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Laudatio de Magdalena Salazar

Laudatio Magdalena Salazar

Distinguished Rector, university officials, professors, students and friends:

Today, in representation of the Department of Signal and Communication Theory, I have the distinct honor of inviting the faculty to bestow the title of Doctor Honoris causa on Doctor Antti V. Räisänen, Professor at the University of Aalto, previously Helsinki University of Technology, Finland. I would like to thank the Rector for the great honor afforded me in presenting this encomium and will endeavor to highlight the most relevant aspects of his persona, his contributions to the scientific and academic communities and his impact on society.

Professor Räisänen is an internationally renowned researcher in high-frequency technologies (microwave, millimeter and terahertz waves) applied to modern communication systems and radio astronomy. The beginning of his career is noteworthy for his contribution to the experimental study of mixers cooled with high-frequency millimeter waves, which he worked on during his doctoral thesis, with a number of stays at the Five College Radio Astronomy Observatory (FCRAO) and the University of Massachusetts (USA). After earning his doctoral degree, he continued his international trajectory at the Chalmers University of Technology (Sweden). He was subsequently professor and visiting research fellow at University of California, Berkeley in the prestigious Jet Propulsion Laboratory at Caltech (California University of Technology) and NASA, as well as the Paris Observatory, University of Paris 6. His contribution to the scientific and academic community in Finland began at the Radio Laboratory, continued at the Department of Radio Science and Engineering at Helsinki University of Technology and ended at the department with the same name at the University of Aalto. He is also renowned for his excellent work as head and chief researcher at the Finish Centre of Excellence for Smart Radios and Wireless Research (SMARAD) at the Finish Academy.

During this time he has participated in and, essentially, directed a number of research projects funded by the European Union, the European Space Agency and other Finish and international organisms and companies. His research demonstrates a wide range of scientific interests that encompass essential and fundamental research in devices and technologies for the aforementioned high-frequency waves, the development of innovative devices and subsystems (mixers, amplifiers, antennas, receivers, etc.) with advanced features in the said waves, to a great variety of precise methods of experimental characterization for these devices, subsystems and systems for a wide variety of applications.  It’s impossible to mention all of the contributions here which have led to a total of more than 725 publications: 163 articles in high impact journals, 367 appearances in prestigious international conferences, 72 contributions to other scientific meetings and 125 other articles and technical papers. To this prolific scientific work we must add seven books (including a number of reissues), various book chapters and seven patents.  Dr Räisänen’s scientific achievements have been recognized through various awards from which it is worth mentioning his election as IEEE Fellow in 1994 “for his contribution and leadership in the receptor (receiver?) technology for millimeter wave bands”, his incorporation in 1995 as a member of the Finnish Academy of Technical Science, the Finnish Society of Electronic Engineers prize in 1998 “for bringing investigation and education in radio engineering in Finland to the highest international level”, his admission as an Edmond S. Gillespie Fellow in 2008 granted by AMTA (Antenna Measurements Techniques Association) “for his extraordinary and pioneering contributions to the theory, practice and art of antenna and radio frequency measurement”, the AMTA Distinguished Achievement Award of 2009 “for his extraordinary and pioneering contributions to the theory, practice and art of compact range measurements for antenna, based on holograms within the submillimetric wave band” and, most recently, the 2017 EuMA (European Microwave Association) Distinguished Service Award for his lifetime professional trajectory. 

Although I have been referring up to this point to his contributions as a researcher, his work as a teacher is no less important. It is sufficient to say that he has overseen 55 doctoral theses, 58 bachelor theses and more than 160 master’s theses: but perhaps most important of all is his student’s recognition of his exceptional abilities as a teacher due to his untiring dedication to improving teaching methods in a variety of inherently difficult subjects, the individual attention he gives to his students and his generosity.

His notable generosity at the service of the Finnish and international scientific and academic community is patent in the numerous works he has taken on throughout these years, such as imparting courses in radio engineering, antennas, mixers, microwave technology, millimeter and terahertz waves in places such as the European School of Antennas (ESoA), endorsed by the European Association of Antennas and Propagation (EurAAP). Professor Räisänen has also imparted various conferences by invitation at international seminars and congresses. But I would like to highlight, above all, his generous contribution to a number of committees both Finnish (Nokia Foundation, Helsinki Institute of Physics, Science Centre, Helsinki Institute for Information Technology, Finnish Academy Board of Investigation for Natural Sciences and Engineering, Millilab, Millimeter Wave Laboratory of Finland, European Space Agency’s external laboratory, ESA and more) and international: review panels and editorial boards in a number of scientific journals, EuMA Board of Directors, panel of experts at ESA, European Union Project Evaluation Panel as well as a number of organizational committees for international congresses. 

It was precisely at the organizational committee for the 1992 European Microwave Conference that I personally met Professor Räisänen. The 1993 edition of this event, the second most-important in the world, was held in Madrid and his generous help and guidance were fundamental to its success. Since then there has been a number of collaborations in various fields between Dr Räisänen and the groups within which I perform my research work. 

His dedication and generosity were also patent when he received a Chair of Excellence from this University, promoted by Professor Luis Enrique Garcia Muñoz from GREMA (Radiofrequency, Electromagnetism, Antennas and Microwaves Group) of which I am co-director. This began a period of intense collaboration between the professor and GREMA that produced, and continues to produce, excellent research up to this day, Together with other researchers and professors at GREMA, professor Räisänen developed antennas rod-waveguide and arrays (antenna configurations) of antennas rod-waveguide within the terahertz band, enabling antennas to emit higher power through greater bandwidth than other antennas using terahertz. He also contributed to the development and preparation of the terahertz antenna measuring bench for the GREMA research laboratory. During his stay he also increased his involvement in the doctoral thesis of one of the GREMA doctorate students. Since then he has continued his involvement with GREMA, co-authoring with members in a number of articles and renowned scientific magazines, presenting innovative solutions with terahertz technology: optical controlled phase shifters, transmitters based on rod-waveguides for photo-mixing technology, up-converters etc. He participated as co-author and co-editor of the book Semiconductor Terahertz Technology: Devices and Systems at Room Temperature Operation, published by Wiley-IEEE press in 2015. GREMA owes a debt of gratitude to professor Räisänen for his help in developing research into terahertz technologies, something the group has been focused on now for many years. Finally I would point out that he has worked as professor in the European School of Antennas (ESoA), a course that is organized each two years by GREMA in the Puerta de Toledo campus of our University. 

I would like to finish by pointing out that throughout all these years I have been able to appreciate both the human and the analytical qualities of professor Räisänen, a person of great honesty, an exceptional researcher, a talented leader, fascinating teacher, tireless worker and generous companion. 

Based on his significant merits, it is a great honor to ask in the name of the Department of Signal and Communications Theory that professor Räisänen be bestowed the title of Doctor Honoris Causa by Universidad Carlos III de Madrid.

Thank you very much.