Neil Siegel Receives National Medal of Technology and Innovation

ISE professor recognized at the White House with the highest honor for technological innovation

President Biden awards the National Medal of Technology and Innovation to Neil Siegel during an awards ceremony in the East Room of the White House on October 24, 2023.

Neil Siegel, the IBM Professor of Engineering Management in the Epstein Department of Industrial and Systems Engineering and the Thomas Lord Department of Computer Science at USC Viterbi, has been awarded the National Medal of Technology and Innovation. The honor, bestowed by President Joe Biden in October, is the nation’s highest recognition of technological achievement.

Siegel, a USC alumnus who holds nearly 50 patents, was recognized for contributing technologies that “bolstered our national security, economy and connectivity.” His award recognized his pioneering work in command-and-control, situational awareness and the wireless internet. Siegel has had a distinguished career as a systems engineer, leading the creation of many successful military and civil government systems.

“A pioneer in systems engineering and proud USC alumnus, Neil has made fundamental contributions to a wide range of technological systems with important applications and profound impact on security, aerospace and defense,” USC Viterbi Dean Yannis C. Yortsos said. “We are thrilled with his national recognition and honor.”

Siegel is the fourth Trojan to receive the National Medal of Technology and Innovation, and the fourth USC Viterbi faculty member to earn a national medal in the past 15 years. He joins Allen E. Puckett (1985), George Lucas (2004), and Mark Humayun (2014) as a National Medal of Technology and Innovation recipient, and Simon Ramo, (1979), Andrew J. Viterbi (2007) and Solomon Golomb (2011) as a National Medal of Science honoree.

A member of the National Academy of Engineering, Siegel is also a fellow of the National Academy of Inventors, a fellow of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, and winner of the IEEE Simon Ramo Medal for Systems Engineering and Systems Science, among other accolades.

Siegel joined the USC faculty in 2016 after a long career as an executive in the aerospace industry, including nearly 18 years as a vice president of Northrop Grumman/TRW, retiring as sector vice president and chief technology officer. He has also served on the Defense Science Board, the Army Science Board and other government scientific advisory panels. Additionally, Siegel has authored textbooks on engineering project management, the economics of engineering management and the principles of systems engineering.

A Trojan through and through, he earned all three of his degrees at USC: a bachelor’s in math in 1974, a master’s in math in 1976 and a Ph.D. in systems engineering. Siegel’s mother, Judith Love Cohen, received her engineering degree from USC as well. She is credited with working on the abort-guidance system in the Lunar Excursion Module for the Apollo space program, which brought the Apollo 13 team home safely.