In Memory of Larry Greenstein, Prominent Wireless Researcher and ComSoc Volunteer
Professor Larry Greenstein, for decades an important ComSoc volunteer, distinguished researcher, and close friend and colleague of many of us, passed away August 17, after a long illness, at the age of 81. A Life Fellow of the IEEE, Larry was a pioneering researcher and leader in the field of wireless communication at Bell Labs, AT&T Labs (where he was made an AT&T Fellow), and finally at Rutgers University. He was well known for his high scholarly and ethical standards, and his calm and wise way of working through divisive issues. He mentored and fostered the careers of many now-prominent contributors to wireless research and deployment. The respect, admiration and love he earned from them and his many friends and co-workers was a testament to his exceptional character, empathy and warmth.
Larry received the B.S., M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in electrical engineering from the Illinois Institute of Technology (IIT) in 1958, 1961 and 1967, respectively. From 1958 to 1970, he was at IIT Research Institute, where he worked on radio frequency interference and anti-clutter airborne radar. He joined AT&T Bell Laboratories in Holmdel, NJ in 1970. Over a 32-year AT&T career, he conducted research in digital satellites, point-to-point digital radio, optical transmission techniques and wireless communications. For 21 years during that period (1979-2000), he led a research department renowned for its contributions in these fields. In 2002 Larry became a research professor at Rutgers University WINLAB (Wireless Information Network Laboratory), a role he held until his retirement in 2014. At WINLAB Larry worked on PHY-based security techniques, MIMO-based cellular systems, broadband power line systems, cognitive radio and channel modeling. Larry’s technical contributions over his storied career were broad, deep, and highly impactful in both theory and practice. He is known as the “Father of Propagation” as radio propagation models and their wide ranging impact were especially close to his heart. He also served as an invaluable mentor to colleagues and students, including co-advising several doctoral students. Within ComSoc, Larry was for many years a key part of its leadership. His patience and appreciation for all perspectives allowed him to overcome stubborn differences that had impeded the evolution of ComSoc into an open global society.
The void in our lives left by Larry’s death will never be filled, but we are comforted by the memories of his creative and generous life and its profound impact on the world of technology and on us personally. Readers are invited to submit their memories of Larry to this web page. In addition, a 2019 memorial event will be arranged in the New Jersey area, with further details posted to this site as they become available.
IEEE Communications Magazine October 2018 article.
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Harsh Tataria | October 2, 2018
My name is Harsh Tataria. I was officially the last doctorate student of Prof. Larry J. Greenstein, who was introduced to me by another mentor of mine, Prof. Mansoor Shafi. Larry's mentoring, technical guidance, vision, and complete belief in my ability changed the way I think, and help me to launch my career in the field of Wireless Communications. I will always remember my time with Larry fondly, especially the two visits to his place of residence, in July 2017 and May 2018 (see attached photo). No matter where he may be, Larry will always have a special place in my heart. I will never forget the lessons he taught me.
Paul Henry | October 3, 2018
Of my many memories of Larry, the fondest is the telegram he sent me on the birth of my first child, Christina. It captures in a few lines Larry's warmth, gentle wit, and loving heart.
Katie Wilson | October 11, 2018
Larry was such a great friend and mentor to me. He was funny, wise, and a wonderful role model. Before I act on something, I try and think "What would Larry do?"