Electrical Engineering Professor Wins Distinguished Research Award

May 2012 By

OXFORD, Miss. - During his 25-year tenure at the University of Mississippi, Atef Elsherbeni has spent a fair share of time in the classroom teaching electrical engineering principles and mentoring students. He also has carved out a legacy of research that has led to significant improvements in the telecommunications industry.

Elsherbeni, professor of electrical engineering and associate dean of research and graduate programs in the UM School of Engineering, added another career accolade this weekend. He has been named the fifth recipient of UM's Distinguished Research and Creative Achievement Award.

The award, including $7,500 and a personal plaque, was presented during UM's main commencement ceremony Saturday (May 12) by Alice Clark, vice chancellor for research and sponsored programs.

"The award was created to recognize and pay tribute to a faculty member whose career and achievements have generated national and international accolades; someone who has been a leader in his chosen field, who has inspired and encouraged others, who is admired and respected by his peers and who has made outstanding lifelong contributions to his profession and to our institution," Clark said.

"Dr. Atef Elsherbeni has done all this. His contributions have made an enormous impact on science, engineering and technology, particularly in the technologies that make the wonders of modern communication possible: electromagnetic waves, radar power, miniaturized antennas and personal communication systems.

"His research projects have garnered support from both government and industry and these projects have advanced basic knowledge, provided educational opportunities for students, provided real-world solutions to important problems and had a tremendous impact on the university research stature and recognition."

Reflecting upon the recognition, Elsherbeni said, "This is a great honor and recognition. I am very pleased to be among those few who received this award. At the same time, I felt the pressure and responsibility to do better and be more productive. It is not easy in today's challenging environment, but we all have to try our best."

He has authored five books, 136 refereed journal articles, 28 book chapters, more than 330 professional presentations, 26 short courses, 29 invited seminars and 74 technical reports throughout the world. Since serving on his first doctoral committee, he has been the dissertation chair for more than 13 doctoral students and 33 master's students.

Presented with the 2009-2012 Finland Distinguished Professor by the Academy of Finland, it was noted that "Professor Elsherbeni simply brings a high-caliber prestige and recognition to any institution/organization he is associated with."

His research efforts have brought more than $10 million to the university. Several Mississippi companies and national corporations have supported his research group activities by direct contracts and gifts.

Elsherbeni is a member of many professional organizations, including the Applied Computational Electromagnetics Society and the Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers. He served as editor of ACES Journal and assumes major responsibility for the organization's annual symposium.

His stellar reputation is known to have helped bring several Egyptian government-funded doctoral students for various engineering departments to the Oxford campus. Over the years, he has developed with his students many educational software packages that are being used in numerous schools and are referenced in well-known textbooks in the field.

As recipient of the Distinguished Research and Creative Achievement Award, Elsherbeni said he feels that his family and the engineering school should share in the honor.

"First is my mother, who taught me all elementary school subjects and made me love mathematics in my early stages of my education; my father, for his continuous encouragements especially, at the difficult times while studying for my Ph.D. degree in Canada; my wife, for her continued support and sacrifice for more than 30 years, and my children, who accepted my busy academic life and did not complain."

Elsherbeni also acknowledged his Ph.D. adviser, M. Hamid, his mentor and former department chair Charles E. Smith, his students and colleagues.

"I especially (credit) Dr. Fan Yang with whom we have been successful to maintain good research productivity in very difficult years; my former dean, Dr. Kai-Fong Lee, who provided me with continuous encouragement, support and important contributions to our research group; and my current dean, Dr. Alexander Cheng, who believed in my capabilities and was not reluctant to support unique teaching and research activities and for nominating me for this award," Elsherbeni said.

Elsherbeni joined the Ole Miss faculty in 1987 and has been a visiting professor at UCLA, Magdeburg (Germany) and Syracuse universities. He received both bachelor's and master's degrees from Cairo University, and he holds a doctorate in electrical engineering from the University of Manitoba.

Elsherbeni is married to Magda Elshemy. They are the parents of two daughters and a son.

The annual Distinguished Research and Creative Achievement Award is sponsored by Pharmaceutics International Inc., whose CEO, Syed Abidi, is a UM alumnus. The inaugural recipient of the award, in 2008, was Sam Shu-Yi Wang, F.A.P. Barnard Distinguished Professor of Mechanical Engineering. Larry A. Walker, director of the National Center for Natural Products Research, was the 2009 recipient, Charles Reagan Wilson, the Kelly Gene Cook Chair of History and professor of Southern studies, received it in 2010 and Dale Flesher, Arthur Anderson Lecturer in the Patterson School of Accountancy, was last year's recipient.