David Staelin, professor of electrical engineering in the EECS Department at MIT and principal investigator in the Research Laboratory of Electronics (RLE) has been selected for the 2011 John Howard Dellinger Medal by the International Union of Radio Science (Union Radio-Scientifique Internationale, URSI).
The URSI Dellinger Medal to be presented to Professor Staelin in August, 2011, at the URSI General Assembly and Scientific Symposium in Istanbul, Turkey, is announced with the citation:
"For seminal contributions to the passive microwave remote sensing of planetary atmospheres and the development of remote sensing of the atmosphere and environment of the Earth from space."
Professor Staelin has been a member of the EECS faculty and RLE since 1965. He also was Assistant Director, MIT Lincoln Laboratory (1990-2001); Co-founder, MIT Venture Mentoring Service (2000); Chairman, MIT's EECS Graduate Area in Electronics, Computers, and Systems (1976-1990); and a faculty member of MIT's Leaders for Manufacturing Program (1985-1998). He was a director of Environmental Research and Technology, Inc. (1969-1978), and co-founder and Chairman, PictureTel Corp. (1984-87). He is a Fellow of the IEEE and AAAS, and received the 1996 Distinguished Achievement Award from the IEEE Geoscience and Remote Sensing Society.
Professor Staelin was a member of the President's Information Technology Advisory Committee (2003-05), Chairman of the National Academy of Sciences Committee on Radio Frequency Requirements for Research (1983-86), and a member of several NASA committees and working groups, including the Space Applications Advisory Committee; the Advanced Microwave Sounder Working Group; the Geostationary Platform -- Earth Science Steering Committee; and the Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission Science Steering Group. He was Principal Investigator for the NASA Nimbus-E Microwave Spectrometer (launched 1972 on Nimbus 5), and the Scanning Microwave Spectrometer (launched 1975 on Nimbus 6). He was Co-Investigator of the Scanning Multichannel Microwave Spectrometer (1977 launch, Nimbus 7) and the Voyager Planetary Radio Astronomy Experiment (1977 launch, Voyagers 1 and 2). Additionally, he is a member of the NASA Atmospheric Infrared Sounder team (Aqua launch 2002), the NPP Science Team (launch ~2010), the NOAA IPO Sounder Operational Algorithm Team, and the NASA Precipitation Mapping Mission Science Team.
Dave Staelin participated in a short online interview for the Spring 2010 edition of the EECS Department Newsletter, in which he remarked on his choice of research in remote sensing and estimation. He said:
"I originally anticipated an industrial research career, but was referred by the RLE director, Henry Zimmermann, to the new radioastronomy group under Alan Barrett (former PhD student of Charles Townes, laser Nobelist and MIT provost). They needed advanced signal processing, which was my primary interest along with electromagnetics.
A shortage of EE PhD radioastronomers led to my initial faculty appointment; tenure was facilitated by my PI roles in the first two microwave spectrometers that orbited the Earth monitoring the weather, and development of an NlogN algorithm that enabled our discovery of the Crab Nebula pulsar, which helped prove pure nuclear matter existed as neutron stars. Our microwave satellite remote sensing work continues since such sensors are now the single most effective data source enabling week-long global weather forecasts and observation of certain critical climate parameters."