IEEE Honors Prem Kumar as a Life Fellow Member

The lifetime distinction recognizes significant contributions to one’s field of study

Prem Kumar, professor of electrical and computer engineering at Northwestern Engineering and professor of physics and astronomy at Northwestern’s Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences, has been elevated to a Life Fellow member by the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE).

The designation of Life Member is granted to an IEEE member who has reached 65 years old and has been a member of IEEE (or one of its predecessor societies) for such a period that the sum of the member’s age and years of membership equals or exceeds 100 years.

Prem Kumar“I am honored and delighted to be recognized by the IEEE for this achievement. More than anything else, it is an acknowledgment of the sustained contributions I have been lucky enough to make,” Kumar said. “I am thankful to Northwestern, and the ECE Department in the McCormick School of Engineering in particular, for nurturing a stimulating environment for this to be possible."

Kumar is a leader in the fields of quantum communications, quantum information processing and computing, quantum sensing and imaging, and fiber-optic communications. His research interests lie at the intersection of basic quantum science and applied information technology, including developing novel fiber-optic devices for ultra-high-speed optical and quantum communication networks; creating networks and devices that take advantage of quantum mechanics for highly secure information and networking; developing tools for generating, distributing, and ultrafast processing of quantum entanglement; and using quantum light for precision measurements, sensing, and imaging.

Kumar is the director of the Center for Photonic Communication and Computing, a research group developing advanced optical quantum communication and computing systems.

Since 2020, he has served as editor-in-chief of Optica, the flagship journal of the Optica Publishing Group (formerly OSA) for high-impact results across the whole spectrum of optics and photonics, pure and applied.

From 2013-17, Kumar took a leave of absence from Northwestern to serve as a program manager in the Defense Sciences Office of the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA). In recognition of his strong portfolio of programs in basic science and technology and mentorship of early career scientists and engineers in the DARPA Risers program, Kumar was selected Program Manager of the Year in 2015 and awarded the Secretary of Defense Medal for Outstanding Public Service in 2016.

He received the Northwestern University Martin E. and Gertrude G. Walder Award for Research Excellence (2006), and the Tamagawa University International Quantum Communications Award (2004).

Kumar was elected IEEE Fellow in 2003. He is also a fellow of the Institute of Physics (2002), the American Physical Society (2000), Optica (formerly OSA) (1996), American Association for the Advancement of Science (2009), and the SPIE (2010). 

Kumar joined the Northwestern faculty in 1986. He earned a PhD in physics from the State University of New York at Buffalo; a master’s degree in physics from the Indian Institute of Technology, Kanpur, India; and a bachelor’s degree in physics from the University of Delhi, India.

McCormick News Article