Press release

Esteemed engineers to be honoured for achievements

25 October 2012


Esteemed engineers Professor Alf Adams, Dr N F Chin and Dr Irwin Mark Jacobs will be rewarded for their outstanding achievements with Honorary Fellowships from the Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET).

Professor Adams will receive the honour in recognition of his work on the strained quantum-well laser.  He is a Professor of Physics at the University of Surrey’s Advanced Technology Institute.

Dr Chin from Hong Kong will receive the honour in recognition of his outstanding contribution to the promotion of the IET across the world and particularly in relation to Hong Kong.

Dr Jacobs from the USA will receive the honour in recognition of his contribution to the development of telecommunications.  He is founding Chairman and CEO Emeritus of Qualcomm.

Semi-conductor lasers have been one of Alf Adams’ major interests for over 30 years. In 1986 he proposed that the electronic band structure of quantum well lasers could be significantly improved by deliberately growing the active layer in a state of strain.  

It was found that this greatly improved almost all the laser’s properties and presently strained quantum-well devices dominate the semi-conductor laser market.  They are used for the internet, DVDs, computer memories and mice, and even to provide the power for metal cutting and welding.  

Professor Adams said: “I am delighted and feel greatly honoured to receive this very prestigious award. However, I would like to acknowledge the considerable efforts of the many other engineers whose ingenuity has made it possible for strained-layer lasers to find such a myriad of applications.”

Dr Chin has a degree from the University of Strathclyde and a PhD from Bath University, where his research work focused on power system protection. He started his professional career in power system protection with GEC Measurements.  He left GEC after 25 years and went solo in Hong Kong as a consulting engineer.  

He focuses on power system protection, engineering consultancy, technical training and sales & marketing of power-engineering-related products. Dr Chin has served on numerous IET Boards and Committees and has been a major force in creating and managing the IET Hong Kong Network, one of the most dynamic and successful IET Local Networks.

Dr Chin said: “I am honoured and pleased to receive this award. It also belongs to the staff and volunteers who provide support to enable my work with the Institution to be recognised.”

Dr Irwin Jacobs, an electrical engineer, is the Founding Chairman and CEO Emeritus of Qualcomm.  In 1968, after 13 years as professor at MIT and the University California, San Diego, he co-founded and led Linkabit Corporation to successful development and manufacture of satellite terminals and satellite-to-home TV descramblers.  Following the sale of Linkabit, he co-founded Qualcomm in 1985, a company known for its innovative cellular phone technology and as the largest supplier of semiconductors to wireless phone manufacturers. The company employs over 21,000 people and has annual revenues over $18 billion.

Dr Jacobs said: "It is my great pleasure to receive this Honorary Fellowship from the Institution of Engineering and Technology.  I was privileged to participate in the early years of information theory at MIT and to co-author a textbook on digital communications.  

“Upon leaving academia, I focused on attracting outstanding engineers to develop innovative products based on information theory, including CDMA, the technology that powers all third generation cellular communications.  Now, IET members in the Information and Communications Sector along with many others are driving the continued evolution of mobile broadband internet access and of smart phones and devices, developments that positively transform the lives of all."

IET President, Professor Andy Hopper CBE, said: “I am delighted that we are able to mark these outstanding individuals with the IET’s highest honour.  Their contribution to science, engineering and technology is immense and their positive influence is felt by us all every day, right across the world.”

Media enquiries to:

Robert Beahan
External Communications Manager

Tel: +44 (0)1438 767336
Mob: +44 (0)7595 400912
Email: rbeahan@theiet.org

Notes to editors:

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