MCS Alumni Frederick Dill and Lawrence Sulak Received Distinguished Achievement Awards-Mellon College of Science - Carnegie Mellon University

Friday, October 13, 2006

MCS Alumni Frederick Dill and Lawrence Sulak Received Distinguished Achievement Awards

Frederick Dill, executive engineer at Hitachi Global Storage Technologies, and Lawrence Sulak, the David M. Myers Distinguished Professor and Chairman of the Physics Department at Boston University, have each received a 2006 Distinguished Achievement Award from the Carnegie Mellon Alumni Association. The award is the university’s highest level of recognition, given for notable achievement and leadership that serves as an inspiration to the next generation. They accepted their awards at the Alumni Awards Ceremony at 7:30 p.m. on Oct. 13 in Rangos Ballroom.

Both Dill and Sulak delivered Distinguished Alumni Lectures on Thursday, Oct. 12.

Dill presented "Careers in High Tech" from 4:30 – 5:30 p.m. in the Connan Room, University Center.

Sulak presented “Discovering our Universe: From the Big Bang to Our Demise” from 4:30 – 5:30 p.m. in the Peter Wright Room, University Center.

Frederick Dill

During his almost 50-year career with IBM and recently with Hitachi, Dill has been at the forefront of technology development. His pioneering research has enabled the creation of CD and DVD players, high performance video displays, and increasingly smaller electronic storage devices.

Dill joined IBM research in 1958 after he earned his bachelor’s (physics and engineering ’54), master’s (electrical engineering ’56) and doctor’s (electrical engineering ’58) degrees from Carnegie Mellon.

“We are exceedingly proud of Dr. Dill and all his accomplishments. His work serves as a role model for our students,” said Ed Schlesinger, head of Carnegie Mellon's electrical and computer engineering department.

At IBM, Dill and three colleagues built the first gallium arsenide direct injection laser, a “semiconductor” laser that is the basis of the laser now used in CD players, barcode scanners and fiber optic communications. While at IBM, Dill also helped transform microelectronic semiconductor device lithography, the process used to manufacture microchips for computers and electronic devices. In fact, the “Dill parameters” are still used to describe a step in this process. In the 1980s, he was lead inventor of video RAM (random access memory), which stores image data for a computer’s display. 
In 2004, when IBM sold its information storage business to Hitachi, Dill went to Hitachi as an executive engineer. That same year Dill received the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) Jun-ichi Nishizawa Medal for his leadership and achievements in the field of storage miniaturization and microelectronics. According to Currie Munce, vice president of research, Hitachi Global Storage Technologies, “Dill’s research and innovations in storage technology have led to breakthroughs that have in turn enabled digital music players and other consumer electronics devices to continually shrink in size while increasing in storage capacity. None of these devices that we take for granted today would be as advanced, portable or small as they now are were it not for contributions from Dr. Dill's work.”

Dill was one of the early presidents of IBM's Academy of Technology, and he is a member of the National Academy of Engineering and an IEEE Life Fellow. He has served on the IEEE Board of Directors and as president of the IEEE Electron Devices Society. Dill holds more than 30 patents.

Lawrence Sulak

Sulak is highly distinguished for his fundamental contributions to the world of particle physics. His discovery that subatomic particles called neutrinos have a finite mass was hailed by Popular Science has one of the top ten science achievements of 1998. This finding was the first indication of science beyond the Standard Model of particle physics. The Standard Model, a framework that describes the fundamental subatomic particles and how they interact, included the assumption that neutrinos were massless. Sulak’s discovery is one of the top three most frequently referenced experimental particle physics papers of all time.

Sulak also conducts research that examines the four fundamental forces of nature — the strong, weak and electromagnetic forces and gravity. For decades physicists have sought the unification of these four forces. In the 1970s, Sulak and his collaborators demonstrated that the weak and electromagnetic forces are unified into an electroweak force. To test the next level of unification, the grand unification of the electroweak with the strong force, Sulak proposed and guided to fruition a massive 10,000 ton ring-imaging Cherenkov detector. He and his collaborators began using the detector in the 1980s to search for the predicted signal of unification, the ultimate decay of matter. Instead, their findings disproved the simplest theory of grand unification. The detector also recorded an inexplicable absence of atmospheric neutrinos and observed the first neutrino outburst from the collapse of a star.

Sulak currently is involved with several detector programs throughout the world, including the Super-K Neutrino and Proton Decay Detector in Japan; the g-2 Experiment at Brookhaven National Laboratory; the MACRO Experiment at the Laboratori Nazionali del Gran Sasso in Abruzzo, Italy; and the CMS Quartz Fiber Forward Calorimeter for the Large Hadron Collider at CERN.

Sulak earned his bachelor’s degree in physics from Carnegie Mellon in 1966 then went on to earn his master’s degree and doctorate in physics from Princeton University. In 1989 he won the Bruno Rossi Prize of the American Astronomical Society (shared with the Super K collaboration), and in 2000 he was recognized as one of the “Top 1000 Scientists of the Millennium.” He is a fellow of the American Physical Society, and he also been a fellow of the National Science Foundation and a Guggenheim Foundation fellow.

By: Amy Pavlak