Erdal Arıkan was born in Ankara, Turkey, in 1958. He received the B.S. degree from the California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, CA, in 1981, and the S.M. and Ph.D. degrees from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, MA, in 1982 and 1985, respectively, all in Electrical Engineering. Arıkan served as an assistant professor at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, before joining in Sept. 2017 the Electrical-Electronics Engineering Department of Bilkent University, Ankara, Turkey, where he is presently a Professor. His notable achievements as a student include championship in the University Entrance Examinations of Turkey (1976), Henry Ford II Scholar Award, Caltech (1980), and Vinton Hayes Fellowship in Communications, M.I.T. (1981). Arıkan’s doctoral dissertation, supervised by Prof. Robert Gallager, was on the “cutoff rate” of multi-access channels. Understanding the nature of the cutoff rate parameter continued to be the main theme of Arıkan’s later academic research, and eventually led to his 2009 paper on channel polarization and polar codes. This paper presented a constructive and practical method for achieving the Shannon capacity of channels, thus settling an important open problem in information theory. The paper was awarded the 2010 IEEE Information Theory Society Best Paper Award and the 2013 IEEE W. R. G. Baker Award. In 2017, polar coding has been adopted as an error-correction coding method in the emerging 5G wireless standard. In 2018, Arıkan has been awarded the IEEE Hamming Medal with the citation “for contributions to information and communications theory, especially the discovery of polar codes and polarization techniques”. Arıkan’s work has also been recognized by the IEEE Turkey Section by a Life-Long Achievement Award, 2017. Arikan is the recipient of The 2019 Claude E. Shannon Award of the IT Society.