Joe McGeehan, of Bristol University, was recognised this week for pioneering work in mobile communications
Every time you make or receive a call on your mobile phone, you have Bristol University's Joe McGeehan to thank. His research in the mobile telecommunications field over the past 30 years has played a key role in creating networks.
The contribution made by the director of the Centre of Communications Research has been recognised by technology website silicon.com in its Agenda Setters 2004 list.
Professor McGeehan ranks sixth in a top ten of technologists. The list include Linus Torvalds, father of Linux, Bill Gates, chairman of Microsoft, and Jonathan Ive, Apple designer.
Professor McGeehan was responsible for "smart antennas". These allow mobile networks to use radio spectrum efficiently. Some of his research is only now finding an application.
He said: "It's been like putting together a jigsaw puzzle over the years and the puzzle is now becoming more and more relevant. The UK has a very good standing in mobile communications and I'd like to think that Bristol has played its part in that."
In 1980, Professor McGeehan, then at Bath University, was approached by the head of Securicor who wanted a better, more secure radio network for his fleet. His designs were made by Mobira-Oy, now Nokia, and were the basis for the company's first mass-market mobile phone.
Professor McGeehan said: "People didn't recognise mobile communications for what it was going to become - it was regarded as something for taxis and fire brigades."