Published: July 23, 2015
Zoya Popovic looking in microscope

Zoya Popovic of electrical, computer and energy engineering will deliver this year's Distinguished Research Lecture at 4 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 16, in the Glenn Miller Ballroom. This lectureship is among the highest honors bestowed by the faculty upon a faculty member at CU-Boulder.

The title of Popovic's talk is "The Wireless World: 50 Cell Phones Sold Per Second!" She will attempt to answer the questions of where we are now in terms of wireless technology and its applications, how we got there, what are the current challenges, how engineers are solving them, and to speculate a bit on what the future holds.

The effects of wireless on the economy are impressive: In the first quarter of 2015 alone, the iPhone brought Apple over $50 billion, and this is just a part of wireless technology. In recent years, wireless communications accounts for 2% of energy usage in the world, which is equivalent to the aviation industry. At CU, research by Popovic and others solves challenges such as how to send more data while using less power, how radio waves can help in medicine, how to make smaller more functional radar and how to cook smartly.

Her lecture is free and open to the public, though pre-registration is recommended. To register, please visit

Each year, the Office of the Vice Chancellor for Research requests nominations from faculty for the Distinguished Research Lectureship, and a faculty review panel recommends one faculty member as a recipient. Three faculty members were selected this year, with Diane McKnight from civil, environmental and architectural engineering and Doug Seals from integrative physiology also delivering lectures.

Popovic is a Distinguished Professor and the Hudson Moore Jr. Endowed Chair of Electrical Engineering at the University of Colorado. She obtained her Dipl.Ing. degree at the University of Belgrade, Serbia, and her Ph.D. at Caltech. She has graduated more than 50 PhDs and currently advises 15 doctoral students in various areas of high-frequency electronics and microwave engineering. She is a Fellow of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) and the recipient of two IEEE Microwave Theory and Techniques (MTT) Microwave Prizes for best journal papers, the White House National Science Foundation (NSF) Presidential Faculty Fellow award, the International Union of Radio Science (URSI) Issac Koga Gold Medal, the American Society of Engineering Education (ASEE)/HP Terman Medal and the German Humboldt Research Award. She was named IEEE MTT Distinguished Educator in 2013. Her husband is a physicist, and together they have three daughters.