Four Indian Americans selected to US National Academy of Engineering

Washington, Feb 10 (IANS) Four Indian American engineers are among 80 new members selected to the prestigious US National Academy of Engineering (NAE) for their valuable contributions to the society.

Anil K. Jain, Dr Arati Prabhakar, Ganesh Thakur and Dr K.R. Sridhar were formally inducted during a ceremony at the NAE’s annual meeting in Washington, DC, on Tuesday, NAE president C.D. (Dan) Mote Jr announced in a statement.

Jain, a distinguished professor in the department of computer science and engineering at the Michigan State University in East Lansing, was elected for his contributions to the engineering and practice of biometrics.

A B.Tech graduate from the Indian Institute of Technology-Kanpur, his research interests include pattern recognition, computer vision and biometric recognition.

Jain has also been a consultant to the Indian government’s Aadhaar programme that provides a 12-digit unique ID number to the residents of India based on their fingerprint and iris data.

Prabhakar, director of the US Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) in Virginia, was chosen for national leadership to advance semiconductor and information technologies.

Beginning her career as a Congressional Fellow, Dr Prabhakar has served on the National Academies’ Science Technology and Economic Policy Board. In addition, she chaired the Efficiency and Renewables Advisory Committee for the US Department of Energy.

As the founding director of DARPA’s Microelectronics Technology Office, she led a team of programme managers whose efforts spanned areas such as optoelectronics, infrared imaging and nanoelectronics.

Thakur, who is the president of Thakur Services Inc. in Houston, Texas, was named a member for leadership in the implementation of integrated reservoir management techniques.

Sridhar, the principal co-founder and chief executive officer of Bloom Energy Corporation in California, was selected for the “contributions to transport phenomena and thermal packaging of electrochemical systems and generation of clean, reliable and affordable power”.

Prior to founding Bloom Energy, Sridhar was director of the Space Technologies Laboratory (STL) at the University of Arizona where he was also a professor of aerospace and mechanical engineering.

Under his leadership, STL won several nationally competitive contracts to conduct research and development for Mars exploration and flight experiments to Mars.

His work for the NASA Mars programme to convert Martian atmospheric gases to oxygen for propulsion and life support was recognised by Fortune magazine which cited him as “one of the top five futurists inventing tomorrow, today.”

Along with the new members, the total US membership goes up to 2,275.

Election to the institution “is among the highest professional distinctions accorded to an engineer,” the statement read.

Founded in 1964, the NAE is a non-profit institution that provides engineering leadership in service to the nation.

Its mission is to advance the well being of the nation by promoting a vibrant engineering profession and by marshalling the expertise and insights of eminent engineers to provide independent advice to the federal government on matters involving engineering and technology.

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