Legendary Engineer Joins USC Viterbi

01/10/08
The founder of TRW and other top corporations accepts President Sample’s appointment to the USC Viterbi faculty as a professor of electrical engineering.
By John Cohoon
Before he turned 30, Simon Ramo had established 25 patents and was voted one of America’s top electrical engineers.

Simon Ramo, an engineering legend and an architect of the country’s rise as the leader in global technology, has joined the faculty of the USC Viterbi School of Engineering.

Ramo has accepted USC President Steven B. Sample’s appointment as a presidential chair and professor of electrical engineering. He thus joins Sample and the school’s namesake, Andrew Viterbi, on the faculty of the Ming Hsieh Department of Electrical Engineering.

Ramo the “R” in TRW is the founder and builder of several outstanding corporations, including TRW and the Ramo-Woolridge Corp. As chief scientist for the country’s intercontinental ballistic missile program, he helped provide the cornerstone for America’s defense, the foundation for its early explorations of space and one of its main engines of innovation.

In announcing the appointment, Yannis Yortsos, dean of the USC Viterbi School, noted that Ramo had achieved eminence in a remarkable variety of endeavors. “Si Ramo is an ideal model for the much-talked-about engineer of the 21st century,” Yortsos said. “We are enormously proud to associate our school with a scientist and engineer of his stature.”

Ramo earned his Ph.D. from the California Institute of Technology at age 23. As a General Electric scientist, he attained worldwide recognition as a pioneer in microwaves, the extremely high radio frequencies fundamental to radar and advanced communications, and he developed G.E.’s electron microscope. Before age 30, he had accumulated 25 patents, was made a fellow of the American Physical Society and several other major professional societies, and he was voted one of America’s “most outstanding young electrical engineers.”

Ramo’s writings on technology and society have appeared in numerous books and periodicals. His books on the application of science to social programs, Cure for Chaos and Century of Mismatch, have received wide critical acclaim and a public audience. A recent book,The Islands of E. Cono & My, examines world economic problems and provides fresh perspective on their solutions. He has also written a book called Extraordinary Tennis for the Ordinary Player.

Ramo is a founding member of the National Academy of Engineering and a member of the National Academy of Sciences and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. He joins fellow USC Viterbi faculty Andrew Viterbi, Solomon Golomb, Robert Hellwarth and Leonard Adleman with the distinction of membership in all three. He also is a member of the American Philosophical Society, the nation’s first learned society, founded by Benjamin Franklin in 1734. Ramo also has been awarded the National Medal of Science.