UMaine Professor Named IEEE Fellow

Contact: Professor John Vetelino, (207) 581-2264; Aimee Dolloff, (207) 581-3777

ORONO, Maine – University of Maine electrical and computer engineering Professor John Vetelino has been conferred as a 2010 Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) Fellow.

Vetelino received the honor for his contributions to acoustic wave properties of piezoelectric crystals and their application in sensors.

The IEEE Grade of Fellow is conferred by the Board of Directors upon a person with an extraordinary record of accomplishments in any of the IEEE fields of interest. The total number selected in any one year does not exceed one-tenth of one percent of the total voting membership of the institute, making it a very prestigious honor.

“His IEEE award is the first for any electrical and computer engineering faculty in the state of Maine and possibly any engineer in Maine,” according to UMaine Electrical and Computer Engineering Department Chair Mohamad Musavi, who nominated Vetelino for the award.

To become an IEEE Fellow, the nominee must have accomplishments that have contributed importantly to the advancement or application of engineering, science and technology, bringing the realization of significant value to society.

“He is a devoted scientist, educator, and public servant who has made significant contributions to the area of bulk and surface acoustic waves and their applications in sensor science and technology,” Musavi wrote of Vetelino in his nomination.

At UMaine, Vetelino is one of the founding members of the Laboratory for Advanced Surface Science and Technology (LASST), an interdisciplinary research facility focusing on research of advanced materials in areas related to microelectronics, sensors, composites, paper, and biotechnology.

He received the UMaine Distinguished Maine Professor Award in 2008, and the UMaine Presidential Research and Creative Achievement Award in 1980.

In addition to advising more than 50 masters and doctoral candidates, Vetelino has received more than 100 science and education research contracts totaling more than $25 million from the National Science Foundation (NSF), the Department of Defense (DOD), government laboratories, and industrial laboratories. He also received 25 NSF science education grants for involving highly qualified undergraduates in state-of-the-art research.

The numerous research breakthroughs by Vetelino and his research groups have resulted in the incubation of several small sensor companies from Dr Vetelino’s group, namely, Mainely Sensors, Sensor Research and Development Corporation, BIODE Corporation and Microconversion Technology. He also consults with government laboratories and many industries and serves as a reviewer for several scientific journals and government funding agencies.

When asked what the award meant to him, Vetelino said he has received other recognition for his work, but that being named an IEEE is significant.

“It’s probably the highest award that an electrical engineer can ever receive,” he says. “It’s an award that requires a tremendous amount of scrutiny in terms of the nomination process, and then in how the actual award winner is chosen.”

He noted that the competition in the northeast region is particularly tough because he was up again researchers from institutions such as the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Harvard, Yale and Columbia universities.

Vetelino formally will be recognized in October 2010 as an IEEE Fellow at the IEEE Ultrasonics Symposium in San Diego, California.