The University of Massachusetts Amherst
University of Massachusetts Amherst

Search Google Appliance


Swift to Receive Space Award

Calvin Swift, an emeritus professor in the Electrical and Computer Engineering Department, will receive an award jointly presented by the International Council for Science Committee on Space Research (COSPAR) and the Chinese Academy of Sciences for his pioneering work in synthetic aperture radar for earth remote sensing. “The Jeoujang Jaw Award recognizes scientists who have made distinguished pioneering contributions to promoting space research,” his citation states, “establishing new space science research branches, and founding new exploration programs.” Last January, Swift also received the Special Award from the American Meteorological Society at its Awards Banquet.

The American Meteorological Society citation read: "for sustaining over 30 years an exceptional, interdisciplinary project, resulting in continuous operational monitoring of hurricane surface winds, improved hurricane intensity advisories, and saving countless lives."

COSPAR was formed after the USSR launched its first Earth Satellite in 1957 and thereby opened the space age. COSPAR's objectives are to promote on an international level scientific research in space, with emphasis on the exchange of results, information, and opinions, and to provide a forum, open to all scientists, for the discussion of problems that may affect scientific space research.

The Chinese Academy of Sciences is the leading academic institution and comprehensive research and development center in natural science, technological science, and high-tech innovation in China.

Dr. Swift earned his Ph.D. in Physics from the College of William and Mary in 1969. Among other positions, he was an aerospace technologist and group leader at the NASA Langley Research Center in Hampton, Virginia, from 1962 to 1981. He was a professor in the Electrical and Computer Engineering Department at the University of Massachusetts Amherst from 1981 until 2001, and has been an emeritus professor since then.

He is the originator of the concept of using the Stepped Frequency Microwave Radiometer to remotely measure rain rate and ocean wind speed in hurricanes. He developed with students an L-Band Synthetic Aperture Microwave Radiometer to remotely measure soil moisture and ocean temperature. His research on the dielectric constant of sea water provided the technical basis for the development of the Aquarius Satellite to remotely measure salinity.

Among other honors, Dr. Swift was elected as a Fellow of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) in 1983. He also received the IEEE Centennial Award in 1984. In 1994, he received the Distinguished Technical Achievement Award from the IEEE Geoscience and Remote Sensing Society, and he was presented with the Distinguished Service Award from the IEEE Council on Oceanic Engineering in 1977. (June 2010)