Prof. Yahya Rahmat-Samii received the 2005 URSI Booker Gold Medal in New Delhi, India


The Booker Gold Medal honors the memory of Professor Henry G. Booker who served as URSI (International Union of Radio Science) Vice President, 1969-1975, and Honorary President until his death in 1988. The award is made normally at intervals of three years, on the occasion of the General Assembly of URSI. The Medal is awarded for outstanding contributions to telecommunications or a related discipline of direct interest to URSI. The award is for career achievements of the candidate with evidence of significant contributions within the most recent six-year period. The 2005 URSI General Assembly was held in New Delhi, India, October 23-29, 2005. President of India, Dr. Abdul Kalam attended the opening ceremony and presentation of awards with nearly 1300 participants from all corners of the world.


Prof. Yahya Rahmat-Samii was the recipient of the 2005 URSI Gold Medal with citation, for fundamental contributions to reflector antenna design and practice, near-field measurements and diagnostic techniques, handheld antennas and human interactions, genetic algorithms in electromagnetics, and the spectral theory of diffraction.


Prof. Yahya Rahmat-Samii's acceptance speech at the URSI Booker Gold Medal Award Ceremony 

There are certain moments in one's life that spark the ultimate satisfaction. There is no doubt that today's award ceremony is such a moment, as it is held in this historically and culturally rich country of India and in the presence of her President. Your Excellency the President of India, the URSI President and Board, honored guests, ladies and gentlemen, it is with the utmost pleasure and humility that I accept the 2005 Booker Gold Medal of URSI. My relationship with the URSI community has been a journey that has encompassed creative thinking, visionary dreams, and above all, enduring friendships.


From an early age, the cosmos and the vastness of space and the universe fascinated me. When I became exposed for the first time to the amazing postulate of Einstein that the speed of light is the ultimate speed, and to Maxwell's discovery that all electromagnetic phenomena, including light, could be captured in four simple mathematical equations, I knew that this was the area for me to focus upon. My dream took me from the University of Tehran to the University of Illinois to the NASA/Jet Propulsion Laboratory, and then to the University of California, Los Angeles. My sincere appreciation to all these organizations, which challenged me to learn about new frontiers in science and engineering. These organizations also created an environment in which my research could flourish.


We are at the dawn of a new millennium, bound to evolve and progress by advances in science and technology as at no time in history, science and engineering have played a central role in creating wealth, prosperity, and freedom. I strongly believe that electromagnetic phenomena and antennas are key components in this progress. This can be readily observed in this General Assembly by noticing our various URSI Commissions' contributions in the areas of wireless communications, satellite communications, remote sensing, biomedical applications, radio astronomy, nanotechnology, defense applications, etc. Henry Booker was a giant in our field, who contributed immensely to our understanding of many of these areas, in particular the ionospheric sciences and basic electromagnetics. I had the pleasure to briefly know him and his wife. I am certain that this award will forever enrich my scientific life.


There are so many individuals that I need to thank. In the spirit of the evolutionary process, I would like to thank my family, my mentors, and my past, present, and future students and colleagues. This award belongs to all of those who have shaped my scientific and personal life. May our endeavors create a better life for all the citizens of the world and, perhaps, the universe!


For our young engineers and students, I would like to quote a statement from Goddard, the father of space rocketry in the USA. He wrote, "it is difficult to say what is impossible, for the dream of yesterday is the hope of today and the reality of tomorrow." A philosophical statement by Mahatma Gandhi is also timely, as he wrote, "it is unwise to be too sure of one's own wisdom. It is healthy to be reminded that the strongest might weaken and the wisest might err."


In closing, I want to state that my association with URSI has been profoundly enriching and rewarding. May Maxwell's equations be with you! I will cherish this award forever.


Yahya Rahmat-Samii

Distinguished Professor

Electrical Engineering Department

University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA)

Los Angeles, CA 90095


New Delhi, India, October 23, 2005



Yahya Rahmat-Samii with the President of India, Dr. Abdul Kalam. New Delhi, Oct. 23, 2005. Photo from the website of President of India.


Yahya Rahmat-Samii and URSI officials with the President of India, Dr. Abdul Kalam. New Delhi, Oct. 23, 2005. Photo from the website of President of India.