Two UW-Madison engineers elected to national academy
Two University of Wisconsin-Madison College of Engineering faculty members are among the 65 engineers and nine foreign associates elected to the National Academy of Engineering (NAE) in 2008. Grainger Professor of Power Electronics and Electrical Machines Thomas Lipo and Professor Emeritus of Industrial and Systems Engineering Stephen Robinson (also computer sciences) have joined the ranks of 2,227 of the most distinguished engineers in the nation. NAE members are peer-elected for their outstanding contributions to engineering research, practice or education.
A faculty member in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, Lipo is known in the field of power electronics for designing and developing variable-speed drives. His work includes the study of power-conversion systems, including resonant, multilevel and matrix converters, special machines that operate with solid-state frequency converters, and control and stability in electrical drive systems.
He received his bachelor's and master's degrees from Marquette University in 1962 and ’64 and his PhD from UW-Madison in 1968. Prior to joining the College of Engineering in 1981, he spent 10 years as an electrical engineer at General Electric and taught at Purdue University.
In his career at UW-Madison, Lipo has been instrumental in forming and leading two power-focused research entities, the Wisconsin Power Electronics Research Center and the Wisconsin Electric Machines and Power Electronics Consortium.
Among his numerous honors, Lipo is a fellow of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) and a fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering, the United Kingdom equivalent of NAE.
A pioneer of decision science and stochastic optimization, Robinson received his BA in mathematics (’62) and his PhD in computer sciences (’71) from UW-Madison. He served as an officer in the U.S. Army from 1963 to 1969 and remained in the U.S. Army Reserve until retiring from the military in 1993 as a colonel. He earned a diploma from the U.S. Army War College in 1986.
Robinson’s main research focus has been optimization, the branch of applied mathematics devoted to maximizing systems performance, especially when there are constraints, barriers or uncertainties. He is a leader in developing decision-making tools for complex situations, including military-planning applications.
Robinson is a fellow of the Institute for Operations Research and the Management Sciences. He has also received the George B. Dantzig Prize—a top international award for mathematical programmers—from the Mathematical Programming Society and Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics, and the John K. Walker, Jr. Award from the Military Operations Research Society, among other honors and awards.
Founded in 1964, the NAE is a branch of the National Academies, which also include the National Academy of Sciences, the Institute of Medicine, and the National Research Council. In addition to its role as advisor to the federal government, the NAE also conducts independent studies to examine important topics in engineering and technology.