The Institute - March 2007 - 19

M em b er Recog n itio n

Federal Intelligence Award Goes to Persons
By Jason Laday

IEEE Member Timothy Persons was
honored on 15 December with the Director
of National Intelligence Fellows Award for
his research within the U.S. intelligence
community. Persons is the technical director and chief scientist for the Disruptive
Technology Office (DTO) at the Office
of the Director of National Intelligence,
in Washington, D.C. The annual award
comes with a US $200 000 grant to be used
in research addressing some of the more
challenging science and technology issues
facing the intelligence community today.
The award was presented at the headquarters of the director of national intelligence.
Persons was one of 10 recipients.
"Considering the sheer number of
talented colleagues in the science and
technology sector alone, this was not
something I was expecting," Persons
says. "It's an honor to be chosen."

Persons, 36, has been with the DTO
for more than four years, overseeing
research projects and planning new
ones. The term "disruptive technology"
describes an innovation or product that
eventually overturns and replaces the
existing dominant technology.
Persons has conducted research into
how molecular-scale optoelectronics interact with light, quantum entanglement,
and computational imaging systems.
He joined the National Security
Agency in 2001 and spent a year learning cryptographic principles. He moved
into the agency's Advanced Research
and Development Activity as a technical
director and technical program manager
in its nascent quantum cryptography program. In 2005, he was named the DTO's
technical director and chief scientist.
To be successful, Persons says, one
must find and hold onto great mentors
and be an eternal student. "To constantly

Timothy Persons [center] holds the Director of National Intelligence Fellows
Award, alongside John D. Negroponte [left], the nation's first director of national
intelligence, and Eric C. Haseltine, associate director for science and technology.

learn new things challenges you and
keeps you grounded in how little you
really know-which is excellent for ego
maintenance," he explains.
As for mentors, it's important to find
people whose experience makes for a
"treasure trove of wisdom," he says.

Persons sees himself remaining in his
leadership role. "My job is tremendously
satisfying," he says. He plans to invest the
grant in researching ultraslow, or "stopped,"
light; commodity-based petascale computing systems; or an exotic computational
imaging system he has in mind. 

I n M em o riam

John J. Guarrera, 1974 IEEE President
By Arthur P. Stern

John J. Guarrera was long active
in the IEEE. He viewed engineering not
just as a way of making a living but also
as an important means of improving
people's lives. As 1977 IEEE-USA chairman, John helped push through pension
reform legislation in the U.S. Congress,
and he organized the first IEEE conference on technology policy that forged
connections for IEEE-USA with Washington lawmakers.
John will be best remembered for
his efforts to advance the professional
and social status of engineers. He felt
the regard in which engineers were held
should be commensurate with the vital
contributions they make to society. He
called for engineers to take a greater role
in their professional activities, as opposed
to their technical activities. He lobbied for
progress in areas such as portable pensions, an engineering code of ethics, and
the end of age discrimination. He expected
the IEEE to play a role and aggressively
lobby legislators, testify before government agencies, and participate in the bargaining needed to achieve success.

Much of this agenda was unacceptable to some of the IEEE's leaders in the
1970s and to others in the profession;
they felt that engineers should focus on
promoting technology. A great deal has
been accomplished since then, thanks
to John's leadership and the work of
many others.
I got to know John in the 1960s,
shortly after the merger of the Institute
of Radio Engineers and the American
Institute of Electrical Engineers to form

John J. Guarrera

the IEEE. Much had to be done to unify
the two disparate organizations, with
their different leadership traditions and
organizational structures and the varying levels of autonomy enjoyed by their
many geographically dispersed units.
John and I became allies, and we two
"IRE electronickers" were joined by
Joseph K. Dillard, a leading AIEE "power
guy" from Westinghouse. We were
known as the "three rebels," who advocated integrating technical activities into
the IEEE's new societies and creating a
voice for U.S. members that eventually
led to the formation of IEEE-USA.
We did not always agree: John was outspokenly progressive, Joe was concerned
about being "excessive," and I was in the
middle. Within three years, from 1974 to
1976, each of us served as IEEE President.
Being rebels was exciting; we remained
friends and chuckled often when we reminisced about our "roaring '70s."
For several years John was the most
senior living past IEEE president. With
his passing, I have inherited that role. *
A friend of Guarrera's for almost 40 years,
Arthur P. Stern was 1975 IEEE President.

DIED 7 December 2006
EDUCATION Bachelor's degree in
electrical engineering in 1943 from MIT
components, radar systems, and
command and control systems
University, 1946; City College of New
York, 1947; Reeves Instrument Corp.,
1949-1954; Canoga Corp., 1954-1957;
private consultant, 1957-1960; Guide
Manufacturing Co., 1960-1975; School
of Engineering and Computer Science,
California State University, Northridge,

National Society of Professional
Engineers; member, California Society
of Professional Engineers; honorary
life member and past president,
National Computer Graphics
Association; member, American
Society for Engineering Education;
fellow, Institute for the Advancement
of Engineering; member, Tau Beta Pi;
board of directors, Pension Rights
Center; President, IEEE, 1974; vice
president, IEEE Professional
Activities (now IEEE-USA), 1977
AWARDS IEEE Fellow, 1974; IEEEUSA Professional Achievement Award,
1982; IEEE-USA Citation of Honor, 1994

The Institute | March 2007

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