Innovations and innovators come in all forms. In each issue of Texas Innovator, The In Crowd will help bring you a little closer to some of Texas’ brightest innovators, their perspective on why Texas is ideal for new approaches and even tips on fueling the creative mind inside us all.
Bejamin Flores, PhD.
– University of Texas at El Paso
It’s no surprise that a team of Texans is behind the latest research in military radar technology, considering the state’s deep ties to aerospace and defense. It may, however, be a little surprising that a self-described “plain-clothes civilian” leads the charge.
“I’ve always marveled at the workings of radars and lasers,” says Benjamin Flores, a professor at the University of Texas at El Paso.
Flores’ Radar Systems and Signal Processing Group’s unique work is largely classified, but deals with processing the radar signal. The radar uses microwaves and can identify the size and shape of high-speed military aircraft and missiles, and even determine if missiles have deployed warheads.
In addition to the technical challenges, today’s economy stretches research budgets thin, even at the defense level.
“Funding is never easy to come by,” Flores says. “One has to have the right ideas at the right time to capture the attention of potential sponsors.”
Texas has the industry and infrastructure – as well as diverse people and minds – for researching and building these types of systems, Flores says. The skill and talent of its students will make Texas a strong player for years to come.
“One of the reasons we have been funded is that we are able to recruit highly qualified graduate Texan students who can ultimately revitalize and diversify the technical work force of the U.S. Army research labs,” Flores says. “If you want to see what the U.S. melting pot will look like in the future, look at Texas now.”
For more information, visit UTEP’s College of Engineering.