IEEE Honors Pioneering Engineers

Asad Madni and Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution are among the awardees

3 min read
A group of gold IEEE Medals on black background.
Find Out Who Received a 2021 IEEE Major Award
IEEE Awards Program

Meet the recipients of the 2022 IEEE medals, service awards, honorary membership, and corporate recognition. The awards are presented on behalf of the IEEE Board of Directors.

IEEE MEDAL OF HONOR

Sponsor: IEEE Foundation

ASAD M. MADNI

University of California, Los Angeles

“For pioneering contributions to the development and commercialization of innovative sensing and systems technologies, and for distinguished research leadership.”

IEEE FRANCES E. ALLEN MEDAL

Sponsor: IBM

Corecipients:

EUGENE W. MYERS

Max Planck Institute of Molecular Cell Biology and Genetics and Center for Systems Biology

Dresden, Germany

WEBB MILLER

The Pennsylvania State University, retired

State College, Pa.

“For pioneering contributions to sequence analysis algorithms and their applications to biosequence search, genome sequencing, and comparative genome analyses.”

IEEE ALEXANDER GRAHAM BELL MEDAL

Sponsor: Nokia Bell Labs

P. R. Kumar

Texas A&M University

College Station

“For seminal contributions to the modeling, analysis, and design of wireless networks.”

IEEE MILDRED DRESSELHAUS MEDAL

Sponsor: Google

ANANTHA CHANDRAKASAN

MIT

“For contributions to ultralow-power circuits and systems, and for leadership in academia and advancing diversity in the profession.”

IEEE EDISON MEDAL

Sponsor: Samsung Electronics Co.

ALAN BOVIK

The University of Texas at Austin

"For pioneering high-impact scientific and engineering contributions leading to the perceptually optimized global streaming and sharing of visual media.”

IEEE MEDAL FOR ENVIRONMENTAL AND SAFETY TECHNOLOGIES

Sponsor: Toyota Motor Corp.

Corecipients:

SAGAWA MASATO

Advanced Magnetic Materials

Korat, Thailand

JOHN J. CROAT

John Croat Consulting, Inc.

Naples, Fla.

“For contributions to the development of rare earth-iron-boron permanent magnets for use in high-efficiency motors, generators, and other devices.”

IEEE FOUNDERS MEDAL

Sponsor: IEEE Richard and Mary Jo Stanley Memorial Fund of the IEEE Foundation

JOHN BROOKS SLAUGHTER

University of Southern California, Los Angeles

“For leadership and administration significantly advancing inclusion and racial diversity in the engineering profession across government, academic, and non-profit organizations.”

IEEE RICHARD W. HAMMING MEDAL

Sponsor: Qualcomm

MADHU SUDAN

Harvard

“For fundamental contributions to probabilistically checkable proofs and list decoding of Reed-Solomon codes.”

IEEE MEDAL FOR INNOVATIONS IN HEALTHCARE TECHNOLOGY

Sponsor:IEEE Engineering in Medicine and Biology Society

JAMES G. FUJIMOTO

MIT

“For pioneering the development and commercialization of optical coherence tomography for medical imaging and diagnostics.”

IEEE THEODORE W. HISSEY OUTSTANDING YOUNG PROFESSIONAL AWARD

Sponsor: IEEE Young Professionals,Photonics Society,Power & Energy Society

EDHEM (EDDIE) ČUSTOVIĆ

La Trobe University

Bundoora, Victoria, Australia

“For leadership in the empowerment and development of technology professionals globally.”

IEEE JACK S. KILBY SIGNAL PROCESSING MEDAL

Sponsor: Apple

DAVID L. DONOHO

Stanford

“For groundbreaking contributions to sparse signal recovery and compressed sensing.”

IEEE/RSE JAMES CLERK MAXWELL MEDAL

Funder:ARM

INGO WOLFF

IMST GmbH

Kamp-Lintfort, Germany

“For the development of numerical electromagnetic field analysis techniques to design advanced mobile and satellite communication systems.”

IEEE JAMES H. MULLIGAN, JR. EDUCATION MEDAL

Sponsor: MathWorks, Pearson, Lockheed Martin Corp., and the IEEE Life Members Fund

NED MOHAN

University of Minnesota

Minneapolis

“For leadership in power engineering education by developing courses, textbooks, labs, and a faculty network.”

IEEE JUN-ICHI NISHIZAWA MEDAL

Sponsor: The Federation of Electric Power Companies, Japan

UMESH K. MISHRA

University of California, Santa Barbara

“For contributions to the development of gallium nitride-based electronics.”

IEEE ROBERT N. NOYCE MEDAL

Sponsor:Intel Corp.

JINGSHENG JASON CONG

University of California, Los Angeles

“For fundamental contributions to electronic design automation and FPGA design methods.”

IEEE DENNIS J. PICARD MEDAL FOR RADAR TECHNOLOGIES AND APPLICATIONS

Sponsor: Raytheon Technologies

MOENESS G. AMIN

Villanova University, Pa.

“For contributions to radar signal processing across a wide range of applications including through-the-wall imaging and health monitoring.”

IEEE MEDAL IN POWER ENGINEERING

Sponsors:IEEE Industry Applications,Industrial Electronics, Power Electronics, and Power & Energy societies

THOMAS M. JAHNS

University of Wisconsin, Madison

“For contributions to the development of high-efficiency permanent magnet machines and drives.”

IEEE SIMON RAMO MEDAL

Sponsor:Northrop Grumman Corp.

PRAVIN VARAIYA

University of California, Berkeley

“For seminal contributions to the engineering, analysis, and design of complex energy, transportation, and communication systems.”

IEEE JOHN VON NEUMANN MEDAL

Sponsor: IBM Corp.

DEBORAH ESTRIN

Cornell

“For leadership in mobile and wireless sensing systems technologies and applications, including personal health management.”

IEEE CORPORATE INNOVATION AWARD

Sponsor: IEEE

THE ARGO PROGRAM

Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, Mass.

“For innovation in large-scale autonomous observations in oceanography with global impacts in marine and climate science and technology.”

IEEE RICHARD M. EMBERSON AWARD

Sponsor: IEEE Technical Activities Board

FRED MINTZER

Blue Gene Watson Supercomputer Center

IBM T. J. Watson Research Center, retired

Yorktown Heights, N.Y.

“For outstanding leadership of technical activities including the IEEE Collabratec and TAB technology-centric communities.”

IEEE HARADEN PRATT AWARD

Sponsor: IEEE Foundation

JOSEPH V. LILLIE

BIZPHYX, retired

Lafayette, La.

“For sustained and outstanding focus on the engagement of volunteers and staff in implementing continuous improvement of IEEE operations.”

IEEE HONORARY MEMBERSHIP

Sponsor: IEEE

CALYAMPUDI RADHAKRISHNA (C.R.) RAO

The Pennsylvania State University

State College, Pa.

University at Buffalo

“For contributions to fundamental statistical theories and their applications to engineering and science, particularly in signal processing and communications.”

For additional information on the recipients and the awards process, visit the IEEE Awards website.

The Conversation (0)

Get unlimited IEEE Spectrum access

Become an IEEE member and get exclusive access to more stories and resources, including our vast article archive and full PDF downloads
Get access to unlimited IEEE Spectrum content
Network with other technology professionals
Establish a professional profile
Create a group to share and collaborate on projects
Discover IEEE events and activities
Join and participate in discussions

The Inner Beauty of Basic Electronics

Open Circuits showcases the surprising complexity of passive components

5 min read
Vertical
A photo of a high-stability film resistor with the letters "MIS" in yellow.
All photos by Eric Schlaepfer & Windell H. Oskay
Blue

Eric Schlaepfer was trying to fix a broken piece of test equipment when he came across the cause of the problem—a troubled tantalum capacitor. The component had somehow shorted out, and he wanted to know why. So he polished it down for a look inside. He never found the source of the short, but he and his collaborator, Windell H. Oskay, discovered something even better: a breathtaking hidden world inside electronics. What followed were hours and hours of polishing, cleaning, and photography that resulted in Open Circuits: The Inner Beauty of Electronic Components (No Starch Press, 2022), an excerpt of which follows. As the authors write, everything about these components is deliberately designed to meet specific technical needs, but that design leads to “accidental beauty: the emergent aesthetics of things you were never expected to see.”

From a book that spans the wide world of electronics, what we at IEEE Spectrum found surprisingly compelling were the insides of things we don’t spend much time thinking about, passive components. Transistors, LEDs, and other semiconductors may be where the action is, but the simple physics of resistors, capacitors, and inductors have their own sort of splendor.

High-Stability Film Resistor

A photo of a high-stability film resistor with the letters "MIS" in yellow.

All photos by Eric Schlaepfer & Windell H. Oskay

This high-stability film resistor, about 4 millimeters in diameter, is made in much the same way as its inexpensive carbon-film cousin, but with exacting precision. A ceramic rod is coated with a fine layer of resistive film (thin metal, metal oxide, or carbon) and then a perfectly uniform helical groove is machined into the film.

Instead of coating the resistor with an epoxy, it’s hermetically sealed in a lustrous little glass envelope. This makes the resistor more robust, ideal for specialized cases such as precision reference instrumentation, where long-term stability of the resistor is critical. The glass envelope provides better isolation against moisture and other environmental changes than standard coatings like epoxy.

15-Turn Trimmer Potentiometer

A photo of a blue chip
A photo of a blue chip on a circuit board.

It takes 15 rotations of an adjustment screw to move a 15-turn trimmer potentiometer from one end of its resistive range to the other. Circuits that need to be adjusted with fine resolution control use this type of trimmer pot instead of the single-turn variety.

The resistive element in this trimmer is a strip of cermet—a composite of ceramic and metal—silk-screened on a white ceramic substrate. Screen-printed metal links each end of the strip to the connecting wires. It’s a flattened, linear version of the horseshoe-shaped resistive element in single-turn trimmers.

Turning the adjustment screw moves a plastic slider along a track. The wiper is a spring finger, a spring-loaded metal contact, attached to the slider. It makes contact between a metal strip and the selected point on the strip of resistive film.

Ceramic Disc Capacitor

A cutaway of a Ceramic Disc Capacitor
A photo of a Ceramic Disc Capacitor

Capacitors are fundamental electronic components that store energy in the form of static electricity. They’re used in countless ways, including for bulk energy storage, to smooth out electronic signals, and as computer memory cells. The simplest capacitor consists of two parallel metal plates with a gap between them, but capacitors can take many forms so long as there are two conductive surfaces, called electrodes, separated by an insulator.

A ceramic disc capacitor is a low-cost capacitor that is frequently found in appliances and toys. Its insulator is a ceramic disc, and its two parallel plates are extremely thin metal coatings that are evaporated or sputtered onto the disc’s outer surfaces. Connecting wires are attached using solder, and the whole assembly is dipped into a porous coating material that dries hard and protects the capacitor from damage.

Film Capacitor

An image of a cut away of a capacitor
A photo of a green capacitor.

Film capacitors are frequently found in high-quality audio equipment, such as headphone amplifiers, record players, graphic equalizers, and radio tuners. Their key feature is that the dielectric material is a plastic film, such as polyester or polypropylene.

The metal electrodes of this film capacitor are vacuum-deposited on the surfaces of long strips of plastic film. After the leads are attached, the films are rolled up and dipped into an epoxy that binds the assembly together. Then the completed assembly is dipped in a tough outer coating and marked with its value.

Other types of film capacitors are made by stacking flat layers of metallized plastic film, rather than rolling up layers of film.

Dipped Tantalum Capacitor

A photo of a cutaway of a Dipped Tantalum Capacitor

At the core of this capacitor is a porous pellet of tantalum metal. The pellet is made from tantalum powder and sintered, or compressed at a high temperature, into a dense, spongelike solid.

Just like a kitchen sponge, the resulting pellet has a high surface area per unit volume. The pellet is then anodized, creating an insulating oxide layer with an equally high surface area. This process packs a lot of capacitance into a compact device, using spongelike geometry rather than the stacked or rolled layers that most other capacitors use.

The device’s positive terminal, or anode, is connected directly to the tantalum metal. The negative terminal, or cathode, is formed by a thin layer of conductive manganese dioxide coating the pellet.

Axial Inductor

An image of a cutaway of a Axial Inductor
A photo of a collection of cut wires

Inductors are fundamental electronic components that store energy in the form of a magnetic field. They’re used, for example, in some types of power supplies to convert between voltages by alternately storing and releasing energy. This energy-efficient design helps maximize the battery life of cellphones and other portable electronics.

Inductors typically consist of a coil of insulated wire wrapped around a core of magnetic material like iron or ferrite, a ceramic filled with iron oxide. Current flowing around the core produces a magnetic field that acts as a sort of flywheel for current, smoothing out changes in the current as it flows through the inductor.

This axial inductor has a number of turns of varnished copper wire wrapped around a ferrite form and soldered to copper leads on its two ends. It has several layers of protection: a clear varnish over the windings, a light-green coating around the solder joints, and a striking green outer coating to protect the whole component and provide a surface for the colorful stripes that indicate its inductance value.

Power Supply Transformer

A photo of a collection of cut wires
A photo of a yellow element on a circuit board.

This transformer has multiple sets of windings and is used in a power supply to create multiple output AC voltages from a single AC input such as a wall outlet.

The small wires nearer the center are “high impedance” turns of magnet wire. These windings carry a higher voltage but a lower current. They’re protected by several layers of tape, a copper-foil electrostatic shield, and more tape.

The outer “low impedance” windings are made with thicker insulated wire and fewer turns. They handle a lower voltage but a higher current.

All of the windings are wrapped around a black plastic bobbin. Two pieces of ferrite ceramic are bonded together to form the magnetic core at the heart of the transformer.

This article appears in the February 2023 print issue.

{"imageShortcodeIds":[]}