Theodore (Ted) S. Rappaport, a New York University professor and founding director of the research center NYU WIRELESS, has received the 2020 Eric E. Sumner Award from the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE), which cited his pioneering research in the field of wireless telecommunications.
Rappaport's groundbreaking research in radio wave propagation, wireless communication system design, and broadband wireless communications circuits and systems, including work at millimeter-wave (mmWave) frequencies (30 to 300 gigahertz), paved the way for several generations of wireless technology and sparked the commercialization of fifth-generation (5G) wireless technology. As 5G rolls out, it will bring broadband speeds to wireless communication, thereby potentially revolutionizing medicine, enabling autonomous vehicles, and inexpensively connecting rural communities to the digital world.
Before Rappaport published his seminal 2013 paper, Millimeter Wave Mobile Communications for 5G Cellular: It Will Work, in an IEEE journal, few experts acknowledged the possibilities of tapping that underutilized spectrum. Now, NYU WIRELESS, which Rappaport launched upon arriving at the NYU Tandon School of Engineering in 2012, is moving well beyond 5G research. Rappaport's latest comprehensive overview, Wireless Communications and Applications Above 100 GHz: Opportunities and Challenges for 6G and Beyond, highlights the technical challenges and opportunities for the coming decades, particularly in the terahertz (THz) electromagnetic spectra. With other NYU WIRELESS researchers, he is exploring THz for ultra-fast, high-capacity data transmission and revolutionary applications for communications, medical imaging, precise position location, semiconductor testing, and new kinds of spectroscopy.
Rappaport is the David Lee/Ernst Weber Professor of Electrical Engineering at NYU Tandon, a professor of computer science at NYU Courant Institute of Mathematical Sciences, and a professor of radiology at the NYU School of Medicine. He is serving his third term on the Technological Advisory Council of the Federal Communications Commission and was recently elected a fellow of the National Academy of Inventors.
Among his other honors are the 1990 Marconi Young Scientist Award, 1999 IEEE Communications Society Stephen O. Rice Prize, 2002 Fredrick E. Terman Outstanding Electrical Engineering Faculty Award from the American Society for Engineering Education, 2005 IEEE Vehicular Technology Society Stuart F. Meyer Award, 2011 IET Sir Monty Finniston Medal for achievement in engineering and technology, 2015 IEEE Donald G. Fink Paper Prize Award, 2017 IEEE VTS Neal Shepherd Memorial Best Propagation Paper Award, and 2018 Armstrong Medal from the Radio Club of America. He has more than 100 U.S. or international patents issued or pending and has authored, co-authored, and co-edited 18 books, including the world's best-selling books on wireless communications, millimeter-wave communications, and smart antennas. His most recent award is named in honor of the late IEEE President Eric E. Sumner, who was instrumental in developing early switching systems.