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USC University Professor Selected to Receive Franklin Medal

Solomon Golomb Revered as Innovator in Electrical Engineering
By: Amy Blumenthal
November 12, 2015 —


Photo Credit: Will Taylor

Solomon Golomb, University Professor, Distinguished Professor of Electrical Engineering and Mathematics, and Andrew and Erna Viterbi Chair in Communications, has been selected to the receive the Franklin Institute’s 2016 Benjamin Franklin Medal in Electrical Engineering. The award will be presented at a ceremony in April 2016.

With this award, Golomb will join the ranks of previous Franklin Medal recipients and distinguished laureates, which include Albert Einstein, Marie Curie, Stephen Hawking, Elizabeth Blackburn and the individual for whom the USC engineering school is named, Andrew Viterbi.

Golomb is being honored for his pioneering work in space communications and the design of digital spread spectrum signals—transmissions that provide security, interference suppression and precise locations for applications such as cryptography, missile guidance, defense, space and cellular communications, radar, sonar and GPS.

When Dr. Golomb first studied mathematics, the discipline was expected to remain pure without application.  However, on occasion, an engineer would come to Golomb with a practical problem and Golomb would have the mathematical tools to provide the solution. Golomb was most satisfied when his ideas were used.  “The more usable an application was, the more satisfied I was,” says Dr. Golomb.

Dr. Golomb started his career at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory. His team invented space communications and digital communications. He started at USC in 1963 and has been at the university for over fifty years. His work on shift register sequences is integral to the function of cellular phones and Golomb is the author of the first book with a title that included the term “digital communications.” His scholarship in this discipline would help establish USC as a destination for the study of digital communications.

“It is extremely fitting that Sol Golomb is being awarded with the Franklin Medal for Electrical Engineering. His pioneering work in communications has been fundamental to the communications revolution of the past five decades, a revolution that has literally changed the world. His legacy will remain in history as that of one of the giants in the discipline. We are fortunate that so much of his remarkable work was done here at USC in his more than five decades of affiliation with the School of Engineering, “ said Viterbi Dean Yannis C. Yortsos.

Dr Golomb received the USC Presidential Medallion in 1985 and received the 2011 National Medal of Science.