The IEEE Highest Scientific Award – David W Allan

Davids awardThe IEEE (Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers) is the biggest scientific publishing house in the world, and the special issue celebrating the 50th year of the Allan variance came out 4 April 2016 is an awesome issue. They had three guest editors for it along with the regular editor.

All by itself, I felt greatly honored by the nomination letter submitted by the who’s who in international time and frequency to the IEEE, let alone be chosen to receive their highest award in recognition of my work.

On May 10th, 2016, my wife, Edna,  and I  had an amazing experience in Nor’lens (New Orleans). This annual symposium was the 70th providing for the international community the best in atomic-clock and precision timing research results.

Award Presentation

They had me sit on the stand and my friend and colleague and chairperson of the awards committee, Dr. Jan Brown,  presented the award.  She pointed out that this is the highest award their society gives. The citation reads:

For  seminal work to the UFFC community regarding time determination, time prediction, time dissemination and timekeeping through contributions to atomic frequency standards, space-based navigation, time and frequency stability analysis, time-scale algorithms, and timekeeping devices.

My Response To The Award

After I received the award, they let me say a few words. It gave me an opportunity to honor my colleagues, my sweetheart, and most especially the Lord. Here is my two minute response, in essence:

I feel greatly honored and blessed.  The honor goes also to the giants on whose shoulders I have stood.  Without the work of Jim Barnes, Len Cutler, Bob Vessot, Jim Snider, and Sir Michael James Lighthill, we would not be where we are today.
The honor goes also to the several giants who came after that initial era; some of whom are here.

I honor those who have contributed to and pulled together the special issue.  I find this issue fascinating because it shows many diverse fields where these statistical techniques have solved characterization problems.  I wonder as the rest of the world becomes aware of this special issue, if it could be the launch pad for a whole new era in metrology because these non-stationary processes are so ubiquitous in nature.

I remember when I was working with Joe Taylor in characterizing millisecond pulsar data.  We found the electron content between our solar system and the pulsar was behaving as a random-walk process.  And we see these kinds of processes all over in nature: in music, in highway traffic flow, in the stock market, in the rest voltage across a neuron, and the list goes on and on.

The fields of physics, math, and statistics have been really fun for me, but the best part of my life is to know the master physicist, and the master of the Universe.  I have learned a lot on my knees.  So, in a major way the honor goes to Him for His Divine ever present aid.  I have learned from Him that the best way to love your neighbor is by serving.

I have dedicated the book I recently wrote, entitled It’s About Time, to Him, which demonstrates a grand harmony between science and religion, and which is almost an autobiography.  And I want to thank my Sweetheart and wife of 57 years.  She has brought so much of joy and goodness into my life.  For me, the family is the most important unit in time and in eternity.  I thank you and wish you the best as we, arm in arm, all strive to help the world be a better place.

They gave  Edna, a big hand. I had her sitting on the front row so she could stand as I honored her. She was able to meet and visit with several fascinating people, and they also helped her feel honored, which made me so happy.

It’s About Time Book

I took 73 books, “It’s about Time,” and came back with about a dozen. The Chinese gobbled it up, and several of them had me sign theirs for them. I gave special signed copies to IEEE leaders and my friend Joe Taylor, who was very happy to get a copy.  I worked with Professor Taylor of Princeton — a Nobel Laureate who gave the plenary talk for the conference — back in the 1980s on millisecond pulsar timing research.

One of the best comments I got was when a colleague came up to me and said, “You are a role model for all of us.”

I had great gospel conversations with several people. In general, it was interesting to see that the reception for my book was much better in Russia than here. Our secular scientific society has caused them to turn their backs on God. I hope and pray my book and my remarks will change some hearts.

By small things, God can confound the wise. It is Him, not me that has done this; I am just very happy to be in His employ.

David W. Allan – The Allan Variance

P.S. Read more about the IEEE (Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers) and its contributions to electrical science.