NIPSIA-LOGO National Intellectual Property Society of Iranian Americans

Prof. Lester F. Eastman

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Cornell University, Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering

Professor Lester F. Eastman, John L. Given Foundation Chair Professor of Engineering Emeritus, has had a remarkable career in Cornell University: With 62 years at Cornell - 54 of them as a member of the ECE faculty, 125 Ph.D. students under his direct supervision, 75 post docs, and 111 trips to Europe. Lester Eastman earned his B.S., M.S., and Ph.D. degrees at Cornell. After joining the Cornell University faculty in 1957, he concentrated on microwave active devices. Since 1964, he has conducted pioneering research on compound semiconductor materials and devices for microwave and semiconductor laser applications. These semiconductor materials were earlier Gallium Arsenide and related alloys, then he moved to Indium Phosphide and related alloys, and recently on to Gallium Nitride and related alloys. The research that he and his students have done now permeates commercial (cell phone) and defense (radar and satellite communications) applications.

In addition to his teaching and research responsibilities, Prof. Eastman "kept contact with the real world," contributing insight, understanding needs, and building lasting relationships. He served on the U.S. Department of Defense Advisory Group on Electron Devices and the Senior Advisory Board of the Fraunhofer Institute of Applied Physics in Germany. He is a founding member, in 1977, of the NSF program at Cornell on submicron, now nano, structures used in microwave transistors. After helping to found the Cornell Nanoscale Facility, he helped Sweden establish its $90 million nanoscale facility, and assisted Germany in founding theirs. Says Prof. Eastman, "I took it as my duty to help others get rolling."

The influence he has had in his field, both through his own research and through the work of his graduate students, is profound. He has provided leadership on a large scale and has organized countless professional conferences and workshops worldwide and at Cornell to disseminate information and inspire new directions. In his honor, the Biennial IEEE (Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers) Conference on High Performance Devices has been renamed the IEEE Lester Eastman Conference on High-Performance Devices.

The list of prestigious national and international awards and honors Prof. Eastman has earned is very long. Many are from IEEE and its affiliated organizations: He is a Fellow of IEEE, winner of the society’s Graduate Teaching Award and Third Millennium Medal, the Electron Devices Society J. J. Ebers Award, and the Microwave Theory and Technique Society’s Distinguished Educator Award. Among other awards Prof. Eastman has earned are the Fellow of the American Physical Society, the Wisdom Award of Honor, Heinrich Walker Medal and Annual Award of the International Symposium on Gallium Arsenide Summer 2011 and Related Compounds, the Senior Alexander von Humboldt Senior Fellowship, and the Aldert van der Ziel Award. He is a member of the National Academy of Engineers and a member of the Electromagnetic Academy.

He has been the external examiner of several PhD's in Europe. He served on the DOD's Advisory Group on Electron Devices for six years in the USA, and for six years on the Senior Advisory Board of the Fraunhofer Institute of Applied Physics in Germany. He has consulted for several companies and the MIT Lincoln Laboratories, in the USA, and for three companies in Europe.

Asked which of his many accomplishments are most meaningful to him, Prof. Eastman points first to his students. "Cornell is extremely good at attracting high caliber graduate students," he says. "It is satisfying to inspire them to do something useful to generate greater efficiency, more power - that’s what engineering is all about." He cites countless former students who have gone on to great achievements, among them Donald MacLean Kerr, Jr., formerly director of Los Alamos National Laboratory and now Principal Deputy Director of National Intelligence, David Welch, co-founder of Infinera, Inc., and 27 professors in the U.S. and abroad. Others hold positions in patent law, US Government offices, and in industry.