History Committee Member introductions
David G. Michelson
I'm a professor in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at the University of British Columbia, Vancouver, BC, Canada. From 1994 to 1996, I was postdoctoral research fellow in the MDA/NSERC Radar Remote Sensing Group at UBC. From 1996 to 2001, I served as a member of a joint team from AT&T Wireless Services, Redmond, WA, and AT&T Labs-Research, Red Bank, NJ, where I contributed to the development of propagation and channel models for next-generation and fixed wireless systems. From 2001 to 2002, I helped to oversee the deployment of one of the world’s largest campus wireless local area networks at UBC. Since 2003, I have led the Radio Science Laboratory at UBC, where my research interests include propagation and channel modeling for fixed wireless, industrial/agricultural, and satellite communications and low profile antenna design. I see my main task as helping business manage the risks associated with deploying wireless links in extreme environments or in very large numbers in unfamiliar environments.
I currently serve on the Board of Directors of Wavefront, Canada's National Centre of Excellence for the Commercialization of Wireless Technology. In addition to my role as a member of the IEEE History Committee, I serve as Chair of IEEE Canada’s Industry Relations Committee, a member of the Board of Governors of the IEEE Vehicular Technology Society (and Editor of the IEEE Press Series on Vehicular Technology), Member of the Board of Governors of the IEEE Communications Society (and Director of Education), and Member of the IEEE Canadian Foundation. I am a past Chair of IEEE Vancouver Section.
My interest in the history of technology and understanding why things are the way they are today is longstanding. I weave the history of technology into my lectures because it helps to put the math and physics into perspective and because I believe that the best way to anticipate the future is to understand the past. I served as nominator for three recent IEEE Milestones: 1) First 500 MeV proton beam from the TRIUMF cyclotron, 1974. (TRUMF, Vancouver), 2) First television broadcast in Western Canada, 1953. (CBUT, Vancouver), 3) First radio astronomical observations using VLBI, 1967. (Dominion Radio Astrophysical Observatory, Penticton). All were dedicated in 2010. Some of my favourite popular authors on the history of science and technology include Richard Rhodes (The Making of the Atomic Bomb, Red Sun), Abraham Pais (Subtle is the Lord: The Science and the Life of Albert Einstein, Inward Bound: Of Matter and Forces in the Physical World) and Paul Nahin (The Science of Radio, The Logician and the Engineer). Salsburg's The Lady Tasting Tea: How Statistics Revolutionized Science in the Twentieth Century fundamentally changed my appreciation for statistics through its fascinating historical narrative although I wish that the book had a few equations.