Dr. Lee-Lueng Fu
JPL senior research scientist Lee-Lueng Fu. Image credit: NASA/JPL
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PASADENA, Calif. – Lee-Lueng Fu, a senior research scientist at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif., and Yahya Rahmat-Samii, a former JPL scientist who is now an engineering professor at the University of California, Los Angeles, have been elected to the National Academy of Engineering -- among the highest professional distinctions accorded an engineer.

Membership in the National Academy of Engineering honors those who have made significant contributions to "engineering research, practice, or education" and to "pioneering of new and developing fields of technology, [and] making major advancements ... in engineering, or [in] developing/implementing new approaches to engineering education," according to the academy, which is based in Washington, D.C. Fu and Rahmat-Samii were two of 65 members elected in the 2008 class. An induction ceremony for the academy's class of 2008 will be held on Oct. 5, 2008, during the annual meeting of the National Academy of Engineering.

Fu is NASA's project scientist for two joint oceanography missions with France, Jason and the Ocean Surface Topography Mission/Jason-2. Fu's research has been focused on the dynamics of ocean waves and ocean circulation. Since 1988, he has led an international team of oceanographers and geophysicists in developing precise measurements of ocean surface topography using satellite altimetry.

"I'm really thrilled by this honor," Fu said. "This is really a team effort. I feel lucky to work with a first-class engineering team on lab, as well as at the French space agency. I also feel privileged to work with a world-class, international science team."

Fu joined JPL in 1980. A native of Taipei, Taiwan, he graduated with a bachelor of science degree in physics from National Taiwan University, and a doctorate in oceanography from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, Mass, and the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, Woods Hole, Mass.

Rahmat-Samii, a native of Tehran, Iran, is the Northrop Grumman chair in electromagnetics in the department of engineering at UCLA. Before joining UCLA, he was a senior research scientist at JPL. From 1978 to 1989, Rahmat-Samii helped develop the antenna systems for NASA-JPL's Galileo and Cassini spacecraft, the Deep Space Network, and other Earth-observation and remote systems.

He graduated with a master of science degree and a doctorate in electrical engineering from the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, and a bachelor's degree, with the highest distinctions, in electrical engineering from the University of Tehran, Iran.

Rahmat-Samii was deeply gratified to be recognized by the National Academy of Engineering. He noted that many of the antenna designs he, his colleagues and his students developed are used in cell phones, planetary spacecraft and Earth-observation satellites.

"In one's life, especially as an engineer or scientist, the honor really makes you feel so proud of your work and of the collaboration with my colleagues at JPL and my students here," said Rhamat-Samii. "I was just the lucky person in the process."

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Rhea Borja 818-354-0850
Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif.