Akira Ishimaru took a major step at the start of a long and very distinguished research career by completing the first Ph.D. in the University of Washington Electrical Engineering department in 1958. His thesis was "Radiation Pattern Synthesis With Sources Located On A Conical Surface." His advisor was Professor Gedaliah Held. Ishimaru was immediately hired as an Instructor by the Electrical Engineering department.
Akira Ishimaru received the B.S. degree in 1951 from the University of Tokyo, Tokyo, Japan and the Ph.D. degree in electrical engineering in 1958 from the University of Washington, Seattle. From 1951 to 1952 he was with the Electrotechnical Laboratory, Tanashi, Tokyo, and in 1956 he was with Bell Laboratories, Holmdel, New Jersey. In 1958, he joined the faculty of the Department of Electrical Engineering of the University of Washington, where he was professor of electrical engineering and adjunct professor of applied mathematics and is currently professor emeritus. He has also been a visiting associate professor at the University of California, Berkeley. His current research includes waves in random media, remote sensing, object detection and imaging in clutter environment, inverse problems, millimeter wave and optical propagation and scattering in the atmosphere and the terrain, acoustic scattering in the ocean, ultrasound imaging, and optical diffusion in tissues. He is the author of the books, Wave Propagation and Scattering in Random Media (Academic Press, 1978; IEEE Press-Oxford University Press Classic Reissue, 1997) and Electromagnetic Wave Propagation, Radiation, and Scattering (Prentice Hall, 1991).
Dr. Ishimaru has served as a member-at-large of the U.S. National Committee (USNC) and was chairman (1985-87) of Commission B of the USNC/International Union of Radio Science. He was editor (1979-1983) of Radio Science and Founding Editor of Waves in Random Media, Institute of Physics, United Kingdom. He is a Fellow of the IEEE, the Optical Society of America and the Acoustical Society of America. Dr. Ishimaru was the recipient of the 1968 IEEE Region VI Achievement Award and the IEEE Centennial Medal in 1984. In 1990 he received the Faculty Achievement Award for Outstanding Research from the College of Engineering, University of Washington. He was appointed as Boeing Martin Professor in the College of Engineering in 1993. In 1995, he was awarded the Distinguished Achievement Award from the IEEE Antennas and Propagation Society. He was elected to the National Academy of Engineering in 1996. In 1998, he was awarded the Distinguished Achievement Award from the IEEE Geoscience and Remote Sensing Society. He is the recipient of the 1999 IEEE Heinrich Hertz Medal. He was awarded the URSI John Howard Dellinger Gold Medal in 1999.