Raj Mittra, a courtesy professor in the UCF Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, was awarded the Distinguished Radio Science Award by the U.S. National Committee for the International Union of Radio Science (USNI-URSI). The inaugural award is a prestigious honor that recognizes the overall impact of a researcher’s career in the field of radio science.
Mittra says he is proud to have received the distinction, adding that it is the highest level of peer recognition one can receive in his field. He was the selection committee’s unanimous choice for the award, which was announced and virtually presented at the 2023 National Radio Science Meeting in Boulder, Colorado, and will also be presented in person at the next URSI/NC meeting in Portland later this year.
“I gratefully acknowledge the help and support I received from the ECE department, providing me with the infrastructure which enabled me to carry out my research,” Mittra says. “I also thank my research students, postdocs and visiting scholars in my lab who toiled into the night, burning the midnight oil, so we could publish those research papers that led to recognition by the URSI awards committee.”
Don Wilton, professor emeritus of electrical and computer engineering at the University of Houston, supported Mittra’s nomination and says his letter was easy to write, as Mittra’s career essentially wrote the letter for him.
“His publication record exceeds that of most Nobel Prize winners,” Wilton says, adding that his letter of support covered Mittra’s service, impact on former students and postdocs, and service to academia, including his involvement in the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) and URSI.
Mittra lauded Wilton and his colleagues who endorsed his nomination for the highly competitive award and wrote enthusiastic reference letters on his behalf in support of the nomination.
“My theory is that to win an award like this, it is the cheering section that carries the ball to the goal, while the quarterback, or nominator, does all the legwork to get the ball rolling so to speak,” he says.
Mittra has served as a professor in the UCF ECE Department and as director of the Electromagnetic Communication Laboratory since 2014. He has supervised or co-supervised more than 130 Ph.D. students, mentored more than 50 post-doctoral researchers and visiting scholars. and has published more than 1,000 scientific papers. Among his numerous career accomplishments, he has developed codes for Northrop Grumman predicting the RCS of stealth aircrafts, developed a technique for analyzing large reflector antennas with colleagues at NASA/JPL, and written more than 35 book and book chapters on antennas and electromagnetics.
He is a Life Fellow of IEEE and a past-president of the IEEE Antennas and Propagation Society. Mittra has been recently recognized for his contributions in Radio Science by the International URSI with the Rawer Medal. Additionally, he has received numerous IEEE awards and medals over the last twenty years, including the Alexander Graham Bell Award from the IEEE Foundation. He also serves as principal scientist and president of RM Associates, a consulting company he founded in 1980.