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Alcatel-Lucent Bell Labs veterans Herwig Kogelnik and James E. West awarded U.S. National Medal Of Technology


Alcatel-Lucent (Euronext Paris and NYSE: ALU) today announced that Herwig Kogelnik, currently Adjunct Photonics Systems Research Vice President at Alcatel-Lucent Bell Labs, and Bell Labs Alumnus James Edward West, currently Research Professor in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at The Johns Hopkins University Whiting School of Engineering, Baltimore, have been chosen to receive 2006 U.S. National Medal of Technology awards from President George W. Bush in a ceremony scheduled for Friday, July 27, 2007. The U.S. National Medal of Technology is the highest honor awarded by the President of the United States for technological innovation. Kogelnik and West are the tenth and eleventh Bell Labs scientists to win this award.

Dr. Herwig Kogelnik, a 46-year veteran of Bell Labs, is being honored for his pioneering contributions and leadership in the development of lasers, optoelectronics, integrated optics and lightwave communications systems. Kogelnik is the co-inventor of the distributed feedback laser, which is the light source for most optical communications systems. He also led the Bell Labs research team that developed the pioneering dense wave division multiplexing (DWDM) optical system.

Dr. James West, currently a Research Professor at Johns Hopkins University, was with Bell Labs for more than 40 years and is a Bell Labs Fellow. West is being recognized for co-inventing the electret microphone with Gerhard Sessler while working at the Bell Labs, one of over 200 patents that he received. Ninety percent of the 2 billion microphones produced annually and used in everyday items such as telephones, hearing aids, camcorders and multimedia computers employ electret technology.

“The contributions of both these men demonstrate the best of Bell Labs,” said Jeong Kim, President of Alcatel-Lucent Bell Labs. “Herwig’s numerous contributions in the field of optics have laid much of the foundation for modern optical communications systems. From his seminal work on holography and the distributed feedback laser to today’s research into important areas such as polarization mode dispersion, Herwig continues to make Bell Labs proud.”

In referring to James West’s work, Jeong Kim commented, “The majority of microphones used today are the result of the ingenuity of James. His invention has a wide variety of applications ranging from toys to sophisticated blood pressure monitors. We at Bell Labs feel honored to have had James as part of the team. He left an indelible impression on the field of science both in groundbreaking research and for his tireless work throughout his career in encouraging women and minorities to enter science”

Herwig Kogelnik received both his Diploma in Engineering and Doctorate of Technology in Electrical Engineering from the Technische Hochschule in Vienna, Austria in 1955 and 1958 respectively. In 1960, he received a Ph.D. from Oxford University. Dr. Kogelnik has earned 47 patents in his career and is the author of over 130 articles. He is a Fellow of both the IEEE and the Optical Society of America, which he served as Vice President in 1987 and President in 1989, and is an Honorary Fellow of St. Peter’s College at Oxford University. He has received numerous awards, including the Optical Society of America’s Frederic Ives Medal in 1984, the IEEE David Sarnoff Award in 1989, the Joseph Johann Ritter von Prechtl Medal from the Technical University of Vienna, Austria in 1990, the 1991 IEEE Lasers and Electro Optics Society Quantum Electronics Award, the "Ehrenkreuz fur Wissenschaft und Kunst 1. Klasse” by the President of Austria, and was named Honorary Member of OSA. He was elected to the National Academy of Engineering in 1978 and the National Academy of Science in 1994. In 2001, he received the prestigious Medal of Honour from the Institute of Electronic and Electrical Engineers and later the same year, he received the 27th annual Marconi International Fellowship Award for work that has revolutionized modern telecommunications. In 2002, he was inducted into the New Jersey Inventors Hall of Fame. In the same year, the International Engineering Consortium presented the IEC Fellow Award to Dr. Kogelnik. In 2006, the Okawa Foundation for Information and Telecommunications of Japan awarded him the Okawa prize.

James West started at Bell labs as an intern and became a full-time employee in 1957 after graduating from Temple University. As the inventor of the microphone, West received numerous awards and honors including Fellow of IEEE, Industrial Research Institute’s 1998 Achievement Award, 1995 Inventor of the Year from the State of New Jersey and induction in the Inventors Hall of Fame in 1999. James E. West holds 47 U.S. patents and earned more than 200 foreign patents in his 40-year career with Bell Labs. West has also received the Acoustical Society of America Silver Medal for Engineering Acoustics (1995), Honorary Doctor of Science Degree New Jersey Institute of Technology(1997) The National Academy of Engineering (1998), served as President of The Acoustical Society of America (1998), the Golden Torch Award from The National Society of Black Engineers (1998), The Ronald H Brown American Innovator Award (1999), Black Engineer of the Year Award (2005), The Acoustical Society of America Gold Medal(2006), and Honorary Doctor Degree in Engineering Michigan State University

Bell Labs was the first organization honored in the 1985 inaugural set of awards for “contributions over decades to modern communication systems.” Over the years, the total number of ‘National Medal of Technology’ medals awarded to Bell Labs is 12 – 11 individual and team awards (7 individuals and two 2-person teams), and one organization award. No other organization has received more U.S. National Medals of Technology for its researchers’ works.

The other outstanding innovators from Bell Labs who have been awarded the medal are:

Al Cho (2005) for pioneering contributions to the invention of molecular beam epitaxy (MBE).
Arun Netravali (2002) for pioneering contributions in digital image and video compression technology.
Kenneth Thompson and Dennis Ritchie (1998) for creating the UNIX® operating system and C Language.
Richard H. Frenkiel and Joel S. Engel (1994) for their fundamental contributions to the theory, design, and development of cellular mobile communications systems.
Amos Joel (1993) For his vision, inventiveness and perseverance in introducing technological advances in telecommunications, particularly in switching, that have had a major impact on the evolution of the telecommunications industry in the U.S. and worldwide.
W. Lincoln Hawkins (1992) For his invention and contribution to the commercialization of long-lived plastic coatings for communications cable that has saved billions of dollars for telephone companies around the world; and for his leadership in encouraging minorities to pursue science and engineering careers.
John S. Mayo (1990) for providing the technological foundation for information age communications and for overseeing the conversion of the national switched telephone network from analog to digital-based technology.


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