Alumni News – 2016-2019

09/2020 — UCLA Electrical and Computer Engineering Professor Elected to the UK Royal Academy of Engineering

Dr. Asad M Madni, a distinguished adjunct professor of electrical and computer engineering at the UCLA Samueli School of Engineering, has been elected as an International Fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering (U.K.), in recognition of his outstanding contributions to the profession. Among the 53 leading U.K. and international engineers elected, he was one of only three elected as an international fellow, according to the academy’s announcement yesterday.

“As the UK’s National Academy for engineering and technology, we bring together an unrivalled community of leading business people and industrialists, entrepreneurs, innovators and academics from every part of engineering and technology,” said Sir Jim McDonald FREng FRSE, President of the Royal Academy of Engineering.

Madni (’69, M.S. ’72), who has been a distinguished adjunct professor at UCLA Samueli since 2011, developed and commercialized sensors, systems and instrumentation for the automotive, industrial, and aerospace industries. Among his most notable achievements are the Extremely Slow Motion Servo Control System in the Hubble Space Telescope and Quartz MEMS GyroChip® technology used in stability control and rollover protection in automobiles.

He is an elected fellow or eminent member of the world’s most prestigious scientific and technical societies, including the National Academy of Engineering, National Academy of Inventors, American Association for the Advancement of Science, European Academy of Sciences and Arts, Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE), American Institute of Aeronautics & Astronautics, and the Royal Aeronautical Society (U.K.)

In 2019, Eta Kappa Nu, the honor society of the IEEE, established a new annual award, its highest honor, named after Madni, recognizing his more than 50 years of service and leadership.

The new Royal Academy of Engineering Fellows will be formally admitted to Fellowship at the academy’s online ceremony on October 29, as they join nearly 1,600 eminent engineers from both industry and academia around the world.

05/2020 — Distinguished Professor Asad M Madni Awarded ASME 2020 Soichiro Honda Medal

The American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) has awarded Distinguished Adjunct Professor Asad M Madni the prestigious 2020 Soichiro Honda Medal. According to ASME, the medal recognizes an individual for an outstanding achievement or a series of significant engineering contributions in developing improvements in the field of personal transportation. Attention shall be concentrated on the brilliance of the achievement or on the overall effect of a series of contributions– not on the individual. The achievement should be of such public importance as to be worthy of the gratitude of society and to call forth the admiration of engineers.

Professor Madni’s award citation reads “for outstanding leadership in engineering innovations, particularly the development and commercialization of sensors and systems including the revolutionary microelectromechanical systems GyroChip technology for electronic stability control and rollover prevention in passenger vehicles, which has saved countless lives worldwide.”

Formal presentation of the award will take place on November 16, 2020 during the ASME International Mechanical Engineering Congress & Exposition (IMECE) at the Oregon Convention Center, Portland, Oregon.

As a result of a generous unrestricted donation to ASME by Honda Motor Company, Ltd., in 1980, the Society established the Soichiro Honda Medal in recognition of Mr. Honda’s exemplary achievements in the field of personal transportation in 1982.

04/2020 — Distinguished Professor Asad M Madni Awarded IEEE AESS 2020 Industrial Innovation Award

Distinguished Adjunct Professor Asad M Madni was awarded the 2020 Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) Aerospace and Electronic Systems Society’s Industrial Innovation Award. His award citation reads: “For seminal contributions in advanced inertial guidance and their successful transition to defense and commercial applications”.

11/2019 — Distinguished Adjunct Professor Asad M Madni Awarded Royal Aeronautical Society’s (RAeS) Highest Honor

The Council of the Royal Aeronautical Society (RAeS), U.K., elected to award Professor Asad Madni an Honorary Fellowship, the highest award conferred by the Society. According to RAeS, the Honorary Fellowship is “the world’s highest distinction for aerospace achievement awarded for only the most outstanding contributions to the aerospace profession. This honor is conferred on those whose careers, leadership, inspiration and impact marks them out as among the most eminent, widely recognized and influential aerospace professionals of their generation”.

As the world’s only professional body dedicated to the aerospace community, the society exists to further the advancement of aeronautical art, science and engineering around the world. 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.

The award was presented to Professor Madni at the Honors and Awards Ceremony held in London on November 25, 2019 at the RAeS headquarters.

10/2019 — Distinguished Adjunct Professor Asad M Madni Elected to the European Academy of Sciences and Arts (EASA)

Distinguished Adjunct Professor, Asad M. Madni, has been elected to the European Academy of Sciences and Arts by its senate on October 11, 2019. The Academy’s mission is to stimulate cross-disciplinary collaboration between reputable scientists of all disciplines, leading artists and practitioners of governance. Their purpose is to analyze important societal challenges and to help solving complex issues for the wellbeing of Europeans’ future.

The Academy brings together over 2000 eminent scholars and practitioners, among them 32 Nobel Prize winners, from across Europe. They are divided into 8 classes: Humanities; Medicine; Arts; Natural Sciences; Social Sciences, Law and Economics; Technical and Environmental Sciences; World Religions; Corporate and Public Governance.

The Protectors of the Academy are several Heads of State. Its list of Honorary Senators comprises many distinguished leaders, such as former Prime Ministers or Ministers from various countries, former Presidents of the Commission of the European Union, and others.

07/2019 — Distinguished Adjunct Professor Asad M Madni Honored by Marquis Who’s Who

Distinguished Adjunct Professor, Asad M. Madni, has been awarded the Albert Nelson Marquis Lifetime Achievement Award by Marquis Who’s Who. The award recognizes individuals who have had many esteemed years of professional accomplishments, while making lasting contributions to their field of endeavor.

06/2019 — Distinguished Adjunct Professor Asad M Madni was the Invited Keynote Speaker at TECHLAV 2019

At the invitation of the North Carolina A & T State University (UNC A&T) and the University of Texas at San Antonio (UTSA), Distinguished Adjunct Professor Asad M. Madni delivered the invited keynote address, “Autonomous Vehicles: Opportunities, Challenges and the Convergence of Emerging Technologies” at the Fourth Annual Meeting of “Testing, Evaluation and Control of Heterogeneous Large-Scale Systems of Autonomous Vehicles” (TECHLAV) hosted by UTSA, on June 25-26, 2019, in San Antonio, Texas, drawing academics, engineers, scientists, employers, students and Government Officials.
He also engaged with UTSA and UNC A&T faculty, students, and research community to explore possible collaboration opportunities between UCLA, UTSA & UNC A&T.

04/2019 — IEEE-HKN Honor Society Names Top Award for Asad M. Madni, Visionary Leader and Pioneer

Dr. Madni and son Jama

IEEE-Eta Kappa Nu (HKN), IEEE’s honor society, is proud to announce the creation of the IEEE-HKN Asad M. Madni Outstanding Technical Achievement and Excellence Award. Established to recognize and honor the nearly 50 years of technical and philanthropic accomplishments, and visionary leadership of Dr. Asad M. Madni (pictured at left with his son, Jamal), the Award will be presented annually beginning in 2020 to a practitioner in the IEEE technical fields of interest who has distinguished himself or herself through an invention, development or innovation that has had worldwide impact.

Dr. Madni, IEEE life fellow, IEEE-HKN Eminent member, and member of the U.S. National Academy of Engineering, has received numerous national and international awards and honors for his pioneering work including the IEEE-HKN Vladimir Karapetoff Outstanding Technical Award in 2017. Since his retirement in 2006 as the President/ COO/CTO of BEI Technologies Inc., he has been an independent consultant; ECE distinguished adjunct professor & distinguished scientist, and Faculty Fellow, Institute of Transportation Studies at UCLA , guiding doctoral research, mentoring students and is an active volunteer for IEEE-HKN.

“The Madni Family embodies the core principles of the IEEE-HKN: Scholarship, Character and Attitude. Their commitment to philanthropy and excellence in engineering education and inspiring young engineers is critical to continue the time-honored traditions of Eta Kappa Nu,” said Nancy Ostin, Director of the honor society.

S.K. Ramesh, 2016 IEEE-HKN President, 2018-2019 IEEE-HKN Development Committee Chair, and 2016-17 IEEE Vice President, Educational Activities noted: “It has been an honor and a privilege to get to know Asad and the family over the years. He inspires and motivates everyone around him to follow in his footsteps with his outstanding technical contributions coupled with a rich legacy of giving and philanthropy that will make a difference for years to come. We are very grateful and appreciative beyond any words can express to him, Taj, and Jamal for all that they do for our profession and the community.”

Dr. Madni believes that “A professionally successful career that does not include philanthropy is an incomplete and unsatisfying one, and I never forget that achieving this privilege in my profession makes it incumbent upon me and my family to give back, and help guide the generation following us.”

Using his beliefs as a guiding principle, Dr. Madni along with his wife Gowhartaj and son Jamal (also an IEEE-HKN member and award recipient) established the IEEE-HKN Asad, Gowhartaj and Jamal Madni Family Fund of the IEEE Foundation. The Fund provides IEEE-HKN with the financial resources it urgently needs to drive new levels of recognition and programming. We are grateful to them for their visionary leadership and investment in the future of HKN.

09/2018 — Prof. Asad Madni Presents the 2018 NAE Gordon Prize to Prof. Paul Yock of Stanford University

[L to R, Mr. Daniel Gordon BMG Charitable Trust; Dr. Asad Madni UCLA; Dr. Paul Yock Stanford; and Dr. Dan Mote NAE President]

As the Chair of the 2018 NAE Bernard Gordon Prize selection committee, Distinguished Adjunct Professor Asad M. Madni was accompanied by NAE President Dr. Dan Mote to present the award to Professor Paul Yock of Stanford University on May 22, 2018. The $500,000 annual award, the most prestigious education award, recognizes new methods and concepts in higher education aimed at developing engineering leaders. Prof. Yock received the award “for the development and global dissemination of Biodesign, a biomedical technology program creating leaders and innovations that benefit patients.”

“Paul Yock’s work creates original innovations in health technologies and advances the expanding role of engineering in medicine” said NAE President C. D. Mote, Jr. “The cumulative impact of this work is monumental.”

08/2018 — Distinguished Adjunct Professor Asad M Madni was the Invited Keynote Speaker and Panelist at the NAE Grand Challenges Scholars Program Workshop and the Grand Challenges Symposium in Hong Kong

At the invitation of the presidents of the National Academy of Engineering (NAE) and the City University of Hong Kong (CityU), Distinguished Adjunct Professor Asad M Madni delivered the invited keynote address, “Convergence of Emerging Technologies to Address the Challenges of the 21st Century” at the Grand Challenges Scholars Program (GCSP) workshop hosted by CityU, on August 14-16, 2018, drawing academics, employers, students, GCSP alumni, regional and global NGOs, and other aligned organizations to catalyze the embrace of the GCSP throughout the region.

He was also a panelist and session leader on August 16, 2018 at the day long Grand Challenges of Engineering Symposium hosted by the University of Hong Kong (HKU) where renowned leaders from industry and academia came together to discuss the Global Grand Challenges movement and its impact on engineering, innovation, education, and research.

Attached is a photograph with Caltech Professor Robert Grubbs (2005 Chemistry Nobel Laureate) at the HKU Symposium.

07/2018 — The Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) Names Distinguished Adjunct Professor Asad M Madni as Recipient of the 2019 IEEE Frederik Philips Award

The IEEE Board of Directors upon the recommendation of the IEEE Awards Board, has named Professor Asad M Madni as the recipient of the 2019 IEEE Frederik Philips Award, for outstanding accomplishments in the management of research and development resulting in effective innovation in the electrical and electronics industry, with the following citation:

“For leadership in and pioneering contributions to the development and commercialization of sensors and systems for aerospace and automotive safety.”

The letter from IEEE President, James Jefferies, states “For nearly a century, the IEEE Awards Program has paid tribute to technical professionals whose exceptional achievements and outstanding contributions have made a lasting impact on technology, society, and the engineering profession. Each year the IEEE Awards Board recommends a select group of recipients to receive IEEE’s most prestigious honors, so you can feel justifiably proud. Congratulations on your achievements, which honor both you and IEEE”.

Past recipients of this international award include Gordon Moore, co-founder of Intel and inventor of Moore’s Law, in 1979 and Arun Netravali, chief scientist of Lucent Technologies, in 2001.

04/2018 — Professor Asad M Madni Invited as Distinguished Leader by the Presidents of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine to the 2017 Nobel Laureates Reception on Capitol Hill

Distinguished Adjunct Professor Asad M Madni was one of twenty distinguished leaders invited by National Academy of Sciences (NAS) President Marcia McNutt, National Academy of Engineering (NAE) President C. D. Mote, Jr., and National Academy of Medicine (NAM) President Victor J. Dzau to honor U.S. 2017 Nobel Prize recipients Barry Barish (Physics), Joachim Frank (Chemistry), Michael Rosbash (Physiology and Medicine), Kip Thorne (Physics), and Michael Young (Physiology and Medicine) at a reception on Capitol Hill on Wednesday, April 18, 2018. U.S. Senators Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) and Christopher Coons (D-Del.) co-hosted the event. The ceremony recognized the scientists for their significant contributions to their fields as well as to the advancement of human knowledge.

Among the invited distinguished leaders were Adam Riess (2011 Nobel Prize in Physics), Erling Norrby (The Royal Swedish Academy of Science), Norm Augustine (Retired Chairman and CEO of Lockheed Martin) and Ming Hsieh (Philanthropist and CEO of Fulgent Genetics).

From L to R : Barry Barish, C. D. Mote, Jr., Ming Hsieh, Kip Thorne, Marcia McNutt, Asad M Madni, Victor J. Dzau, Norm Augustine and Michael

04/2018 — Dr. Asad Madni Inducted into Medical and Biological Engineering Elite

The American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering (AIMBE) has announced the induction of Asad M. Madni, Ph.D., Distinguished Adjunct Professor/Distinguished Scientist, Electrical and Computer Engineering Department, University of California, Los Angeles to its College of Fellows. Dr. Madni was nominated, reviewed, and elected by peers and members of the College of Fellows for seminal contributions to the development and commercialization of sensors and systems for biomedical instrumentation and aerospace and automotive safety.

Election to the AIMBE College of Fellows is among the highest professional distinctions accorded to a medical and biological engineer. The College of Fellows is comprised of the top two percent of medical and biological engineers. College membership honors those who have made outstanding contributions to “engineering and medicine research, practice, or education” and to “the pioneering of new and developing fields of technology, making major advancements in traditional fields of medical and biological engineering, or developing/implementing innovative approaches to bioengineering education.”

A formal induction ceremony was held during the AIMBE Annual Meeting at the National Academy of Sciences in Washington, DC on April 9, 2018.  Dr. Madni was inducted along with 156 colleagues who make up the AIMBE College of Fellows Class of 2018.

Further information may be found at:

02/2018 — Distinguished Adjunct Professor Asad M Madni was the Invited Keynote Speaker at the 2018 IEEE IESES Conference.Distinguished Adjunct Professor Asad M Madni delivered the invited keynote address, “Convergence of Emerging Technologies to Address the Challenges of the 21st Century” at the 2018 inaugural IEEE Industrial Electronics for Sustainable Energy Systems (IESES) Conference held in New Zealand from January 29 – February 2, 2018.

Sustainable energy systems is a hot and dynamic topic and this conference brought together worldwide researchers, industry experts, engineers and scientists, and university academics and the energy companies for a four day event in the beautiful city of Hamilton, North Island of New Zealand. The conference was sponsored by the IEEE Industrial Electronics Society and the University of Waikato.

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.
>Next Page >