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Issue 474, 3 December 2001

Professor Michael Darnell

Mike Darnell was brought up and received his early education in Lowestoft, Suffolk and gained his early engineering qualifications through the 'sandwich course' route with the Marconi Company in Chelmsford, graduating with first-class honours, BTech, from Loughborough in 1963. Moving to Cambridge, he gained his PhD in 1968.

The first half of his career was served at the Ministry of Defence, initially at the Admiralty Research Establishment where by 1975 he was Head of the Section undertaking communications research for the Royal Navy. A period on secondment to NATO followed and by 1980 he was back at the MoD in London as Assistant Director of Strategic Communications responsible for the UK's interaction with NATO in communications electronics, as well as representing the UK on a number of international groups.

Mike Darnell's move into the academic world was made in 1980 when he was appointed to a Lectureship in the newly formed Department of Electronics at the University of York, where he was responsible for initiating a research activity in communications as well as developing related areas of the undergraduate curriculum. He was promoted to senior lecturer there in 1982. He was appointed Professor of Communication Engineering at the University of Hull in 1986 and joined the University of Leeds as Professor of Electronic Engineering in 1995.

Mike's research activity on radio communication system design, signal processing and spectrum utilisation has been key to the development of greater capacity and reliability of both military and commercial communications. He led the Communications and Signal-Processing Group in the Department of Electronic and Electrical Engineering, which grew to over forty people. He was the founding Director of the Institute of Integrated Information Systems, one of the constituent parts of the School of Electronic and Electrical Engineering after the restructuring in 1997. His research productivity may be gauged by the record of over 2M in research grants secured since coming to Leeds and more than 350 publications in books, journals and conference papers.

Those who know Mike Darnell well, however, regard his interaction with people as his most important contribution to the School. His concern for the personal and career development of junior colleagues and his sympathetic understanding of students made him an outstanding and successful research supervisor and teacher.

Mike is retiring from his full-time post to devote more time to his industrial activity through HW Communications Limited, a company he formed with an academic colleague in 1990. He will continue to work part-time at Leeds both on the teaching and research scenes.

With his long-standing interest in walking, it may not be entirely coincidental that the biannual International Symposium on Communication Theory and Applications, which Mike organises, is regularly held at Ambleside in the Lake District. Mike's other leisure activities are watercolour painting and golf; these, as well as involvement in the community life of the village in which he has made his home, will ensure that he will have a very active retirement. We wish him and his wife Judy every health and happiness in the future.


 
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