Arogyaswami Joseph Paulraj, professor emeritus of electrical engineering, has been named the winner of the 2014 Marconi Society prize. A pioneer in the field of wireless technology, his innovations have become the backbone of today’s ubiquitous Wi-Fi and 4G systems.
Paulraj is the latest Stanford-affiliated winner of the Marconi Prize, awarded to recognize advancements in communications. Past winners of the $100,000 prize have included cryptographer Ron Rivest Ph.D. ’74 and Google co-founders Sergey Brin M.S. ’95 and Larry Page M.S. ’98.
“Paulraj has made profound contributions to wireless technology, and the resulting benefit to mankind is indisputable,” said Sir David Payne, chairman of the Marconi Society, which administers the award. “Every Wi-Fi router and 4G phone today uses…technology pioneered by him.”
Paul, as his colleagues refer to him, joined the Navy in his native India after graduating from high school at 15. While serving, he taught himself everything from weapons maintenance to information theory. After brief stints studying and researching in India and the U.K., he came to Stanford to join the research group of Thomas Kailath, emeritus professor of engineering.
In 1998, Paulraj founded Iospan Wireless, which established and developed his research as the core 4G technology. Today, he remains active supervising postdoctoral students and serving as a senior advisor to communications company Broadcom.
“It has taken the effort of thousands of engineers and researchers…to make this happen,” Paulraj said. “My contribution, in comparison, is indeed small.”