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Prof. Fawwaz Ulaby Receives the IEEE James H. Mulligan Education Medal

The award recognizes Ulaby's contributions to undergraduate and graduate engineering education through innovative textbooks, dedicated mentoring of students, and inspirational teaching.
prof fawwaz ulaby Enlarge

Fawwaz T. Ulaby, Emmett Leith Distinguished University Professor of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, has received the IEEE James H. Mulligan Education Medal, “For contributions to undergraduate and graduate engineering education through innovative textbooks, dedicated mentoring of students, and inspirational teaching.”

With more than 400,000 members in 160 nations worldwide, IEEE is the world’s largest technical professional organization. Their mission is to advance technological innovation and excellence for the benefit of humanity. Prof. Ulaby will be presented with the medal at the IEEE Honors Ceremony in Boston this June.

Book Cover Enlarge
Fundamentals of Applied Electromagnetics

Prof. Ulaby is well-known at Michigan for being an outstanding educator and beloved by his students. Few faculty can teach a large undergraduate course of highly technical subject matter and receive perfect scores from the students. Prof. Ulaby accomplished this goal after completely revising two large mandatory undergraduate courses and their accompanying labs in electromagnetics. In support of these courses he wrote the textbook, Applied Electromagnetics in 1996 – now in its 6th printing and adopted by literally hundreds of engineering departments around the world. Similarly his most recent book, Circuits, is being used at many of the top engineering institutions in the country. [more books by Ulaby listed below]

Many students went on record to rave about the experience of having Prof. Ulaby as a professor in support his successful nomination as an Arthur F. Thurnau Professor, a title given to U-M faculty in recognition of their outstanding contributions to undergraduate education.

IEEE Edison Medal Enlarge
IEEE Edison Medal

Brilliant educators in the engineering community “do” as well as “teach,” and perhaps no one demonstrates this as clearly as Prof. Ulaby. He is an internationally renowned researcher in the fields of terahertz technology as well as microwave remote sensing. In fact, he was instrumental in establishing these fields while also helping them to grow and expand to the major research areas they are today. His research in these areas resulted in more than 700 scientific papers, encyclopedia articles, books and book chapters, and technical reports.

His leadership and technical excellence were recognized by the professional community when he received the IEEE Edison Medal, “For pioneering research in microwave and radar remote sensing technology and their environmental and industrial applications.” The Edison Medal, named after Thomas Alva Edison, is the most prestigious award given in the United States and Canada recognizing meritorious accomplishments in the fields of electronics and electrical engineering. [read more below]

Prof. Ulaby is a member of the National Academy Engineering, a fellow of IEEE and AAAS, and has received numerous additional honors and awards throughout his career from students, academic colleagues, and the professional community. They range from the student-voted HKN Professor of the Year award, to the national HKN C. Holmes MacDonald Outstanding Teaching Award. He earned several awards at U-M leading up to three named professorships; in additon to the two already mentioned, he is the Chen-To Tai Professor of Engineering. He has also received numerous prestigious awards in the professional community, including the NASA Group Achievement Award, Distinguished Achievement Award and Outstanding Service Award from the IEEE Geoscience and Remote Sensing Society, the IEEE Millennium Medal, and the IEEE Electromagnetics Award.

He served as founding President of the IEEE Geoscience and Remote Sensing Society, as Editor-In-Chief of the Proceedings of the IEEE, and as Vice President for Research at the University of Michigan. More recently, he was founding Provost and Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs of the King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST) in Saudi Arabia.

Yet for Prof. Ulaby, his most important legacy is his students – the 115 graduate students he directly supervised, and the hundreds if not thousands of undergraduate students who learned to understand and love the language of electromagnetics, and use it every day to improve the world around them.

Additional Information

Fawwaz T. Ulaby – On the occasion of receiving the Edison Medal [IEEE Global History Network, 2006].

“A critical edge to his success was his design and use of radar spectrometers, which allowed his team to develop optimum design configurations for specific radar applications. The extensive database from this program became a gold mine for theoretical modelers, allowing them to verify the applicability and predictability of their mathematical models.

This radar database became the reference standard for the U.S. National Aeronautics and Space Administration, industry and military laboratories. Dr. Ulaby was involved in the design and data analysis of several space flights that, in addition to providing a wealth of scientific information, led to a new industry that supplies radar-derived information to the timber and oil industries.”

Professor Profile: Fawwaz Ulaby [Michigan Daily, March 3, 2011]

“Ulaby meets with every student in his classes at least once during the semester to help the student in any way he can, offering advice for everything from course material to a career path. Many students return to Ulaby’s office, meeting with him several times throughout the semester.

Though this may seem fairly simplistic, Ulaby currently teaches an introductory electrical engineering class of approximately 185 students.”

Books by Fawwaz Ulaby

Fundamentals of Applied Electromagnetics, 6th Edition


Microwave Remote Sensing: Active and Passive, Volume I: Fundamentals and Radiometry

Microwave Remote Sensing: Active and Passive, Volume II: Radar Remote Sensing and Surface Scattering and Emission Theory

Microwave Remote Sensing: Active and Passive, from Theory to Applications: 3 (Artech House Remote Sensing Library)

Division News; Education; Fawwaz Ulaby; Honors and Awards; Sensing and Sensors