Keynote Lecture Series
The Viterbi School marked the opening of its second century by establishing endowed keynote lectures in all its academic departments. Each of the school’s academic departments is holding an annual keynote lecture, which is named after an individual who significantly influenced the department and the discipline at USC. The lectures cover a broad range of engineering topics and are drawing eminent scholars to the Viterbi community.
Aerospace & Mechanical Engineering Department
The keynote lecture for Aerospace and Mechanical Engineering is named after the late Janos Laufer, a renowned fluids authority who was the founding chair of the Department of Aerospace Engineering (before it merged with mechanical engineering).
Astronautical Engineering Department
The Division of Astronautical Engineering’s annual keynote lecture has been named for Hsien K. Cheng, the USC Distinguished Professor Emeritus of Aerospace Engineering.
HK Cheng was a significant early contributor to the Viterbi School’s reputation for research excellence in the areas of flight aerodynamics and/or the hydrodynamics of swimming propulsion. He has done significant work in theoretical and computational fluid mechanics, flight hypersonics, geophysical fluid mechanics, bio-fluid dynamics and ocean sonic boom research.
Cheng was elected to the National Academy of Engineering in 1988. He is also a fellow of the American Physical Society and the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics.
Biomedical Engineering Department
The Viterbi School’s Biomedical Engineering Department has named its keynote lecture for the late Fred S. Grodins, the department’s founding chair.
Grodins’ 1963 publication, “Control Theory and Biological Systems,” is a landmark document on the earliest applications of engineering control theory to physiological systems.
Mork Family Department of Chemical Engineering and Materials Science
The Mork Family Department of Chemical Engineering and Materials Science has announced a second keynote lecture series, and named it for the late Cornelius J. Pings, a prominent chemical engineer and a renowned academic administrator.
Neal Pings served with distinction as provost at both Caltech, his alma mater, and at USC, where he held the chief academic officer position from 1981 to 1993, a period when the university achieved great gains in stature. He left USC to become president of the Association of American Universities (AAU), the Washington, D.C.-based representative of the nation’s top 60 research universities, and served there until 1998.
Pings was awarded the Presidential Medallion, USC’s highest honor, and Caltech’s Distinguished Alumnus Award. He was a member of the National Academy of Engineering and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.
The keynote lecture in the Mork Family Department of Chemical Engineering and Materials Science is named for William Spitzer, a former chair of the Department of Materials Science.
Spitzer did outstanding work in solid-state physics, particularly focusing on how it affected the optical and electronic properties of semiconductor materials. He was an influential academic administrator with lasting impact on USC as a department chair, dean and provost. He chaired a university committee that produced the “Spitzer Profile,” a widely copied procedure for determining faculty load.
Sonny Astani Civil & Environmental Engineering Department
The Viterbi School’s Civil and Environmental Engineering Department has named its keynote lecture for Albert Dorman.
Dorman, who is also an architect, received an M.S. degree in civil engineering at USC. He is the founding chairman of AECOM Technology Corporation, a global company responsible for large-scale public works projects and one of the largest private corporations in the U.S.
He is the first person to become both a Fellow of the American Institute of Architects and an Honorary Member of the American Society of Civil Engineering (ASCE). He is a member of the National Academy of Engineering and is the winner of the ASCE Outstanding Lifetime Achievement Award in Leadership.
Computer Science Department
The Computer Science Department’s annual keynote lecture has been named for George Bekey, the roboticist known for the extraordinary versatility and exceptional quality of his work during his long career at the Viterbi School.
Bekey is the 2005 winner of the IEEE Technical Field Award in Robotics and Automation, the highest technical award in its area. He was one of the founders of the IEEE Robotics and Automation Society and the first editor of its Transactions.
Bekey was the chair of electrical engineering/systems at USC when the department was first formed, and a former chair of the computer science department. He was also instrumental in the founding of the Viterbi School’s Department of Biomedical Engineering.
Upcoming Lecture: TBD
Ming Hsieh Department of Electrical Engineering
The Viterbi School is named for Andrew and Erna Viterbi. Viterbi is the legendary communications figure who helped open the doors to the digital age with the Viterbi Algorithm, an original mathematical formula for eliminating signal interference.
Today, his algorithm is used in all four international standards for digital cellular telephones, as well as in data terminals, digital satellite broadcast receivers and deep space telemetry.
Upcoming Lecture: TBD
The late Jack Munushian was a long-time USC professor of electrical engineering and the right-hand man of Zohrab Kaprielian, a storied engineering dean and provost at USC.
Munushian was an innovative distance education pioneer who, utilizing television, began the program that eventually became the Viterbi School’s Distance Education Network. Many of his contributions are still evident in both the Viterbi School and the USC Ming Hsieh Department of Electrical Engineering today.
Upcoming Lecture: TBD
Daniel J. Epstein Department of Industrial & Systems Engineering
The Daniel J. Epstein Department of Industrial and Systems Engineering has named its keynote lecture for the late Eberhardt Rechtin.
Rechtin was a former Viterbi School professor, National Academy of Engineering member, and a founding father of systems architecting engineering as a distinct discipline. He played a key role in the development of U.S. space technologies and had a storied career in government and industry before coming to USC.
He headed JPL’s Communications Group in the 60s, the Advanced Research Projects Agency (later to become DARPA) soon after, and was named CEO of the Aerospace Corporation subsequent to that.
Upcoming Lecture: TBD