Martin Cooper Honored by National Academy of Engineering (NAE)
Leader of the Motorola team that developed the first mobile phone awarded the Charles Stark Draper Prize, the NAE’s highest honor. Cooper and a few other world-renowned engineers were recognized in a ceremony in Washington, D.C. on February 19.
Feb. 21, 2013 Kristine Mulford
Martin Cooper and fellow engineers Joel Engel, Richard Frenkiel, Thomas Haug, and Yoshihisa Okumura were recognized for their individual contributions from the 1950s to the 1980s toward the development of the world’s cellular networks.
On April 3, 1973, Cooper cemented his place in history by becoming the first person to successfully make a handheld cellphone call in public. At the time, Cooper was general manager of Motorola's Communications Systems Division and leader of a team of engineers that had been working on mobile communication technologies. Standing on Sixth Avenue in New York City, before going into a press conference, Cooper famously placed this groundbreaking call using a Motorola DynaTAC – a device that weighed 2.2 lbs., had 35 minutes of talk-time and a battery life of 20 minutes, all of which was revolutionary at the time.
Widely regarded as the Nobel Prize for engineering, the Charles Stark Draper Prize was established and endowed by Draper Laboratory in 1988 to honor its founder, Dr. Charles Stark Draper, who pioneered inertial navigation. The award recognizes those who have contributed to the advancement of engineering and aims to help improve public awareness of the importance of engineering and technology.
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