Paying Tribute to Former Vice President of IEEE’s Publication Services and Products Board

Syracuse University engineering professor Tapan Kumar Sarkar dies at 72

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Joanna Goodrich is the associate editor of The Institute

Photo of Tapan Kumar Sarkar
Photo: Syracuse University

THE INSTITUTE Tapan Kumar Sarkar, the 2020 vice president of the IEEE Publication Services and Products Board, died on 12 March at the age of 72. The life Fellow was an active volunteer who held many high-level IEEE positions. 

Sarkar was an engineering professor in the electrical and computer engineering department at Syracuse University, in New York. He also was president of OHRN Enterprises, a company in DeWitt, N.Y., that performed systems analysis for government agencies and other organizations.

Sarkar received the 2020 IEEE Electromagnetics Award “for contributions to the efficient and accurate solution of computational electromagnetic problems in frequency and time domains, and for research in adaptive antennas.”

He earned a bachelor’s technical degree in 1969 from the Indian Institute of Technology Kharagpur. He moved to Canada and earned a master’s degree in 1971 from the University of New Brunswick in Fredericton. Four years later, he earned master’s and doctoral degrees from Syracuse.

In 1975 he went to work for electronics manufacturer General Instrument Corp. in Horsham, Pa., as an engineer. After a year, he left to pursue a career in academia and joined the faculty at the Rochester Institute of Technology, in New York. In 1977 he was named a research fellow at the Gordon McKay Laboratory of Applied Science at Harvard. After completing his one-year appointment, he returned to RIT, then left in 1985 to become an engineering professor at Syracuse.

Throughout his career, he researched numerical solutions for operator equations arising in electromagnetics and signal processing that could be applied to system design. His research enabled the development of numerical methods for the design of several types of antennas, including those used in mobile phones and satellites.

He authored or coauthored more than 300 journal articles, numerous conference papers, 32 book chapters, and 15 books.


Sarkar was an IEEE volunteer for more than 40 years and held leadership positions at the section, region, and institute levels. 

He was the 2014 president of the IEEE Antennas and Propagation Society. He served as vice president of the IEEE Applied Computational Electromagnetics Society. He volunteered for the Nominations, History, and Fellow committees.

From 1986 to 1989 he served as associate editor of IEEE Transactions on Electromagnetic Compatibility and from 2004 to 2010 of IEEE Transactions on Antennas and Propagation.

He received the 1979 Best Paper Award from IEEE Transactions on Electromagnetic Compatibility.

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