Dr. Michael Steer, engineering professor, will receive the U.S. Army Commander’s Award for Public Service for research that has helped American forces remotely counter roadside bombs, saving hundreds of soldiers’ lives in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Maj. Gen. Nick Justice, commanding general of the Army’s Research, Development and Engineering Command, will present the award to Steer at 2 p.m. Thursday, March 11, in Engineering Building II, Room 3002.
Steer, the Lampe Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering, began with a plan to illuminate electronic communications devices such as mobile phones with electromagnetic energy and measure the response, which he likened to a real-world version of the tricorder scanning device used by characters in Star Trek. Through these measurements, conducted remotely, he was able learn much about the devices, including information about their components and circuits.
Steer’s work, funded by the Army, was extended to applications in electronic warfare and countering improvised explosive devices that have killed U.S. soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan. He is being honored not only for his research, but also for his efforts communicating with Army scientists and engineers and moving the research results from the laboratory to the battlefield.