"I am very pleased that the IEEE has chosen to honor me in this way," said Bertram, a professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering at UCSD's Jacobs School of Engineering. "I will accept it in the name of my colleagues who have contributed so much to the fundamental work we are all doing on the physics of magnetic recording."
Bertram holds an endowed chair in UCSD's Center for Magnetic Recording Research. "This honor is richly deserved because Neal has helped pave the way for continuing improvements in magnetic storage devices," said CMRR director Paul Siegel. "If we are going to continue doubling the capacity of hard disk drives every year, we first need to understand the physics." Bertram's research includes modeling the thermal instability that occurs as device makers try to pack more bits into smaller areasa massive computational exercise on which he has teamed up with the San Diego Supercomputer Center, where he is a Fellow.
The IEEE Reynold B. Johnson Information Storage Award was established by the IEEE in 1991 as part of its Technical Field Awards program. The award is sponsored by IBM, in honor of a pioneer of magnetic disk technology: Reynold Johnson, the founding manager (in 1952) of the IBM San Jose Research and Engineering Laboratory, where IBM's storage research and development was centered.
Neal Bertram earned his Ph.D. in physics from Harvard University in 1968. From then until 1984, he worked for AMPEX Corporation. He joined the UCSD faculty in 1985, and now leads CMRR's recording physics and micromagnetics research. He is the author of a highly-regarded textbook entitled "Theory of Magnetic Recording" (Cambridge University Press, 1994). Bertram has been an IEEE Fellow since 1987. In 2000, he was the co-recipient (with Seagate Research's Roy W. Gustafson) of the Technical Achievement Award from the National Storage Industry Consortium for "modeling and system simulations that supplied the insights needed to develop specifications for a realizable 100Gb/sq.in. hard disk drive system."
Bertram becomes the second UCSD faculty member to win a 2003 IEEE Technical Field Award (tying for first place with U.C. Berkeley for the number of awards to a single institution). Also in August, ECE professor Peter Asbeck won the David Sarnoff Award in electronics. He was cited for his "development and applications of Gallium Arsenide (GaAs)-based heterojunction bipolar transistors (HBTs)"one of the cornerstones of today's high-speed electronics.