Solomon Golomb to Receive Franklin Medal
Solomon Golomb is being honored for his work in space communications. Photo by Luke Fisher.

Solomon Golomb to Receive Franklin Medal

The University Professor and Distinguished Professor of Electrical Engineering and Mathematics joins a list that includes Albert Einstein, Marie Curie and Stephen Hawking.
Amy Blumenthal

Solomon Golomb, University Professor and Distinguished Professor of Electrical Engineering and Mathematics, has been selected to receive the Franklin Institute’s 2016 Benjamin Franklin Medal in Electrical Engineering. The award will be presented at a ceremony in April 2016.

With this award, Golomb will join the ranks of previous Franklin Medal recipients and distinguished laureates including Albert Einstein, Marie Curie, Stephen Hawking and Elizabeth Blackburn.

Golomb is being honored for his work in space communications and the design of digital spread spectrum signals — transmissions that provide security, interference suppression and precise locations for applications such as cryptography, missile guidance, defense, space and cellular communications, radar, sonar and GPS.

When Golomb first studied mathematics, the discipline was expected to remain pure without application. However, when an engineer would come to Golomb with a practical problem, Golomb would have the mathematical tools to provide the solution.

He was most satisfied when his ideas were used. “The more usable an application was, the more satisfied I was,” he said.

Golomb started his career at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif., where his team invented space communications and digital communications. He started at USC in 1963 and has been at the university for more than 50 years. His work on shift register sequences is integral to the function of cellphones, and Golomb is the author of the first book with a title that included the term “digital communications.” His scholarship in that discipline would help establish USC as a destination for the study of the subject.

Golomb received the USC Presidential Medallion in 1985 and the National Medal of Science in 2011. He holds joint appointments at USC Dornsife and USC Viterbi School of Engineering.