2 UCLA Samueli Faculty Elected to National Academy of Engineering

NAE Jon Stewart

UCLA Samueli 
Jonathan Stewart (left) and Dariush Divsalar (right) have been elected to the National Academy of Engineering.

Feb 6, 2024

UCLA Samueli Newsroom

Civil and environmental engineering professor Jonathan Stewart and adjunct professor Dariush Divsalar of electrical and computer engineering at the UCLA Samueli School of Engineering have been elected to the National Academy of Engineering, one of the highest professional honors granted to American engineers.

Joining the pair are UCLA Samueli alumni K.J. Ray Liu and Howard Zebker, as well as Rong Fu, a UCLA professor of atmospheric and oceanic sciences and director of the Joint Institute for Regional Earth System Science & Engineering.

The academy announced today its 2024 class of 114 members and 21 international members in recognition of their outstanding contributions to engineering research, practice or education.


Jonathan Stewart profileJonathan Stewart

Stewart, a professor of civil and environmental engineering at UCLA Samueli and co-director of UCLA’s Natural Hazards Risk and Resiliency Research Center, was elected to the academy for developing “improved understanding of soil-structure interaction, earthquake ground motions, site response, and soil liquefaction.”

One of the most recognized earthquake engineers, Stewart focuses his research on geotechnical earthquake engineering and engineering seismology, with emphases on seismic soil-structure interaction, earthquake ground-motion characterization, seismic ground failure and the seismic performance of structural fills and levee embankments. Findings from his research have been widely utilized in engineering practice, including through the National Seismic Hazard Model, produced by the U.S. Geological Survey, and the American Society of Civil Engineers’ guidelines for building new structures and retrofitting existing ones.

A member of the UCLA Samueli faculty since 1996, Stewart is also a co-principal investigator of the Geotechnical Extreme Events Reconnaissance Association, a global volunteer organization supported by the National Science Foundation that sends research teams to major disaster areas to collect perishable data.

Among Stewart’s many honors is the Bruce Bolt Medal, a global award presented by the Seismological Society of America, the Consortium of Organizations for Strong-Motion Observation Systems and the Earthquake Engineering Research Institute. The award recognizes individuals who have led the transfer of scientific and engineering knowledge to improve seismic safety designs and practices. Stewart has also been recognized with UCLA’s Distinguished Teaching Award.

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Dariush_Divsalar Dariush Divsalar

Divsalar M.S. ’75, Engr ’77,  Ph.D. ’78, an adjunct professor of electrical and computer engineering at UCLA Samueli, is a senior research scientist and fellow at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory. He was elected to the academy for his “theory and practice of channel codes that impact deep-space communications.”

Since 1978, Divsalar has worked at JPL on advanced deep-space communications systems for NASA missions, primarily through the development of coding and signal modulation techniques. His breakthroughs include extending the range and capacity of these systems and protecting the transmitted data’s integrity. Some of his advances have also been incorporated into modern wireless communications applications.

Divsalar’s many honors include NASA’s Exceptional Engineering Achievement Medal and Distinguished Public Service Medal, the Ellis Island Medal of Honor and the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers’ Alexander Graham Bell Medal. He is also a fellow of IEEE.

At UCLA, Divsalar has frequently taught classes on digital communication systems and has served on several doctoral dissertation committees. He is also a triple Bruin engineer, having earned his master’s, engineer and doctoral degrees from UCLA Samueli.

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In addition to the UCLA faculty, the academy elected UCLA alumnus K.J. Ray Liu Ph.D. ’90, who earned his doctorate in electrical engineering at UCLA Samueli. Liu is the founder, chairman and chief technical officer of Origin Wireless AI and a retired distinguished professor from the University of Maryland, College Park. Liu was selected by the academy for his contributions to “signal processing for wireless sensing with communications. Another alumnus, Howard Zebker M.S. ’79, was elected to the academy for his work in “space-born sensors that measure meter-scale topography and millimeter-scale surface deformation.” He is a professor of electrical engineering and of geophysics at Stanford University.

Founded in 1964, the National Academy of Engineering is a private, independent, nonprofit institution. It is part of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine, with more than 2,600 peer-elected members and international members, comprising senior professionals in business, academia and government who are among the world’s most accomplished engineers.

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