Space technology pioneer awarded Prince Philip Medal

9th November 2022
Paige West

Her Royal Highness The Princess Royal, Royal Fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering, presented the Academy’s award, the Prince Philip Medal, to space technology pioneer Dr Asad Madni FREng in London on 8th November.

The award recognises Dr Madni’s decades’ long career developing and commercialising intelligent sensors and systems across the aerospace, manufacturing, and transportation industries.

The Prince Philip Medal is presented in honour of the late Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh KG KT, who was Senior Fellow of the Academy. The award is made biennially to an engineer of any nationality who has made an exceptional contribution to engineering.

Dr Madni served as President, COO and CTO of BEI Technologies Inc between 1992 to 2006, during which time the organisation became the world's largest independent supplier of yaw sensors for cars. He pioneered some of BEI’s most noteworthy technical successes including the Quartz MEMS GyroChip – an industry-first – which is used worldwide for guidance, navigation and control in more than 90 types of aircraft and more than 80 models of passenger cars for automotive stability and rollover protection. Over 55million GyroChip have been produced and used to augment stability in passenger cars, helping to save millions of lives across the globe. The ongoing success of GyroChip is testament to Dr Madni’s visionary leadership in commercialising defence technologies for the thriving automotive and aviation markets.

He also led the development of the control system for Hubble Space Telescope's star selector. While the new James Webb telescope has now made huge advances, Hubble’s control system paved the way with unprecedented pointing accuracy and stability, resulting in truly remarkable images that have enhanced our understanding of the universe.

Dr Madni has been a committed philanthropist, mentor to young professionals and a champion of diversity and inclusion for underrepresented groups. In the US, he spearheaded and financed a highly successful programme that helped retrain hundreds of displaced aerospace and defence engineers to obtain new positions in industrial and commercial industries.

The global impact of Dr Madni’s pioneering technical contributions has been recognised worldwide with more than 100 major international honours, six honorary doctorate degrees and six honorary professorships. Dr Madni has delivered lectures in more than 40 countries.

Professor Bashir Al-Hashimi CBE FREng, Chair of the Academy’s Awards Committee, said: “Dr Asad Madni’s impact on the global engineering profession has been profound and felt across many industries. Electronic stability control and roll-over protection are of paramount importance to human safety which, thanks to the vision and technical capabilities of Dr Madni, we all enjoy when driving a car or flying on a plane. His achievements have saved countless lives, influenced the way we travel, and given us incredible insight into space. Dr Madni has demonstrated a commitment to serving future generations of engineers and championing diversity. He is a well-deserving winner of the Prince Philip Medal, the Royal Academy of Engineering’s most prestigious award.”

Dr Asad M Madni FREng, winner of the 2022 Prince Philip Medal, said: “I am extremely grateful to have had my and my team’s innovations and contributions play an important role in saving millions of lives around the world; in helping us extend the limits of space exploration and enhancing our understanding of the universe; and in enhancing defence and security systems around the world. “Receiving the Prince Philip Medal, the Royal Academy of Engineering’s most prestigious individual honour, with a roster of past recipients that includes giants whose contributions have shaped human progress, is truly a most gratifying and humbling experience.”

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