In Memoriam of Dr. Carl Baum
December 13, 2010
Categories: Inside UNM
ECE Distinguished Research Professor Carl Baum, mentor to many, died Thursday, Dec. 2 in Albuquerque shortly after suffering a stroke.
"Carl was an intellectual giant who shared his ideas freely and helped many in his long and distinguished career," said the ECE department chair, Professor Chaouki Abdallah. "He will be missed by those who knew him, but his impact will be felt for many more years."
Baum joined the Electrical & Computer Engineering Department in UNM's School of Engineering in August 2005 after retiring from the Air Force Research Laboratory at Kirtland AFB. He served from 1963 to 1971 as an officer in the Air Force stationed at Kirtland, and after 1971 he continued at Kirtland in a civilian capacity, eventually retiring as a senior scientist in 2005.
"Carl had a distinguished career prior to joining ECE," said Abdallah, "but since he became affiliated with us, he has given much in terms of intellectual and financial support to our graduate students and to the department."
Baum collaborated on research with ECE's Applied Electromagnetics Group. During his long research career, he worked on modeling the interaction of electromagnetic fields with complex electronics systems, and he developed a number of physical simulators for nuclear electromagnetic pulse. In a career that spanned five decades, this remarkably creative engineer introduced innumerable new concepts in mathematics, electromagnetic theory and system design, many of which remain the standards of excellence today.
From his earliest designs of electromagnetic pulse (EMP) sensors and simulators to the latest developments in high-power microwave (HPM) and ultra-wideband antenna and system design, Baum's research was always on the forefront of technology. His advances in electromagnetics theory have left an indelible mark and a lasting legacy on the technical world and have led to much of what engineers do today in EMP, HPM, and target ID.
Considered the world's foremost authority on transient phenomena in electromagnetics, his scientific contributions were prodigious. He wrote innumerable technical notes, articles, books, and presentations and edited the Note Series that has published state-of-the-art research results for the past 45 years. He was also a member of Commissions A, B & E of the U.S. National Committee of the International Union of Radio Science (URSI).
Baum received the Electromagnetics Field Award from the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) in 2007 for his "contributions to fundamental principles and techniques in electromagnetics," and the IEEE Antennas and Propagation Society John Kraus Antenna Award in 2006. He received five Best Paper Awards from the AMEREM/EUROEM Awards Committee, and he and his research team were honored as an AFOSR Star Team for 2000-02. The team received the first annual R. Earl Good Award from the Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) in 2004 for their work in target identification.
Baum also received the Air Force Basic Research Award (Honorable Mention) in 1999, the AFSC Harold Brown Award in 1990, the Harry Diamond Memorial Award in 1987, and the Richard R. Stoddart award of the IEEE EMC Society in 1984. He was named the first AFRL Fellow in 1996, an EMP Fellow in 1986, and a Fellow of IEEE in 1984.
During Baum's military career, he was awarded the Air Force Research and Development Award as well as the Air Force Nomination to Ten Outstanding Young Men of America.
Two honors that meant a great deal to Baum came in July 2004: an Honorary Doctorate of Engineering from Otto von Guericke University in Magdeburg, Germany, during EUROEM 2004, and a lifetime achievement honor from his colleagues in Russia.
Baum was an active organizer of scientific conferences and workshops that brought together researchers worldwide to share the latest in electromagnetic research, and he led EMP short courses and HPE workshops around the globe. He also established the SUMMA Foundation, which sponsors scientific conferences, publications, short courses, fellowships and awards in the electromagnetics field.
During the last five years, Baum enjoyed working with faculty and students at UNM and continued his prolific schedule of lecturing around the world.
When not organizing meetings or putting his new ideas in mathematics and electromagnetics into new technical notes, Baum enjoyed playing the piano and creating his own musical compositions, many of which have been heard at the biennial AMEREM and EUROEM conferences. His musical compositions can also be heard at one of the Albuquerque churches that host the annual concerts of the Albuquerque Symphony Orchestra and Chorus, as well as at his own church, where he served as choir director for a time. Twenty-three of these compositions have been recorded and are available on CDs.
Baum was born in Binghamton, New York, on Feb. 6, 1940. He received his B.S. with honors (1962), M.S. (1963), and Ph.D. (1969) degrees in electrical engineering from the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena.
He is survived by his sister-in-law, Martha Baum, and two nephews, George Baum of Houston and Spencer Baum, of Albuquerque.
Story by Frances Strong