Mahta Moghaddam, the William M. Hogue Professor of Electrical Engineering in the Ming Hsieh Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, and Behrokh Khoshnevis, the Dean’s Professor of Industrial and Systems Engineering in the Daniel J. Epstein Department of Industrial and Systems Engineering, have been named members of the National Academy of Engineering. “Election to the National Academy of Engineering is one of the highest professional honors for an engineer,” said USC Viterbi Dean Yannis C. Yortsos. “Behrokh and Mahta join 84 other new NAE members, less than half of whom are from academia.”
There have been 12 NAE members elected from USC Viterbi since 2008.
Moghaddam, who also serves as the director of new research initiatives at USC Viterbi and president of the IEEE Antennas and Propagation Society, was recognized for her work in the development of physics-based computational algorithms for mapping of subsurface characteristics.
Khoshnevis, who also has courtesy appointments in Aerospace and Mechanical Engineering, Astronautical Engineering, and Civil and Environmental Engineering, was recognized for his pioneering contributions to large-scale 3-D printing in construction.
USC interim President Wanda M. Austin said that Moghaddam and Khoshnevis were two of the university’s brightest stars. She said that Khoshnevis also had the distinction of having been her thesis advisor.
“But really, it is I who has the distinction of having been his doctoral student. To say Behrokh’s creativity and vision are extraordinary is an understatement,” Austin said.
Austin said that the key to Moghaddam’s life’s work was her unparalleled imagination about how to use microwave energy for the common good.
“Her focus has come down to two things: Saving the planet, and saving people,” Austin said.
Moghaddam said she was humbled and grateful to have been elected to the NAE.
“As I was going through the list of the colleagues elected this year to the NAE, I came across the name of a former middle school class-mate of mine back in Iran. I thought “what a coincidence” but also thought about the fact that achievements are not possible without the influence of places, events, and people. Sometimes things are just not coincidences,” Moghaddam said.
“I hope to be able to do my part to inspire and support, and to do all I can to live up to your expectations and the expectations of this wonderful institution that is USC, and of course, USC Viterbi,” she said.
Khoshnevis said that when he first embarked on his career, he faced a choice between his three loves: arts, sciences and technology.
“After over three decades of practicing engineering, I came to the realization that I neither parted with art nor with science, because in the pursuit of inventive ideas in my engineering practice, I recognized that art, science and technology are all central to the process of invention,” he said.
As director of the Microwave Systems, Sensors, and Imaging Lab (MiXIL), Moghaddam’s research touches on a wide range of problems. Her lab has designed and used microwave systems to, among other things, target and treat breast cancer, retrieve information about the earth’s surface and subsurface, and conduct large-scale environmental mapping.
Moghaddam is also director of the Viterbi Innovation Fund Arid Climates and Water Research Center (AWARE), which brings researchers from across USC Viterbi and the wider university community together to better understand and address water in arid climates. Moghaddam’s center seeks to establish USC as the largest university in the largest water-scarce urban center in the world and the leading university in the nation addressing issues of water scarcity.
Joining USC in 1983, Khoshnevis now holds over 100 U.S. and international patents, mostly related to 3-D printing. He is a member of the National Academy of Inventors and the Director of the Center for Rapid Automated Fabrication Technologies (CRAFT).
Khoshnevis has pioneered the Contour Crafting technology, which has resulted in the creation of an entirely new industry in construction. In 2017 he founded the Contour Crafting Corporation, a USC spinoff, applying 3-D printing to the construction industry.