Fellow ARUN PHADKE
and Life Fellow JAMES THORP
are corecipients of the Franklin Institute’s 2008 Benjamin Franklin Medal in Engineering. They were recognized for pioneering contributions to the development and application of microprocessor controllers in electric power systems, which help prevent blackouts.
The annual Franklin Institute awards honor people “whose great innovation has benefited humanity, advanced science, launched new fields of inquiry, and deepened our understanding of the universe.”
Phadke [top] is a professor emeritus of electrical and computer engineering at Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University (Virginia Tech), in Blacksburg.
He received a bachelor of science degree in 1955 from Agra University (now Dr. Bhim Rao Ambedkar University), in India, and a bachelor’s degree in technology in 1959 from the Indian Institute of Technology, in Kharagpur. He went on to earn a master’s degree in electrical engineering in 1961 from the Illinois Institute of Technology, in Chicago, and a Ph.D. in 1964 from the University of Wisconsin in Madison.
Thorp is a professor in and head of the department of electrical and computer engineering at Virginia Tech.
He received bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral degrees in electrical engineering from Cornell University, in Ithaca, N.Y., in 1959, 1961, and 1962.
received a Grammy Award for the Best Historical Album for The Live Wire: Woody Guthrie in Performance, 1949, for which he was mastering engineer. Short was presented the award by the Recording Academy in February in Los Angeles at a ceremony held prior to the televised awards show.
Short, a mathematics professor at the University of New Hampshire, in Durham, is credited with developing chaotic compression technology, which uses advanced signal-processing methods and chaos theory to analyze audio, speech, video, and other data. He applied his techniques to interpret and digitize the irregular and broken signal from 1949 wire recordings of a Guthrie concert in Newark, N.J.
Paul Braverman, a college student at the time, had recorded the American folk singer’s concert on two spools of wire. In 2001 Braverman sent those spools to the Woody Guthrie Archives in New York City to include in its collection.
Short and a team of sound-restoration experts at Plangent Processes, an audio restoration company in Nantucket, Mass., worked to transfer the recording from the brittle wire to a digital format. The album was released in September 2007.
Short received bachelor’s degrees in physics and geological sciences in 1985 from the University of Rochester, in New York. He earned a Ph.D. in physics in 1988 from the Imperial College of Science, Technology and Medicine, in London.