2019 - Dr Samuel Stein

Samuel Stein was born in 1946 in New York, NY. He received the B.S. and M.S. degrees from Brown University and then a Ph.D. in Physics in 1974 from Stanford University. He worked for the U.S. Gov’t from 1974 to 1984 where he eventually held the position of Chief of the NIST Time and Frequency Division. During those years, he developed a career long passion for time and frequency metrology and invented the technology still used to measure the clocks in the NIST time scale.

After departing the Government, Dr Stein joined Ball Efratom Division, where his team developed a commercial prototype passive hydrogen maser and he invented an improved time-scale algorithm. In 1991, Dr Stein left Ball to start his own company, Timing Solutions Corporation, which specialised in high performance timing systems for the U.S. Department of Defense.

Timing Solutions is best known for its two-way optical time transfer systems with sub-picosecond precision and a series of ultra-low-noise measurement instruments including the first direct-digital phase-noise measurement instrument. This device finally achieved Dr. Stein’s dream of making complicated clock measurements accessible to engineers who were not timing experts and he received the C.B. Sawyer Memorial Award for his technical contributions and leadership. 

After the sale of Timing Solutions to Symmetricom/Microsemi, Dr Stein served as Chief Scientist and spent the last five years of his career managing advanced clock development at Microsesmi’s Beverly MA location before retiring in 2018.

2018 - Geoffrey M Garner

Geoffrey M Garner received his SB degree in Physics from MIT in 1976, SM degrees in Nuclear Engineering and Mechanical Engineering from MIT in 1978, and a PhD in Mechanical Engineering from MIT in 1985. After receiving the PhD, he was a Member of Technical Staff at AT&T Bell Laboratories and then Lucent Technologies, and became a Distinguished Member of Technical Staff in 1999. Since 2003 Geoff has been a consultant in telecommunications and networking, specialising in network timing, jitter, synchronisation and related standards development. He has consulted for Huawei Technologies since 2008 and has also consulted for Samsung, Broadcom, Marvell, Hirschmann, Siemens, and Internet Photonics.

On joining AT&T, Geoff worked on data network design and performance tools. In 1992 he began working on network timing and synchronisation; and later service-level performance and ATM performance and QoS.  His work included the development of standards for jitter and synchronisation performance and transmission error performance for SONET/SDH and OTN networks as well as ATM performance for B-ISDN networks. He was editor of the ITU-T Recommendationson ATM adaptation layer performance. The timing/sync work continued when he became a consultant; and in 2004 he worked on development of a simulator for Optical Burst Switching Network Performance. In 2005, as a consultant, his work expanded to include timing and synchronisation packet-based transport using IEEE 1588 and its profiles for telecom networks and for Ethernet and WiFi networks carrying time-sensitive traffic, IEEE 802.1AS. The work in all these areas included modeling of equipment level timing performance, development of simulators and simulations to support standards and other developments.

Geoff was the Rapporteur of the Transmission Error Performance Question in ITU-T SG13 from 2001-2004. He has been a member of the IEEE Registration Authority Committee (RAC) since 2007 and has been the editor of IEEE 802.1AS, and now its revision, since 2006. He was a member of the ITU-T Recommendation specifying jitter and wander in the OTN (G.8251) from 1999-2002; and again from 2015 to the present day. Geoff is also editor of standards for time (G.781.1) and frequency (G.781) synchronisation layer functions, and of the technical report in ITU-T SG15 that documents modeling and simulation work for packet-based time transport.  Geoff is author or co-author of four magazine articles, one journal article, and 14 technical conference papers.  He is a contributing author to a book on Optical Networking Standars and has delivered tutorials or presentation on various aspects of timing and sync and related standards at 12 conferences/workshops.  He is a co-author of 13 patents and is primary author of over 300 standards contributions.

At the 5th International Timing & Sync Forum in 2007, the first Annual Time Lord Award was presented.

Since then the Time Lord Award has been presented annually at the Conference.

2013 - John Eidson

2012 - Giovanni Busca

2011 - David Allan

David Allan receiving his Time Lord 2011 award from ITSF Chairman, Charles Curry

2010 - Hugo Fruehauf

Hugo Fruehauf receiving his Time Lord 2010 award from ITSF Chairman, Charles Curry

2009 - Judah Levine

Judah Levine receiving his Time Lord 2009 award from ITSF Chairman, Charles Curry

2008 - Gerhard Hübner

Gerhard Hübner receiving his Time Lord 2008 award from ITSF Chairman, Charles Curry

2007 - Mike Garvey

Mike Garvey c.2007


2017 - Patrick Gill

Patrick Gill received a BSc (Hons) in Physics from the University of Sussex in 1971, followed by a DPhil in experimental physics from the University of Oxford in 1975. He started his career at the UK National Physical Laboratory in Teddington in 1975, firstly working on iodine-stabilised lasers and other optical frequency standards, then research on laser-cooled trapped ion optical frequency standards and optical clocks during the mid 1980s. He is a Senior NPL Fellow leading the NPL Time & Frequency group, and co-Director of the NPL Quantum Metrology Institute. He holds visiting professor positions at the University of Oxford and Imperial College London.

Notable research: In 1997 Patrick located and observed, for the first time, the ultra-weak 467 nm octupole optical clock transition in a single cold ytterbium ion, which has a theoretical spectral width in the nanohertz region (Q ~ 1023) and now one of the leading possibilities for an optical redefinition of the SI second. In 2004, he reported the first Hz-level measurement of the single strontium ion clock frequency, which resulted with it being the first optical clock frequency to be accepted as a secondary representation of the second in 2006 by the CIPM Consultative Committee on Time & Frequency. Both these cold ion optical clock systems, together with the NPL recently-demonstrated strontium neutral optical lattice clock, now outperform the current caesium fountain microwave primary standard.

Over the last two decades, he has developed highly stable lasers stabilised to ultra-low expansion optical reference cavities, in particular for space-based applications using vibration-insensitive cavity designs. These activities are feeding into future mission scenarios for an optical clock on the ISS, next generation gravity mapping involving long-range laser interferometry between two spacecraft traversing different gravity fields with application to climate change studies, and future generation replenishment of GNSS on-board clocks. He is also involved in the development of a range of miniature microwave clocks and portable cold atom microwave and optical clocks for positioning, navigation and timing applications.

1999: The Tompion Medal awarded by the Worshipful Company of Clockmakers
2007: The I I Rabi Award from the IEEE International Frequency Control Symposium
2008: The Thomas Young medal awarded by the UK Institute of Physics
2014: Royal Institute of Navigation Duke of Edinburgh award to NPL Time & Frequency group
2015: Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE)
2016: Elected as a Fellow of the Royal Society
2016: The Callendar Medal, awarded by the UK Institute of Measurement and Control

Giovanni Busca

Giovanni Busca studied physics at the University of Turin, Italy, where he obtained his PhD in Physics in 1964.

First Research in Italy (1965-1970)

He did his first steps as a researcher in Turin at the Instituto Elettrotechnico Nazionale Galileo Ferraris (IEN) in the field of solid state electro- and thermo-luminescence. It is also here that he collaborated on a patent, the first of many, called « SMODOS (Self Modulating Derivative Optical Spectroscopy).

Laval University, Québec, Canada (1970-1977)

Then came a fruitful period at the Laval University in Québec, Canada, where he worked with Jacques Vanier. It is here that he got involved for the first time with the time & frequency domain. From 1970 to 1972 he worked on picosecond light pulses generated by lasers, and on atomic clocks at the University’s Institute of Physics. From 1972 to 1977 he was first adjoint and then associate professor at the University’s Electrical Engineering Department. His research covered the following fields:

  • Development of an RF discharge optically pumped rubidium maser in collaboration with M. Tetu (discovery of a cavity setting compensating the light shift)
  • Research on the active hydrogen maser (magnetic inhomogeneity, cavity tuning)
  • Research on laser pumping (double optical-microwave resonance in Na gas cell)
Sabbatical Leave in Several Labs (1977-1978)

During the years 1977 and 1978 he took a sabbatical leave during which he visited NBS ( Note 1 ) (now NIST) in Boulder (Colorado, USA), then IEN ( Note 2) in Torino (Italy), and finally Oscilloquartz in Neuchâtel (Switzerland). During these stays he deepened his research involvement in atomic clocks. At NBS he worked on the passive hydrogen maser together with Fred Walls. At IEN his interest was in RF lamp pumped cesium gas cells. With Oscilloquartz he started innovative work on an active maser operated in passive mode.

Note 1: NBS = National Bureau of Standards
Note 2: IEN = Instituto Elettrotechnico Nazionale

Oscilloquartz SA, Neuchâtel (1978-1988)

His short sabbatical at Oscilloquartz turned into a much longer affair, since he stayed for 10 years as Director of Research in Frequency Standards; he managed a team of about 10 scientists who developed cesium beam tubes based on magnetic selection and laser pumping. His own research was about hydrogen masers and rubidium cells. He developed an auto-tuning technique for passive hydrogen masers which was patented and which is now being used in the Galileo satellites. He then developed the EFOS-A (Note 3) active hydrogen maser which was produced by Oscilloquartz and deployed in several locations around the world for radioastronomy applications (Wettzel station in Germany, US National Radioastronomy Observatory, NRAO, in Socorro, New Mexico, a.o.). Last but not least he developed a miniature passive rubidium cell of 1 cc volume, the size record at the time; this design was later to become a successful commercial product.

Note 3: EFOS = Etalon de Fréquence Oscilloquartz

Neuchâtel Observatory (1988-2001)

Management of the Institute
In 1988 he was appointed Director of the Neuchâtel Observatory (Observatoire Cantonal de Neuchâtel). He kept this position until his official retirement in 2001. During these years he built up and managed a research team in the field of atomic clocks, starting with 5 collaborators who had followed him from Oscilloquartz, and expanding it to a team of 30 people, mainly physicists. Under his leadership the Observatory became an internationally renowned and recognized institute in the field, the leading one in Europe. Among many other things, the institute developed the Swiss cesium standard (lead scientist: Pierre Thomann) which is now operated by METAS( note 44) (i.e. the Swiss standards lab) and contributes to UTC. The institute also ran a long-term project for the measurement of the ozone layer known as LIDAR (Light Detection and Ranging).

Note 4: METAS = Métrologie et Accréditation Suisse

Besides running the institute, Giovanni Busca devoted a large part of his time to the continuing development of hydrogen masers and rubidium frequency standards:

  • Rb standard for ground applications (development of a 250 cc industrial Rb oscillator)
  • Rb standard for space applications (development of the S-RUSO : Space Rb Ultrastable Oscillator for ESA (note 5) and for the Russian Radioastron VLBI satellite)
  • Active H masers for ground applications (EFOS-B, EFOS-C, used in deep space spacecraft tracking, e.g. Ulysses)
  • H masers for space applications :
    • 50 kg active SHM(note 6) (initially developed for the Russian satellites Meteor 3M and Radioastron, used in a red-shift experiment)
    • 35 kg active SHM (development of an engineering model for the International Space Station ISS)
    • 12 kg and 10-12•τ -1/2 @ 1 day passive SHM for Galileo satellites (in collaboration with Vremya CH & Selex Galileo, transfer for production to Spectratime)

Giovanni Busca’s second field of interest was clock synchronization of navigation satellites; in this area he studied and developed time transfer techniques and architectures for the synchronization of the Galileo satellites and some deep space probes.

Note 5: ESA = European Space Agency
Note 6: SMH = Space Hydrogen Maser

Academic Activities
  • Associate Professor, University of Neuchâtel, Switzerland
  • Contribution to the founding of the  EFTF (European Frequency and Time Forum)
  • Chairman of the 4th EFTF in Neuchâtel in 1990
  • Membership :
    • RISC (Radioastron International Scientific Committee)
    • ESA Fundamental Physics Advisory Group
    • Chairman of the ACES users group (Atomic Clock Ensembles in Space)
    • Scientific Committee of the EFTF

The research activities of the Neuchatel Observatory led to many industrial product realizations, some through the founding of spin-off companies. Spectratime was founded in 1995 (initially under the company name of Temex Neuchâtel Time, CEO: Pascal Rochat); they produce and sell commercial rubidium oscillators (ground and space applications) and hydrogen maser physics packages (space applications). T4Science, Neuchâtel, was founded in 2006; they are active in the production and maintenance of active hydrogen masers derived from EFOS-C (ground applications, presently over 70 in operation worldwide, e.g. as part of the Galileo Precise Timing Facility).

From August 2001 to now

After his official retirement he founded his own consultant company under the name of KYTIME Sarl. Among other things KYTIME consults for ESA5, Spectratime and Selex Galileo in the design, qualification and industrializion of the passive hydrogen maser for the Galileo satellites. KYTIME also developed Galileo’s ground and space time synchronization system in collaboration with Alenia Space.

Recent Awards
  • In 2011 he received the EFTF Marcel Ecabert Award « in recognition of a career successfully devoted to the development of atomic frequency standards, and for his major contribution to the establishment of an industrial infrastructure for ground and space clocks at the European level »
  • This year the ITSF has the honor to present the 2012 ITSF Time Lord Award to Giovanni Busca for his contribution to the development of technologies which are essential to the synchronization and thus to the operation of telecommunications networks.