Modern Mathematicians: Soloman Golomb


Solomon W. GolombSoloman Golomb was an American mathematician and engineer. He is known for his ability to “apply advanced mathematics to problems in digital communications”, including shift register sequence, which are essential to the function of cellular phones. He also invented a data compression method named ‘Golomb coding’. This method allowed video images from the Mars Rover Curiosity to be transmitted from Mars to Earth with extraordinary image quality. Furthermore, he created Golomb rulers which are used in radio astronomy and information theory.

Golomb was also known for creating mathematical games, such as Cheskers, pentominoes (the inspiration for Tetris) and polyominoes.

“Professor Golomb was truly a giant in the field of mathematics and engineering… He was an exceptionally imaginative thinker, and so many enduring innovations and highly creative games — including polyominoes and pentomino — emerged from his inimitable genius.”

-USC President C. L. Max Nikias

In 2016, he was awarded the Benjamin Franklin Medal in Electrical Engineering for his work in “space communications and the design of digital spread spectrum signals — transmissions that provide security, interference suppression and precise locations for applications such as cryptography, missile guidance, defence, space and cellular communications, radar, sonar and GPS.”

Unfortunately, he passed away on May 1st 2016.

“We’ve lost a great mind. A great heart and a great sense of humour. The universe will miss him as much as we will.”

-Andrew Viterbi

Sources: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4


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