LOS ANGELES (CNS) – A USC professor whose mathematical research is used in cell phone and radar technology and communications from Mars will receive the National Medal of Science award from President Barack Obama during a ceremony in Washington, D.C., Friday.
The award highlights Solomon Golomb’s work on mathematical structures for shift register sequences, which are random-looking sequences of 0′s and 1′s integral to many commonly used and cutting-edge technologies, according to the university.
The award has been given to 400 honorees since it was established in 1963 and is considered the most prestigious award for scientific innovation given out by the United States. Golomb, who is celebrating his 50th year at USC, will be one of 12 scientists and engineers to be honored this year.
“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,” USC President C.L. Max Nikias said.
Golomb said he “never thought about receiving awards” when he did his work.
“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,” said Golomb, who is celebrating his 50th year at USC. Golomb teaches in the USC Viterbi School of Engineering, which is named after another National Medal of Science winner, Andrew Viterbi. He earned his bachelor’s degree from Johns Hopkins University at 19, later getting his doctorate in mathematics at Harvard. He was a Fulbright Fellow in Norway and worked at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory before joining the faculty and research staff at USC.
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