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William Steier Named 2006 AAAS Fellow for Revolutionary Work in Polymer Photonics

November 23, 2006 — William H. Steier, the William H. Hogue Professor of Electrical Engineering in the University of Southern California’s Viterbi School, has been named a 2006 Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS). 

Steier was named a Fellow for his distinguished contributions to the science and engineering of microwaves and photonics, in particular, for the development of polymer-based, high-speed opto-electronics and complex optical circuitry.

Bill Steier

“We are very pleased to hear that Bill has been recognized for his seminal work in polymer photonic devices and materials,” said Dan Dapkus, electrophysics chair of the newly named Ming Hsieh Department of Electrical Engineering and holder of the William M. Keck Chair in Engineering. “He has been a leader in creating advances in polymer optical modulator devices that translate signals between electronic and optical forms.”

In close collaboration with USC’s chemistry department, the University of Washington and electrical engineering faculty at UCLA, Steier and colleagues have demonstrated that organic materials such as amorphous polycarbonate (APC) and polymethyl methacrylate (PMMA) will have a major role to play in the next generation of fiber optic communications systems.  Their low cost and researchers’ ability to molecularly engineer the material to meet specific demands will influence the design and use of communications systems in the next century.  Steier and his colleagues are expanding the polymer photonics to much higher signal frequencies and delving into a new area of sensor applications. 
A Fellow of IEEE and the Optical Society of America (OSA), Steier was a co-winner most recently of the 2006 IEEE Lasers and Electro-Optics Society’s Streifer Scientific Achievement Award for his work on polymer-based opto-electronics. He and his collaborators have been credited with revolutionizing the field of polymer photonics. 

Steier is also a distinguished alumnus of the University of Illinois department of electrical and computer engineering and, in 2001, received the USC Associates Award for Creativity in Research and Scholarship.

Election as a AAAS Fellow is an honor bestowed upon AAAS members by their peers. This year 449 members have been awarded this honor by AAAS because of their scientifically or socially distinguished efforts to advance science or its applications. 

Steier will receive an official certificate and blue rosette pin in an awards ceremony to be held during the AAAS Annual Meeting on Feb. 17, 2007 in San Francisco, CA.