Without Ted Rappaport, Verizon would not be turning on 5G today. In 2012, almost nobody believed millimeter wave was practical for consumer wireless. In 2013, NYU's Ted Rappaport wrote Millimeter Wave Mobile Communications for 5G Cellular: It Will Work! based on thousands of tests his team did in the skyscrapers of New York. (Abstract below)
Ted's results were much better than almost anyone else expected and inspired the Nokia and Ericsson to confirm with their own testing. On October 1st, 2018, Verizon is turning on a true gigabit 5G network. Yes, I realize my headline is an exaggeration. Someone else would have discovered the properties of mmWave, probably years later. We wouldn't have it today.
He just won the Armstrong Medal from the Radio Club of America. He's particularly honored to win this because, "when I was a dirt poor college student, and newly married, this organization gave me a scholarship that helped me decide to stay for grad school instead of taking a job."