Alumni News – 2016/2017

08/2017 — Dr. Dan Goebel has been appointed JPL Fellow.

The Director of JPL, Dr. Mike Watkins, announced last week the selection of the 2017 class of JPL Fellows. 

The JPL Fellow position is the top of the Laboratory’s individual contributor career ladder, recognizing those few who have made extraordinary technical and institutional contributions to JPL over an extended period of time. Fellows are sought out for advice on strategic decisions that help determine the Laboratory’s future.

The selections are the consensus outcome of a rigorous process that included current JPL Fellows, management representatives from the JPL Directorates, and a subgroup of the JPL Executive Council.

This year, Dr. Dan M. Goebel was selected for this honor, along with four other new members.  The citation for his selection reads: “For seminal work in conceptualizing, implementing, and trouble-shooting electric propulsion technology for NASA missions, such as Dawn and Psyche, and serving as a JPL expert in other emerging mission technologies, including microwave sources, advanced plasma sources, high voltage engineering, and ultra-linear traveling wave tube amplifiers.” 

Dr. Goebel is an Adjunct Professor in the Electrical Engineering Department at UCLA.  He is a member of the National Academy of Engineering and the National Academy of Inventors, and a Fellow of the IEEE, AIAA and APS.

07/2017 – Continuing a family legacy of Bruin engineers, electrical engineering professor Asad Madni and his son, Jamal, are concurrently being honored by IEEE-HKN, the honor society for IEEE, in the same year.

Professor Madni (BS ’69, MS ’72) has been selected to receive the Vladimir Karapetoff Outstanding Technical Achievement Award in recognition of his career accomplishments, while Jamal (MSEE ’08, MSBME ’12) will receive the 2017 IEEE-HKN Outstanding Young Professional Award for his past achievements and future promise.

“My love for the quantitative began with the national IEEE Jr. Conference where Dad would mentor and attend my technical presentations as a pre-teen,” said Jamal, who is currently working on special projects for Boeing Satellite Systems.

“Fast forward to graduate school and when I chose UCLA, it meant the world to Dad to create that family legacy. And now, as a professional, to be honored together in such a unique way is part culmination, part celebration, and a testament to these two influential institutions in my life.”

Professor Madni currently guides doctoral research in high speed signal processing at UCLA, and previously served in senior executive roles at BEI Technologies and Systron Donner Corporation.

Professor Madni’s many accomplishments include the Extremely Slow Motion Servo Control System for Hubble Space Telescope’s Star Selector System, which provided the Hubble with unprecedented accuracy and stability, resulting in remarkable images that have enhanced our understanding of the universe. He was also behind the revolutionary MEMS GyroChip® technology that is used worldwide for electronic stability control and rollover protection in passenger vehicles.

On being recognized alongside his son, Professor Madni stated, “I hope this unique occasion will inspire the next generation of alums to continue to honor our electrical engineering department and our school.”

Professor Madni is a member of the National Academy of Engineering, Fellow of the National Academy of Inventors, a Fellow/Eminent Engineer of 14 of the world’s most prestigious professional academies and societies, and has been awarded five honorary doctorates and five honorary professorships. He is credited with over 170 refereed publications, 69 issued or pending patents, and is the recipient of numerous national and international honors.

At Boeing, Jamal is working on the integrated electronics suite for satellite payloads and is involved in a Bayesian network-based spacecraft diagnosis system to determine “spacecraft disease.”

He is a member of the Boeing Next 100 Team that seeks new technologies and markets for the company, and has been involved in new business capture efforts in laser communications, microelectronics and advanced analytics.

Jamal has been recognized with the 2016 SAE Foundation Young Industry Leader Award, the 2016 Engineers Council Future Technology Leader Award, the 2016 Institution for Engineering & Technology (IET) Sir Henry Royce Medal and the 2014 American Society of Engineers (ASEI) Young Engineer of the Year.

05/2017 – Distinguished Adjunct Professor Asad M. Madni has been elected a Fellow of the Royal Aeronautical Society (UK).
Distinguished Adjunct Professor Asad M. Madni has been elected a Fellow of the Royal Aeronautical Society (FRAeS), U.K. Established in 1866, the Society has been at the forefront of developments in aerospace, seeking to promote the highest professional standards and provide a central forum for sharing knowledge.

05/2017 – Distinguished Adjunct Professor Asad M. Madni has been awarded the Mahatma Gandhi Pravasi Samman Gold Medal.
Distinguished Adjunct Professor Asad M. Madni has been awarded the Mahatma Gandhi Pravasi Samman Gold Medal by the Government of India and the NRI Welfare Society. The Mahatma Gandhi Pravasi Gold Medal is awarded to recognize people of Indian origin for their outstanding contributions in their respective fields in the country of their residence and in the service of the wider global community. The official award ceremony will be held in the House of Lords, London, U.K. on September 25, 2017.

03/15/2017 – Distinguished Adjunct Professor Asad M. Madni selected to receive the 2017 Gordon Medal for Engineering Leadership.
In recognition of his visionary leadership, Distinguished Adjunct Professor Asad M. Madni has been selected to receive the 2017 Gordon Medal for Engineering Leadership from the Bernard and Sophia Gordon Engineering Leadership Center at The Jacobs School of Engineering, University of California San Diego (UCSD). The medal will be presented officially at an awards ceremony to be held at UCSD on May 12, 2017.

12/21/2016 – Distinguished Adjunct Professor Asad M. Madni Awarded IEEE Visionary Leadership Award.
At the Annual Awards Banquet on December 21, 2016 the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) San Fernando Valley Section presented Distinguished Adjunct Professor Asad M. Madni with the Visionary Leadership Award “For visionary leadership, remarkable innovations, and seminal and pioneering contributions to science and technology that have had a worldwide impact and significantly benefited humanity.”

11/28/2016 – Distinguished Adjunct Professor Asad M Madni Awarded an Honorary Doctorate and Chair Professorship from The National Chiao Tung University (NCTU), Hsinchu, Taiwan.
“In recognition of his outstanding achievements in science, engineering, technology innovation, and corporate management,” on November 28, 2016, Distinguished Adjunct Professor Asad M. Madni was awarded an “Honorary Doctor of Philosophy Degree (Hon. Ph.D.)” and “Chair Professorship” from The National Chiao Tung University (NCTU), Hsinchu, Taiwan. After the ceremony, Professor Madni delivered a lecture, “GRAND CHALLENGES FOR ENGINEERING PROPOSED BY THE US NATIONAL ACADEMY OF ENGINEERING” for faculty, students, staff, visiting scholars and distinguished guests.

10/05/2016 – Distinguished Adjunct Professor Asad M Madni was invited to deliver a lecture
on Enabling Technologies to Address the Grand Challenges in Engineering.

Distinguished Adjunct Professor Asad M Madni was invited by the Florida International University (FIU) to deliver a lecture on Enabling Technologies to Address the Grand Challenges in Engineering. The lecture was delivered to faculty, students and staff at FIU as part of the university’s Distinguished Speaker Series

5/10/2016 – Distinguished Adjunct Professor Asad M. Madni awarded 2016 Ellis Island Medal of HonorDistinguished Adjunct Professor Asad M. Madni was awarded a 2016 Ellis Island Medal of Honor by the National Ethnic Coalition of Organizations. The Medals are presented each year on historic Ellis Island to a select group of individuals whose accomplishments in their field and inspired service to our nation are cause for celebration. They embody the spirit of America in their celebration of patriotism, tolerance, brotherhood and diversity. They recognize individuals who have made it their mission to share with those less fortunate their wealth of knowledge, indomitable courage, boundless compassion, unique talents and selfless generosity; all while maintaining the traditions of their ethnic heritage as they uphold the ideals and spirit of America. Since its founding in 1986, the Medal has been officially recognized by both Houses of Congress as one of our nation’s most prestigious awards. In that time NECO has honored distinguished and diverse Americans including six US Presidents; Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, as well as esteemed Americans such as Frank Sinatra, Lee Iacocca, Quincy Jones, Muhammad Ali, Nobel laureate Elie Wiesel, Louis Zamperini and Rosa Parks, just to name a few.
4/27/2016 – Distinguished Adjunct Professor Asad M. Madni awarded Dean’s Faculty Award for Service by the University of University of Southern California’s Viterbi School of EngineeringThe University of Southern California’s (USC) Viterbi School of Engineering has awarded the “Dean’s Faculty Award for Service” to Distinguished Adjunct Professor Asad M. Madni. This is the first time in the school’s history that this honor has been awarded to a non USC faculty member. Professor Madni received this award in recognition of his long history of service to the Viterbi School of Engineering and to the Ming Hsieh Department of Electrical Engineering, where he helped guide the strategic planning, EE curriculum, on-going and future research direction, faculty hiring, ABET accreditation and served as the chair of the EE Industrial Advisory board for over a decade. The official award ceremony took place on April, 26, 2016 at “Town and Gown” on the USC campus. While presenting the award, Dean Yannis Yortsos stated that “we are honoring a highly distinguished individual whose contributions are internationally renowned and whose service to USC has had a major impact in the recognition and the advancement of the school and the EE department.”
2/22/2016 – Distinguished Adjunct Professor Asad M. Madni awarded Honorary Professorship at the University of Texas San Antonio and delivers the Dean’s Distinguished Lecture
The University of Texas San Antonio (UTSA) has awarded its first Honorary Professorship to Distinguished Adjunct Professor Asad M. Madni In this capacity, Professor Madni will help guide doctoral and post-doctoral research; and will provide advice on research direction, faculty hiring and undergraduate and graduate engineering curriculum for the Electrical and Computer Engineering Department. The official induction ceremony took place on February 19, 2016 at UTSA where Professor Madni also delivered the Dean’s Distinguished Lecture.

2/5/2016 – Dan Goebel, Ph.D. awarded the Alumni Professional Achievement AwardAdjunct Professor Dan Goebel is the 2016 winner of UCLA Engineering’s Professional Achievement Award. He will be honored at the UCLA Engineering Awards Dinner on February 5, 2016. A senior research scientist at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Goebel is internationally recognized for his expertise in electric propulsion, microwave sources, advanced plasma sources and high voltage engineering. His work has led to the development of propulsion technologies used in the NASA Dawn mission to Mars and Jupiter, space stations and satellites. Goebel holds 43 patents, is the author of nearly 300 technical and conference papers, and his many honors include membership in the National Academy of Engineering.

Dr. Goebel was recently interviewed by Bill Kisliuk, Director, Media Relations and Marketing, UCLA HSSEAS.

Their Q&A is noted below.

Q: Please describe how UCLA Engineering inspired you and contributed to your professional success.

A: I’m kind of a workaholic, so inspiration to do engineering research was never much of a problem. However, UCLA inspired me to stay in school and complete a Ph.D. so that I could do the work I wanted to do, which is much more fun that doing work that others tell you to do. I saw a lot of fascinating research topics and projects at UCLA that made me want to be that researcher and do that developmental work. I realized that being at the top of the food chain with a UCLA Ph.D. was perhaps the best way for me to accomplish that goal because I’d have the preparation I needed, the horsepower of a high degree from a school with a great reputation, and the experience and contacts necessary to do what I wanted.

It actually worked out that way.

I was hired out of grad school by a UCLA professor who was a last-minute addition to my thesis committee. My first two jobs after leaving UCLA were from people I had met in graduate school. I was recruited out of industry to go to JPL by a guy there who had followed my Ph.D. thesis for his graduate research topic, which he knew about due to the reputation of my UCLA advisor. My election to the National Academy of Engineering was championed by several of the faculty in the EE department. So contacts I made while in school at UCLA, the people at UCLA, and the reputation of the EE department in general have been the foundation of my career.

Q: Who were key mentors for you in the Electrical Engineering Department?

A: My Ph.D. advisor, the late Ted Forrester, showed me that you could be smart, successful and still be a nice guy. In his lab, I was under the supervision of a grad student named Terry Crow, who was truly my mentor during my graduate and post-graduate career. He showed me how exciting experimental plasma physics research was, gave me countless opportunities to participate in research and to try new ideas in the lab. I still spend over half my time in the lab, now late in my career, experiencing the joy of experimental research nearly every day (especially when things work). I owe all that to Terry Crow.

Q: What has been the most rewarding project of your career?

A: Back in the 1980s, fresh out of graduate school and working on the research staff at UCLA, I invented a machine called PISCES for investigating plasma (ionized gas) interactions with materials. This machine was the state-of-the-art in this field 30 years ago, and amazingly still is today. Two versions of the machine I built at UCLA were moved in the ’90s to UCSD and are still operating there. These machines have been copied by national laboratories on four continents for plasma-surface interactions research in fusion and industrial plasma processing.

The U.S. government just funded me to construct another copy of PISCES at UCLA for the development of new nano-engineered, extreme environments materials for defense and commercial applications, in collaboration with professors Nasr Ghoniem and Richie Wirz. In addition, we used a variant of this machine that I invented in the 90s called the Advance Plasma Source (APS) to spin off a start-up company that ended up on the NASDAQ. The APS is still being manufactured today by several firms in Europe and Asia for thin-film and optical coating production, and operating in Buhler Leybold Syrus optical coating machines that have dominated the production of sunglasses and optical mirrors and surfaces. Amazingly, they still haven’t used the full capabilities I put into these machines, and the longevity and international use of these inventions is particularly rewarding.

Q: What do you think are some of the biggest challenges facing the nation’s space program?

A: The general public is often amazed and fascinated by our scientific discoveries and achievements in space, but has difficulty relating those accomplishments and the high cost in government spending to their daily lives and jobs. Communicating effectively to the public that every one of those dollars is spent right here in the U.S. employing thousands of people, and the spin-off technologies that result change their lives and revolutionize the world, is a major challenge. More movies like “The Martian” are clearly needed for people to appreciate what we do.

On the technical side, I think power is the biggest problem. There’s been great progress in solar arrays that now produce tens of kilowatts of power in space and will soon be able to produce over a hundred kilowatts. This power, and much more, is needed for not only running large communications satellites and spacecraft going to other planets, but also for running advanced electric-propulsion systems that will get us there faster and carry more material, more cargo, and even people for a fraction of the cost of chemical rockets.

Q: Does teaching help you in your work at JPL?

A: Teaching is very rewarding to me because helping students and giving back to UCLA and to young people helps me to be a better person (which I can always use). The way that teaching helps my work at JPL is in finding and working with the students that I teach. I have the opportunity to bring what I know are bright, talented young people to JPL to do their thesis research and in some cases for us to hire them. Great students become an extension of me and together we get a lot more done than if I had to do it all myself. Working with students also infuses their excitement and enjoyment of discoveries to me and to my work. I get motivation, we often get lots of work done, and JPL gets great student research and the best new employees. Win-win-win.

Q: What would you advise a young person about studying electrical engineering at UCLA?

A: Do it, do it, do it! UCLA Electrical Engineering has a unique combination of great professors doing fascinating work in a beautiful Southern California setting. You can work on Nobel-caliber research and still make it to the ski slopes or to the beach for the weekend (not every weekend because you have to work hard, but at least some of the weekends). I also met and married a beautiful girl there! There are lots of opportunities to find research projects that excite you, and the department works hard to embrace students and make them successful. I also believe that if you hang out with clowns you become a clown, and to be successful you have to hang with the best. At UCLA you will meet and potentially work with people who will become the shakers and movers of the next generation of engineers. It’s a great environment. The connections and department reputation for excellence will propagate positively throughout your career. It’s a great place.

1/7/2016 – Distinguished Adjunct Professor Asad M. Madni delivers invited lecture at National Chiao Tung University
Upon invitation by The National Chiao Tung University (NCTU), Hsinchu, Taiwan, Distinguished Adjunct Professor Asad M. Madni delivered a lecture, “Convergence of Emerging Technologies to Address the Challenges of the 21st Century” as part of NCTU’s joint UCLA – NCTU seminar program. He also evaluated and provided guidance on future direction of the research being performed at NCTU’s College of Engineering.
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