Jeff Lang named for Vitesse Professorship

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Tuesday, July 16, 2013 - 10:15am

Prof. Jeff Lang, the Vitesse Professor of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science. Photo courtesy RLE/Greg Hren, Photography
Dept. Head Anantha Chandraksan has announced the appointment of Prof. Jeffrey H. Lang to the Vitesse Professorship in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, effective July 1, 2013. The Vitesse Chair was established in 2000 to honor the Vitesse Semiconductor Corporation, a company co-founded in 1984 by former MIT students. The first chair holder was Prof. Clifton G. Fonstad Jr. [Photo courtesy RLE/Greg Hren Photography]

The selection of Prof. Lang as the new Vitesse Chair holder again recognizes an EECS faculty member who has demonstrated exceptional commitment to teaching, research, mentoring and service in the Department. Upon completion of three Course 6 degrees at MIT (SB '75, SM '77 and PhD '80 with a doctoral thesis on electrostatically-shaped reflecting antennas co-supervised by former professors David Staelin and James Melcher), Prof. Lang joined the MIT faculty in 1980, becoming full professor in 1992. He is a member of the Research Laboratory of Electronics and the Microsystems Technology Laboratories.

Prof. Lang has devoted himself to developing and teaching a wide range of classes in the areas of circuits and electromagnetics. He began teaching 6.002 (Circuits and Electronics) in 1992; together with Prof. Anant Agarwal he modernized that subject in 2000. That effort led them to co-author the now widely used 6.002 textbook, Foundations of Analog and Digital Electronic Circuits. Beginning in the early 1980s, Prof. Lang taught 6.601 (Fields, Forces and Motion), and the core electromagnetics subjects 6.013 and 6.014. He took part in their collective reorganization in 2003. Prof. Lang also led the creation of the digital control systems lab 6.142, and in collaboration with Prof. George Verghese he created the graduate class 6.238 on the control of electric machines. Prof. Lang received MIT's Harold E. Edgerton Award in 1986 and the Graduate Student Council Teaching Award in 1987. Most recently, he was appointed as the EE Graduate Admissions Chair in Fall 2012, and played an important role in the implementation of guaranteed support for all incoming students.

An IEEE Fellow (1998), Prof. Lang has written over 250 papers on the design, analysis, estimation, and control of high-performance electromechanical energy conversion and motion control systems, with applications ranging from novel micro/nano-electromechanical systems (MEMS/NEMS) to energy harvesters, to robots, to white goods and to electric vehicles. His current research focuses primarily on power MEMS/NEMS, including motors, generators, relays, switches, pumps, and valves, some of which have demonstrated record power and/or torque densities. He has also worked to develop various MEMS sensors. Prof. Lang has often collaborated on cross-disciplinary projects, such as his recent development of high-torque-density motors for use in the MIT Cheetah Robot, which should allow the machine to reach speeds of up to 35 mph.