President Obama To Award USC Professor the National Medal of Science
After 50 years at USC, mathematical and communications pioneer Solomon Golomb will receive the nation’s top honor for scientists
On Friday, one of USC’s most decorated faculty members will receive the highest honor bestowed by the United States for scientific innovation.
President Barack Obama will present University and Distinguished Professor Solomon Golomb of the USC Viterbi School of Engineering with the National Medal of Science for his advances in mathematics and communications at an awards ceremony in Washington, D.C.
“Sol Golomb is such a deserving recipient of this tremendously prestigious honor,” said USC President C. L. Max Nikias. “His many contributions to mathematics and engineering span more than five decades, and his mathematical coding schemes have advanced a number of important projects, including the imagery we received from Mars. USC is so proud to have been Professor Golomb’s academic home all these years.”
The official citation that will be given to him by the president praises his work on shift register sequences, random-looking sequences of 0′s and 1′s that actually have important—though hidden—mathematical structures that make them useful in a wide variety of applications from radar to cell phone systems to space communications.
Golomb will be among 12 scientists and engineers so honored by the president this year, joining the rarefied ranks of about 400 individuals who have received the award since John F. Kennedy bestowed in 1963 the first National Medal of Science on famed aerospace engineer Theodore von KÃ¡rmÃ¡n.
“My research has always been directed by working on problems that I found interesting and challenging, and that I believed I had a chance to solve. I have never thought about receiving awards for my work, but it is always a pleasant surprise when they occur,” said Golomb, who just completed his 50th year of teaching at USC.
Another previous awardee was USC alumnus Andrew Viterbi, namesake of the USC Viterbi School of Engineering. Viterbi, who received his Ph.D. in electrical engineering in 1962, was mentored by Golomb when they were colleagues at the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL).
“These men and women of the 20th and now 21st Century embody passion, brilliance, creativity, risk, and determination,” states the National Science and Technology Medals Foundation’s website. “Their achievements have inspired new knowledge, shaped cultural revolutions, and driven world economies.”
Golomb earned his BA at Johns Hopkins University, completing a four-year degree program in 21 months- with an A average. He finished the day before his 19th birthday. After completing his PhD in Mathematics at Harvard, Golomb spent a year in Norway as a Fulbright Fellow and then returned to the States to work at JPL. Then, in 1963, he took a job at USC.
Golomb said that he came to USC because “I believed that at USC I had a chance to make a difference, and to help it achieve its potential; and I stayed because there has been steady progress on this path — in fact, more than I could have imagined 50 years ago.”
“Sol Golomb is the quintessence of the Viterbi school. He symbolizes what is best in mathematics, and its application to engineering and other disciplines. He has contributed mightily to the school’s impressive ascent in the last several decades. We are very proud of his distinctions and achievements and celebrate with him his triumphs in science and engineering,” said Yannis C. Yortsos, dean of USC Viterbi.
The announcement of Golomb’s National Medal of Science follows closely upon his receipt of the Sigma Xi William Procter Prize for Scientific Achievement and his selection as a member of the inaugural class of fellows of the American Mathematical Society.
Golomb is also a recipient of the USC Presidential Medallion, the National Security Agency Director’s Medal, the IEEE Shannon Award of the Information Theory Society, the Hamming Medal and three honorary doctorate degrees. He is a member of the National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Engineering and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.
The National Science & Technology Medals Foundation [NSTMF] hosts a live satellite feed of the Ceremony from the East Room of the White House with support from the National Organization of Black Chemists and Chemical Engineers [NOBCChE]. There is no charge for this satellite feed and it is available to anyone with a dish.
Testing begins at 1:55 pm ET on Friday, February 1, which will be reflected on the screen with an anticipated start shortly after 2 pm ET. You will not see anything prior to 1:55 pm, so please be patient. The coordinates are:
Galaxy 3C K6 Slot A
DL Freq: 11801 H
Modulation: DVB-S QPSK
Symbol Rate: 6.1113
Galaxy 19 C8 Slot B
DL Freq: 3855.5 H
Modulation: DVB-S QPSK
Symbol Rate: 6.1113
The White House will have a live webcast of the ceremony at www.whitehouse.gov/live.
There will also be high-resolution images of the laureates receiving their medals from President Obama about 90 minutes after the conclusion of the ceremony on NSTMF’s website www.nationalmedals.org/news.
Contact: Robert Perkins at (213) 740-9226 or email@example.com