following a career in industry, he returned to UCLA Engineering as a faculty member.
Yahya Rahmat-Samii, who holds UCLA's Northrop Grumman Chair in Electromagnetics, has made pioneering research contributions in the development and measurement of reflector and hand-held device antennas. Many of his designs are currently used in cell phones, planetary spacecraft looking for the origin of the universe and life, earth observation satellites and satellite dishes.
"I am very proud of the fundamental work that my group at UCLA Engineering and I have undertaken over many years in advancing the art, science and engineering of antenna designs for space, earth observation and personal communication applications," Rahmat-Samii said. "This is a great honor to have these contributions recognized. And it is my utmost aspiration to continue to tackle frontiers in engineering and science and not be scared if I fail. In our next attempt, we will for sure discover something new!"
Rahmat-Samii joined the UCLA Engineering faculty in 1988, after working as a senior research scientist at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory. In the summer of 1986, he was a guest professor at the Technical University of Denmark.
Rahmat-Samii has authored or co-authored more than 750 technical journal articles and conference papers, 25 book chapters, and three books and is the holder of several patents. He has been an editor and guest editor for a number of technical journals and has served as chairman and co-chairman of several national and international symposia.
Rahmat-Samii has been involved with the IEEE Antennas and Propagation Society for many years in several capacities, including as president in 1995 and vice president in 1994. He was elected an IEEE fellow in 1985. He was a director and vice president of the Antennas Measurement Techniques Association for three years and currently serves as a full member on several commissions of the United States National Committee of the International Union of Radio Science.
His honors include the 2007 Chen-To Tai Distinguished Educator Award from the IEEE Antennas and Propagation Society; the 2006 NASA Board Award; the 2005 International Union of Radio Science's Booker Gold Medal; election as a foreign member of the Royal Flemish Academy of Science and the Arts in 2001; an honorary doctorate in 2001 from Spain's University of Santiago de Compostela; the 2000 Antenna Measurement Techniques Association's Distinguished Achievement Award; the IEEE's Third Millennium Medal; a distinguished alumni award from the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign; and the Antennas and Propagation Society's Harold A. Wheeler Best Applications Prize Paper Award — in 1991, and again in 1994.
Rahmat-Samii served as chair of the UCLA Department of Electrical Engineering from 2000 to 2005 and was a member of the university's Graduate Council for three years. He received his master's and doctorate in electrical engineering from the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, and his bachelor's, with the highest distinctions, from Iran's University of Tehran.
William Yeh pioneered the development of large-scale optimization models that utilize systems analysis techniques to plan, manage, and operate several of the nation's large-scale water resources systems. The methodology — as well as the algorithms that he developed for the real-time operation of complex, multiple-purpose, multiple-reservoir systems — has been adopted in the U.S. and throughout the world, most notably in Brazil, Canada, Korea, and China and Taiwan.
Additionally, Yeh pioneered the development of nonlinear inverse algorithms for parameter identification in groundwater hydrology and founded the field of inverse modeling in subsurface hydrology. The methodologies and algorithms that Yeh developed for parameter estimation have been widely used in groundwater modeling.
"Upon reflection I consider myself the beneficiary of both nurturing surroundings and exceptional people and attribute any accomplishments, in large part, to them," Yeh said. "I am particularly grateful to my students for the mutual exchange of ideas over the years. I hope they have learned from me, and I know I have become a better scholar and person because of them."
Yeh's work has earned him distinction both nationally and internationally. In 1989, he received the American Geophysical Union's Robert E. Horton Award, now known as the Hydrological Sciences Award, and in 1993 he was elected a fellow of the union. He received the American Society of Civil Engineers' Julian Hinds Award in 1994 and was granted honorary membership in the society in 1996 for his "distinguished career as a scholar in education and private practice in the fields of water resources engineering and groundwater hydrology." In 1999, Yeh received the Warren A. Hall Medal from the Universities Council on Water Resources for his "unusual accomplishments and distinction in the water resources field."
Yeh has made major contributions to the profession through his service to the American Society of Civil Engineers and the American Geophysical Union, including serving as editor of the ASCE Journal of Water Resources Planning and Management from 1988 to 1993.
Yeh earned his doctorate from Stanford University. Since joining UCLA in 1967, he has served on the faculty in several capacities, including twice as a department chair (from 1985-88 and 2002-07). In 1975, he received the UCLA Engineering Alumni Association's Distinguished Faculty Award for excellence in teaching. To date, Yeh has graduated 48 doctoral students, many of whom are now successful teachers, researchers and practicing engineers at various distinguished institutions and industries in the United States and abroad.
The National Academy of Engineering's mission is to promote the technological welfare of the nation by gathering the knowledge and insights of eminent members of the engineering profession. The NAE is the portal for all engineering activities at the National Academies, which along with the NAE include the National Academy of Sciences, the Institute of Medicine and the National Research Council. The National Academy of Engineering includes 2,227 U.S. members and 194 foreign associates.
The UCLA Henry Samueli School of Engineering and Applied Science, established in 1945, offers 28 academic and professional degree programs, including an interdepartmental graduate degree program in biomedical engineering. Ranked among the top 10 engineering schools at public universities nationwide, the school is home to seven multimillion-dollar interdisciplinary research centers in space exploration, wireless sensor systems, nanotechnology, nanomanufacturing and nanoelectronics, all funded by federal and private agencies.
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