The Wouk Lecture

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May 29, 2013 105 Annenberg, 4:00 p.m.
Free and Open to the Public

The Next Wave of Wireless Communications - Enabling Revolutions in Health Care, Transportation, Energy, and the Environment

Lawrence Larson
Dean of the School of Engineering, Brown University

This year marked the 40th anniversary of the first cellular telephone call, made by Marty Cooper of Motorola on April 4, 1973. The growth of personal portable wireless communications since then has created a global communications network unprecedented in human history.

This 40th anniversary gives us the opportunity to consider what the next forty years of wireless communication might look like. Further inevitable Improvements in semiconductor technology, with resulting improvements in processing power, transistor speed and complexity will result in exciting new applications of wireless devices.

Wireless technology has historically been focused on personal or data communications, but some of the most exciting new approaches will center on medical, energy, transportation and environmental applications. These include such areas as wireless neural interfaces, networked personal transportation and infrastructure, and the "internet of things."

This talk will summarize the emerging wireless technologies that might enable these new applications, and present some of the challenges - both economic and technical - to their widespread adoption.

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The Wouk Lecture is presented by the Division of Engineering & Applied Science.

Lawrence LarsonLawrence Larson received his BS in Electrical Engineering from Cornell University, Ithaca, and a PhD from University of California, Los Angeles. From 1984 to 1996, he was at Hughes Research Laboratories in Malibu, CA, where he directed the development of high-frequency microelectronics in GaAs, InP and Si/SiGe and MEMS technologies. He joined the faculty at the University of California, San Diego, in 1996, where he was the inaugural holder of the Communications Industry Chair. He was Director of the UCSD Center for Wireless Communications from 20012006 and was Chair of the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering from 20072011. He moved to Brown University in 2011, where he is Founding Dean of the School of Engineering. He was recipient of the Hughes Sector Patent Award in 1994 for his work on RF MEMS, co-recipient of the 1996 Lawrence A. Hyland Patent Award of Hughes Electronics, for his work on low-noise millimeter-wave HEMTs, and co-recipient of the 1999 IBM Microelectronics Excellence Award for his work in Si/SiGe HBT technology. He has published over 300 papers, received over 40 US patents, co-authored three books, and is a Fellow of the IEEE.

Past Lectures

The Victor Wouk Lectureship, established by the Wouk family in December 2004 to bring to campus experts on the latest advances in science and technology, is named in honor of Caltech alumnus Victor Wouk, who received his master's and doctorate degrees in electrical engineering from Caltech in 1940 and 1942, respectively. He devoted himself largely to developing hybrid motor vehicles and using semiconductors in electric vehicles. More than three decades ago, he designed and built a high-performance electric vehicle and a high-performance, low-emission, improved-fuel-use hybrid. Throughout his career, he promoted the continuing development of hybrid automobiles powered by both electricity and gasoline, such as the Toyota Prius, Honda Insight, and Ford Escape Hybrid. The range of Wouk's activities was wide, and he consulted for several institutions and the government on the problems of energy. A space-travel buff since childhood, he also worked with the team that developed fuel gauges for the "dune buggies" that roamed the surface of the moon during the Apollo program.

©2012 California Institute of Technology. All Rights Reserved. last update: 07/25/2013


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