Carnegie Mellon Press Release: October 3, 2003
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Press Release

Chriss Swaney

For immediate release:
October 3, 2003

Carnegie Mellon Professor Robert White Receives Prestigious Pake Award For Outstanding Research in Physics and Leadership in Industrial R&D

PITTSBURGH—Robert M. White, university professor of electrical and computer engineering and head of the Data Storage Systems Center at Carnegie Mellon University, has won the 2004 George E. Pake Prize for outstanding research in physics and leadership in industrial research and development. The $5,000 prize is awarded by the American Physical Society (APS).

"Throughout his career, Robert White has pushed the agenda of partnerships with industry, government and academia by advancing both basic science and technology," said John L. Anderson, dean of Carnegie Mellon's College of Engineering. "He is a perfect candidate for this award and he deserves the honor."

White, who served as the first Undersecretary of Commerce for Technology under former President George Herbert Walker Bush, said he was particularly pleased about the award because he has known and admired George Pake for many years. "I knew him as a professor at Stanford and he also hired me into Xerox's Palo Alto Research Center," White said.

The prize was endowed in 1983 by the Xerox Corp. in recognition of the outstanding achievements of George E. Pake as a research physicist and a director of industrial research. Pake, incidently, is a 1945 graduate of Carnegie Mellon.

White's research has focused on the physics of magnetic phenomena, an area in which he has made seminal contributions to the behavior of light in magnetic materials. Magnetic technologies are the basis of magnetic data recording. As Control Data's chief technology officer in the late 1980s, White helped establish the first industrial collaborative research effort in the U.S., the Microelectronics and Computer Technology Corporation (MCC).

"As Undersecretary of Commerce for Technology, Robert White introduced the Advanced Technology Program which has enhanced U.S. industrial research on advanced technologies," said Mark Kryder, chief technology officer and senior vice president of research at Seagate Technology, a data storage manufacturer. "Subsequently, at Carnegie Mellon as head of the Electrical and Computer Engineering Department and as director of the Data Storage Systems Center, he worked closely with industry to develop advanced technologies, particularly in the area of data storage."

"White has made a tremendous contribution through his leadership to technology development and deployment in the country, and also at Carnegie Mellon," said Pradeep Khosla, head of Carnegie Mellon's Electrical and Computer Engineering Department. "This award recognizes his contributions."

A member of the National Academy of Engineering, White earned his undergraduate physics degree at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and his Ph.D. in physics at Stanford University. He also won the public service award from the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers in 1993.

The Pake Award will be presented to White at the APS March meeting during a special ceremonial session in Montreal, Canada.


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