Villanova Professor Moeness Amin Wins Humboldt Prize

Moeness Amin, PhD
Moeness Amin, PhD

Renowned radar signal processing expert Moeness Amin, PhD, Director of Villanova University’s Center for Advanced Communications, and Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering, has been awarded Germany’s prestigious Humboldt Prize, also known as the Alexander von Humboldt Research Award. Sponsored by the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation, this international honor recognizes the lifetime achievements of researchers whose fundamental discoveries and new theories and insights have had a significant impact on their discipline, and who are “expected to continue producing cutting-edge achievements in the future.” The Humboldt Prize will be presented to Dr. Amin at the annual Humboldt meeting in Berlin on July 6th, 2016. The highlight of the meeting is a reception hosted by the President of the Federal Republic of Germany.

The Humboldt Foundation is named in honor of Friedrich Wilhelm Heinrich Alexander von Humboldt (1769–1859), a German geographer, naturalist and explorer. Originally funded by von Humboldt’s friends and colleagues after his death, the foundation was reendowed by the German government after World War II to promote international academic cooperation with German scientists.

Humboldt Prize winners represent countries all over the world and reflect a broad range of disciplines, from the sciences, mathematics and medicine, to linguistics, management and philosophy. Since 2013, only eight researchers from the United States have received the Humboldt Prize in engineering fields, including architecture and material science. No awards have been presented in signal processing—Dr. Amin’s area of specialization. In achieving this honor for the University, Villanova joins Princeton University, University of Illinois, Georgia Institute of Technology, Duke University, University of Pennsylvania, University of Maryland, Iowa State University, and Missouri University of Science and Technology.

Nominated by long-time collaborator Abdelhak Zoubir, PhD, professor and head of the signal processing group of Germany’s Darmstadt University of Technology (TU-DA), Dr. Amin is cited for “active and vibrant research efforts” and “continued commitment to advances in engineering and technology.” Dr. Zoubir notes Dr. Amin’s focus on “merging technological knowledge with societal needs,” and highlights his representative projects, including, advancing assisted living with radar, improving the quality of wireless services in communications, providing accurate and robust positioning in satellite navigations, enabling search and discoveries of extraterrestrial intelligence in radio telescopes, streamlining postal services and parcel tracking in RFID, and achieving effective structure health monitoring in ultrasound. The nomination material includes documentation of Dr. Amin’s publications throughout the past 10 years, as well as descriptions of his key publications, technical discoveries, and current and future projects.

The Humboldt Prize nomination underscores Dr. Amin’s many accomplishments: “Dr. Amin has significantly contributed to advances in signal analysis and processing for communications, radar, satellite navigation, radio frequency identification (RFID) and ultrasound. The depth and breadth of his research contributions to signal processing are unique, as evidenced by the diversity of his prestigious awards and fellowships.”

Dr. Amin describes the Humboldt Prize as “the award that certainly recognizes my contributions to the broad area of signal processing and crowns all of my past achievements.” Dr. Amin’s numerous accolades include being a Fellow of four societies: the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE), the International Society of Optical Engineering (SPIE), the Institute of Engineering and Technology (IET), and the European Association for Signal Processing (EURASIP). Dr. Amin has received technical achievement awards from the IEEE Signal Processing Society in 2014, EURASIP in 2009, and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) in 2010. In addition, Dr. Amin was awarded the IEEE Third Millennium Medal, the 2015 IEEE Aerospace and Electronic Systems Society Warren D. White Award for “Excellence in Radar Engineering,” and the 2010 Chief of Naval Research Challenge Award. Other honors include being the first faculty in Villanova’s College of Engineering to receive the University’s Outstanding Faculty Research Award in 1997, being named an IEEE Signal Processing Society distinguished lecturer in 2003-2004, and chairing the electrical cluster of the Franklin Institute Committee on Science and the Arts.  

A prolific author, the Humboldt Prize nomination references Dr. Amin’s impressive publication record, which includes three books, 20 book chapters, and more than 200 journal articles and 500 conference papers earning more than 10,300 citations with a 51 H-index. The nomination underscores the fact that in 2015, Dr. Amin averaged six published papers a month—a testament to his superior, dynamic and active research. His international partnerships are acknowledged as well: “Dr. Amin’s research collaborations are growing, transcending his university to reach research groups and academic institutions in Australia, France, Germany, Italy, Montenegro, Spain, and the United Kingdom.”

The Alexander von Humboldt Foundation grants up to 100 Humboldt Research Awards annually in all disciplines, with a prize valued at €60,000 (more than $67,000), and “the possibility of further support during the prize winner's life.” Recipients are invited to spend up to one year cooperating on a long-term research project with specialist colleagues at a German research institution. Dr. Amin will continue his collaboration with TU-DA’s signal processing group, playing an important role in the development of a new research initiative on assisted living. In addition, the Communications Research Laboratory of Technische Universität Ilmenau and the Institute of Digital Signal Processing of Universität Duisburg-Essen, among others, have expressed strong interest in hosting Dr. Amin as a keynote speaker for seminars and short courses. Dr. Amin states, “It is indeed gratifying to have been selected to receive such international recognition, which will enable me to pursue valuable collaborations with Darmstadt and accelerate the development of radar technology for indoor remote monitoring.”

Dr. Amin also was interviewed about his research on Philadelphia's KYW Radio. Listen to Interview 1 and Interview 2.

For Dr. Amin’s complete biography, including, awards, publications, speaking engagements and research grants, please visit the CAC website.

The official press release about Dr. Amin’s prestigious Humboldt Prize was picked up by a number of national media outlets, including the Houston Chronicle and WDRB 41 Louisville News.‎