Dr. Robert M. O'Donnell was a member of the senior staff at MIT Lincoln Laboratory until his retirement in November 2008. During 2008 he developed a web based video elementary radar course that is hosted on the Laboratory’s open website. He currently working on a more technically advanced Radar Systems Engineering video course for the IEEE eLearning Library and the CS Department at UNH websites, under the sponsorship of the IEEE Aerospace and Electronic Systems Society. Before 2008, his full-time research involved the design of Cobra Gemini (a ship-based, wide bandwidth, high power, instrumentation radar system) and the modernization and remoting of the range instrumentation radars at the Reagan Test Site on Kwajalein Atoll.
Before joining Lincoln Laboratory, he was a member of the technical staff of the Radar Technology Department at the MITRE Corp. from 1969 to 1973. After joining Lincoln Laboratory in 1973, he was a member of the team that developed the Moving Target Detector, a digital signal processor, which present-day airport surveillance radars (ASR-9s) use to significantly improve the detection of moving aircraft targets in clutter. In 1983, he left Lincoln Laboratory to become manager of Radar Systems Engineering at RCA (now Lockheed Martin) in Moorestown, New Jersey. In 1986, he served as vice president and chief scientist at International Signal and Control Group in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, where he was responsible for corporate research and development and long-range technical planning for the group. In 1988, he returned to Lincoln Laboratory as a senior staff member.
He is author or co-author of over 60 publications. Along with his technical responsibilities, he developed and taught a radar systems course for new members of the Laboratory's technical staff and was a long time member of the Laboratory's Education Committee. He was elected IEEE Fellow in 2003 "for contributions to advanced surveillance and tracking radar systems", and is presently an IEEE Life Fellow. He is a past member and past chairman of the IEEE Aerospace and Electronic Systems (AES) Society, Radar Systems Panel, past member of the Award Committee for the IEEE Dennis J. Picard Medal for Radar Technologies and Applications, and past member of the Board of Governors of the IEEE/AES Society. Recently (2007-2008), he was Vice President–Education of the IEEE/AES Society, where he led the development of a video education initiative for the IEEE/AES Society. For this effort, the Society named him "2007 Innovator of the Year." He is presently he is Education Committee Chair of the IEEE New Hampshire Section. He received an SB degree in physics from MIT in 1963, and MS and PhD degrees in physics from the University of Pennsylvania in 1964 and 1970. His present interests are listening to early classical music and amateur radio.