EE Alumnus Prof. Alan Willner elected to the National Academy of Engineering

March 22, 2016

The Electrical Engineering Department at Columbia extends its warmest congratulations to Prof. Alan Willner, recently elected to the National Academy of Engineering in recognition of his research contributions in the areas of optics, photonics, and high-speed optical networks. Prof. Willner received the Ph.D. degree in Electrical Engineering from Columbia in 1988. He is The Steven and Kathryn Sample Chair in Engineering in the Ming Hsieh Department of Electrical Engineering at USC and also serves as Adjunct Senior Research Scientist at Columbia EE.

Prof. Richard Osgood notes: “Alan is not only a brilliant scientist and engineer, but a great scientific leader. He was the president of the IEEE Photonic Society and is now the President of the Optical Society of America.  Both of these are major international societies in photonics and optics - covering basic physics, new photonics devices, and ultrahigh speed data communication. Alan came to us from Yeshiva University and did his Ph.D. in my group, and then went on to Bell Labs and USC. He has never stopped - except to be with his wonderful wife and his fabulous 4 sons!”  

This newest honor is one of many bestowed on Professor Willner. In addition to being elected International Fellow of the U.K. Royal Academy of Engineering and Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, he was awarded a John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation Fellowship, a Presidential Faculty Fellows Award from the White House, and represented the sciences as invited foreign dignitary at the 2009 Nobel Ceremonies in Stockholm. We are proud to mention that back in the 1980s, he received the Edwin Howard Armstrong Foundation Memorial Award given to the highest ranked Columbia Electrical Engineering M.S. Student.