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Nominations Sought for Marconi Society’s Young Scholar Award

Past recipients have included creative, entrepreneurial, and technically savvy IEEE members

3 min read
Photo of the Young Scholars of the Marconi Society
Past recipients of the Marconi Society Paul Baran Young Scholar Award.
Photo: Marconi Society

THE INSTITUTE IEEE and the Marconi Society share deep roots. For those of you who aren’t familiar with the latter organization, let me make a quick introduction. The Marconi Society, which I chair, is a foundation that celebrates, inspires, and connects innovators who are building tomorrow’s technologies in service of a digitally inclusive world.

IEEE and the Marconi Society each honor luminaries who have made today’s connected world possible. The Marconi Society’s cadre of Marconi Fellows and Lifetime Achievement Award recipients include such innovators as IEEE Fellows David Forney, Tom Kailath, and Andy Viterbi as well as Jacob Ziv and Guglielmo Marconi himself. In fact, 15 IEEE Medal of Honor recipients—including David, Tom, and Andy—and nine IEEE Claude E. Shannon Award recipients also have been honored by the Marconi Society.

We have another common bond: our shared passion for supporting and developing the next generation of engineers who will create the technology for a better tomorrow.

IEEE does that through its honor society, Eta Kappa Nu, and the society’s Outstanding Young Professional Award.

The Marconi Society demonstrates our commitment through the Paul Baran Young Scholar Award, for which we are seeking nominations through 15 May. I invite you to nominate the best and brightest young researchers you know. The Young Scholar award is honestly one of my favorite things about the Marconi Society, because it offers the opportunity to positively impact promising young careers.


As is the case with the awards for established scientists, IEEE and the Marconi Society also share younger honorees. They include 2012 Young Scholar Guilhem de Valicourt and 2013 Young Scholar Salvatore Campione—both recipients of IEEE-HKN’s Outstanding Young Professional Award.

This common interest means that a number of IEEE members are likely to know qualified researchers who would be excellent candidates for the Marconi Society’s Young Scholar awards.


Our Young Scholars are 41 of the world’s most creative, entrepreneurial, and technically savvy young researchers. Hailing from every continent except for Antarctica, they are in tenure-track positions at the world’s leading universities and push the frontiers of new technology at top companies and research organizations.

Because the Marconi Society was conceived as a fellowship, the Young Scholars enjoy particularly close relationships with Marconi Society luminaries such as Marty Cooper, Arogyaswami Paulraj, and Sir David Payne.

I believe I speak on behalf of our Fellows and our board when I say how much I enjoy meeting and sharing ideas with our Young Scholars.

I hope they find those interactions as beneficial as I do—I learn so much every time I am with them. It is an honor to offer career guidance and introductions to further research or entrepreneurial pursuits, or to simply talk about the future.

I am particularly proud of the Celestini Program, founded and led by our Young Scholars. The program offers experiential learning opportunities to aspiring undergraduate engineering students in emerging countries by providing mentorship, community-based design training, student stipends, and equipment. Students select problems that are critical in their local area and create network-based proofs of concept to solve them. Projects have included reducing maternal mortality in Uganda, improving air quality in India, increasing government transparency in Rwanda, and delivering more crops through better irrigation in Colombia.


In addition to outstanding relationship building and social impact opportunities, Young Scholars also receive global recognition for their work, as well as a US $5,000 stipend. Candidates must be 27 or younger (born in 1992 or later). That’s the age when Marconi completed the first transatlantic transmission in 1901.

We seek diversity in gender, geography, and discipline.

Nominators are typically professors, mentors, and managers. If you believe you are a candidate for the award, ask your professor, manager, or mentor to nominate you.

Candidates are evaluated based on technical excellence, contributions to digital inclusivity and entrepreneurial spirit—criteria that we believe will help us recognize the next Guglielmo Marconi, Marconi Fellow or IEEE Medal of Honor recipient.

To nominate a person, complete this form.

IEEE Fellow Vint Cerf is the chair of the Marconi Society.

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Economics Drives Ray-Gun Resurgence

Laser weapons, cheaper by the shot, should work well against drones and cruise missiles

4 min read
In an artist’s rendering, a truck is shown with five sets of wheels—two sets for the cab, the rest for the trailer—and a box on the top of the trailer, from which a red ray is projected on an angle, upward, ending in the silhouette of an airplane, which is being destroyed

Lockheed Martin's laser packs up to 300 kilowatts—enough to fry a drone or a plane.

Lockheed Martin

The technical challenge of missile defense has been compared with that of hitting a bullet with a bullet. Then there is the still tougher economic challenge of using an expensive interceptor to kill a cheaper target—like hitting a lead bullet with a golden one.

Maybe trouble and money could be saved by shooting down such targets with a laser. Once the system was designed, built, and paid for, the cost per shot would be low. Such considerations led planners at the Pentagon to seek a solution from Lockheed Martin, which has just delivered a 300-kilowatt laser to the U.S. Army. The new weapon combines the output of a large bundle of fiber lasers of varying frequencies to form a single beam of white light. This laser has been undergoing tests in the lab, and it should see its first field trials sometime in 2023. General Atomics, a military contractor in San Diego, is also developing a laser of this power for the Army based on what’s known as the distributed-gain design, which has a single aperture.

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