Dr. Nabeel A. Riza

Nabeel A. Riza completed his Cambridge University (U.K.) 1978 O-level and 1980 A-level overseas school certificates with Double Distinction in Mathematics. He attended St. Anthony’s High School and Aitchison College, both in Lahore, Pakistan. In August 1981, Riza joined the Illinois Institute of Technology, graduating in August 1984 with a B. S. degree in Electrical Engineering (EE). He graduated amongst the top 3 seniors of the entire institute, receiving the Illinois Institute’s Highest Academic Honor, the IIT Alumni Association Academic Achievement Award.

Riza joined the California Institute of Technology (Caltech) in on a full graduate scholarship in October 1984. He received his M.S. degree in EE in June 1985, and completed his doctorate in the same field in Oct., 1989. In 1988, Riza’s graduate work on antenna controls won him an International Society for Optical Engineering (SPIE) Student Scholarship Award. A decade later in 1998, The International Optical Society (OSA) honored Riza with a Fellow Award for his pioneering work in photonic controls for radars and antenna arrays. After completing his Ph.D. work in 1989, Riza joined the Liquid Crystal Display (LCD) Group at the General Electric Corporate Research and Development (GE-CRD) Center, New York. Upon joining GE-CRD, Riza showed how LCD technology could be used for optically controlling antenna arrays. For his High Risk/High Impact research ideas for GE-Aerospace, he received a 1990 GE-CRD New Start Research Award.

The next 5 years, Riza led the GE Optically Controlled Radar Project. At GE, he continued his research in acousto-optics and also initiated the earliest works in simple electronic control liquid crystal lenses. In 1998, SPIE presented him with a Fellow Award for his research contributions in acousto-optic signal processing and liquid crystal devices. With the sale of GE Aerospace to Lockheed-Martin in 1995, Riza decided to join academia at a new Optics Center called CREOL as an Associate Professor, being promoted to Full Professor in 2001. Prof. Riza established CREOL’s first Photonic Information Processing Systems Laboratory that focused on research in Applied Optics with pioneering works in power plant sensors,biomedical optics, nano-scale test & measurement optical instruments, fiber-optic communications, acousto-optic signal processing, optical MEMS, liquid crystal devices, microwave photonics and radar, and freespace laser communications. These works are described in over 357 publications (151 Journal papers) and 46 issued patents. In 2000, Riza launched a startup Company, Nuonics, Inc., to commercialize inventions.

Riza is the Editor of the reference book on Photonics and Antenna Controls. For his pioneering works in photonic signal processing and fiber-optics, Riza received the International Commission for Optics 2001 ICO Prize and 2001 Ernst Abbe Medal from Carl Zeiss Foundation-Germany. In 2007, Riza received an IEEE Fellow Award for his pioneering contributions to the international field of Applied Optics. In 2007, Riza was Visiting Professor at the Delft University of Technology. In 2008, Riza was one of three scientists awarded the Eramus-Mundus Scholar Award by the European Union (EU) Erasmus Masters Optics Program.

Riza was one of eight worldwide individuals/project groups in applied laser technology and commercialization to receive the German 2008 Berhold Leibinger Innovation Prize Nominee Distinction Award for his invention of hybrid laser beam profiler technology. Riza received a 2009 and 2010 IEEE Photonics Society Distinguished Lecturer Award for his work in extreme optical sensors and a 2009 Science Foundation Ireland Walton Award as Distinguished Visiting Fellow at National Univ. of Ireland-Galway. In August 2011, Riza was appointed Chair Professor of EEE and Department Head, University College Cork, Ireland and Associate Member, Tyndall National Institute, Ireland. In 2011, he received the IET (former IEE) Fellow Award and in 2012 he received the European Optical Society (EOS) Fellow Award. In 2011, Riza established the first IEEE Student Section at UCC.

Riza authored his first textbook Photonic Signals and Systems: An Introduction, in January 2013, published by McGraw Hill. In June 2013, Prof. Riza was appointed as the Head (Dean) of the School of Engineering at UCC. In April 2015, he received the Engineers Ireland Honorary Fellow Award, the highest membership distinction of the Engineers Ireland Society. In November 2016, he was appointed to the Royal Irish Academy (RIA) Engineering and Computer Science Committee. In April 2017, he is inducted into the US National Academy of Inventors (NAI).

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