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William D. Jemison, assistant professor of electrical and computer engineering at Lafayette, will speak on “Applications of Microwave and Wireless Technology – Not Just for Cooking and Radio Anymore” at 4:10 p.m. Monday, March 26, in Hugel Science Center room 103.

Free and open to the public, the talk is the fifth of six faculty research forums sponsored this year by Lafayette’s Academic Research Committee. The series will conclude with a presentation by James DeVault, associate professor of economics and business, Monday, April 23.

Jemison will give an overview of microwave and wireless technology. Several basic historical facts will be presented along with a summary of current industry trends. Jemison also will highlight his research at Lafayette, including technology to develop wireless local area networks that can deliver data 10 to 100 times faster than can be done today; microwave/photonic techniques for high-speed data modulation; power amplifier modeling; and potential applications for antennas in a number of newly developed biomedical treatments, such as microwave balloon angioplasty and microwave enhanced liposuction.

“Many of us take microwave and wireless technology for granted,” says Jemison. “Microwaves are used to cook our dinner; deliver entertainment via radio, TV, and cable signals; and send cellular phone calls. While microwave signals were understood around the beginning of the 20th century, it was the onset of World War II that drove the development of microwave technology to a high level of maturity. Developed under a cloak of secrecy, microwave radar and navigation systems were quickly fielded to aid in Allied efforts to bring an end to the war. Microwave technology is still important in military systems; however, it has also found widespread use commercially in personal communications, industrial processes, and medical applications.”

Jemison graduated from Lafayette in 1985 with a B.S. degree in electrical engineering. Part of his research at Lafayette is supported by the National Science Foundation and the Office of Naval Research. He has authored or co-authored about 40 publications, including a book chapter. He also holds three U.S. patents. He is also a visiting researcher at Lehigh University.

He has involved 12 Lafayette undergraduates in his research since joining the faculty of his alma mater in 1996. These include Marquis Scholar Ian Rippke of East Petersburg, Pa., who graduated last May with a B.S. degree in electrical engineering summa cum laude, and current senior Feiyu Wang of Roseville, Minn.

Rippke, a member of Phi Beta Kappa; Tau Beta Pi, the national engineering honor society; and Eta Kappa Nu, the honor society for electrical engineers, was awarded a three-year National Science Foundation (NSF) Graduate Fellowship and is pursuing doctorate in electrical and computer engineering at Cornell University.

“NSF graduate fellows are promising young mathematicians, scientists, and engineers who are expected to pursue lifelong careers marked by significant contributions to research, teaching, and industrial applications in science, mathematics, and engineering,” says Susan Duby, director of NSF’s graduate education division. “Award recipients go on to become our top researchers and educators. They are a major force in maintaining the vitality and excellence of American science, mathematics and engineering.”

The NSF fellowships provide a stipend of $16,200 per year for full-time graduate study. NSF also provides an annual cost-of-education allowance of $10,500. NSF graduate fellows may attend any appropriate non-profit U.S. or foreign institution of higher education.

At Lafayette Rippke did extensive research on microwave power amplifiers with Jemison, including a year-long senior honors thesis.

“I’d like to address the continuing needs for high-powered devices that are faster and cheaper,” Rippke says. “My work with Professor Jemison has endless applications in digital television and cellular phones and the concept of a wireless house where you could control your toaster or your television from a panel in the kitchen. Wireless is a huge field and I guess you could say that I want to get in on the wireless revolution.”

Rippke and Wang were honored for presentations on their research at the IEEE Sarnoff Symposium on Communications Technology for the New Millennium March 22, 2000, at The College of New Jersey. They tied for second place in a session that highlighted research currently being performed at the region’s colleges and universities.

The students coauthored the papers they presented with Jemison and others who are doing research on microwave power amplifiers funded by a three-year, $175,290 grant from the National Science Foundation.

“The Sarnoff Symposium is a highly respected regional conference whose purpose is the dissemination of the latest advances in various microwave communications technologies. Ian and Feiyu did an outstanding job presenting our work in a highly competent and professional manner that exceeded my highest expectations,” Jemison says. “The conference was attended by approximately 400 microwave communications professionals from both industry and academia. My colleagues who saw the presentations remarked to me that they were extremely impressed with the quality of research being performed by our undergraduates.”

Jemison earned a Ph.D. in electrical engineering from Drexel University in 1993 and an M.S. in engineering science from Penn State in 1988. He is a member of Eta Kappa Nu, the national honor society for electrical engineers, and a senior member of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers. Prior to joining the Lafayette faculty he was a senior project engineer for Flam and Russell, Inc., Lockheed Martin Corp, and the Naval Air Warfare Center.

Geared for a broad audience, ARC forum talks are less technical than presentations that would be given at a professional meeting. They last 20 to 30 minutes and are followed by a question-and-answer and discussion session.

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