GRSS President 2002-2003
Charles A. Luther received a B.S. Degree in Electrical Engineering from the North Carolina A&T State University in 1960, and a M.S. Degree in Engineering Administration from the George Washington University in 1972.
1960: Began career as a Second Lieutenant in the United States Air Force, stationed at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base (WP-AFB) in Dayton, Ohio. Three year assignment as Engineering Project Officer, developing flight simulators.
1963: End of initial tour of duty. Accepted employment with the Aeronautical Systems Division at WP-AFB, responsible for development of airborne electronic intelligence systems.
1965: Deputy Program Manager at the Naval Electronics Systems Command in Washington, D.C. Managed the development of Special Communications Systems for Naval Applications.
1972: Scientific Program Officer at the Office of Naval Research (ONR) in Arlington, Va. Led ONR’s basis research programs in sea ice microwave remote sensing.
2005: Retirement from ONR.
Mr. Luther is recognized internationally for his long involvement with sea ice remote sensing, and his planning, management, and participation in the conduct of multi-agency and multinational sea ice remote sensing research programs, both in the laboratory and in the field using Synthetic Aperture Radar, active and passive microwave techniques. Many new concepts for sea ice remote sensing were pioneered during programs under his management and direction. These programs helped significantly to lay the ground work for the development and application of space based remote sensors for understanding air-sea (and sea ice) interactions, primarily in Polar Regions. He is the author or co-author of several papers published in referred journals.
While at ONR Mr. Luther was instrumental in establishing the first major program among Federal Agencies for involving Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) in the conduct of research supported by these agencies. He directed the ONR program for many years, providing hands on advice and guidance to HBCUs to facilitate their transition from primarily teaching institutions to the conduct of basic research as well.
Mr. Luther has been a member of the IEEE Geoscience and Remote Sensing Society (GRSS) since 1983 and a member of the GRSS Administrative Committee since 1993. He also served as the GRS Society President 2002 – 2003. During his presidency he significantly increased the number of minorities, especially African Americans, in the Society and as participants in the society symposia. He was elevated to IEEE Fellow in 2006.
As a retiree Mr. Luther does limited consulting and continues his active involvement with the Society in various capacities with a focus on involving minority undergraduate and graduate students, as well as Developing Countries, in Remote Sensing and related scientific fields. He has also served as a member of several Science/ Engineering advisory boards, and is presently a member of the External Science and Engineering Advisory Board for the Engineering Research Center for Collaborative Adaptive Sensing of the Atmosphere, an NSF supported research center at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. (Date: Feb. 2011)