Trustee Stephen J. Lukasik Hon. D.Eng. ’87: Science for the Public Good
Dr. Stephen Lukasik Hon. D.Eng. ’87 (1931-2019), an American physicist and former Stevens Institute of Technology trustee, knew from an early age that he wanted to be a physicist. As a teenager, Lukasik saw newspaper accounts of the atomic bombings in Japan that ended World War II and decided he would devote his career to using science for beneficial purposes. He then spent his career following through on his childhood mission, helping develop methods to detect and prevent nuclear detonations.
Lukasik was the second-longest-serving director of the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), a key government supporter of leading-edge technological research. He advanced technologies for national defense and the detection and control of diverse types of weapons of mass destruction, especially nuclear devices. The verification systems that grew out of this work were crucial to international agreements, including the Threshold Test Ban Treaty signed by the United States and the Soviet Union in 1974.
Lukasik was the first chief scientist of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), where he created the FCC's Office of Science and Technology and was part of the scientific vanguard that developed or laid the foundation for transformative digital technologies, including the ARPANET (precursor to the internet), email, Wi-Fi and Bluetooth.
Lukasik was awarded the Department of Defense Distinguished Civilian Service Award and Medal twice: in 1973 by Secretary of Defense Melvin Laird, then again in 1974 by Secretary of Defense James Schlesinger.