Five Indian Americans elected to National Academy of Engineering

Krishan K. Ahuja
Georgia Tech Professor Krishan K. Ahuja is one of the five Indian Americans newly elected as fellows of the National Academy of Engineering. Photo credit:

Kiran Mazumdar Shaw of Biocon Limited was amongst two Indians elected in the foreign members category.

Amongst the 86 newly elected members of the National Academy of Engineering are five Indian American engineers with an excellent professional track record.

The new Indian American fellows are Krishan K. Ahuja, a regents’ professor at Georgia Tech’s Daniel Guggenheim School of Aerospace Engineering; Pratim Biswas, a Washington University at St. Louis; Anil Kumar, an associate fellow of specialty coatings and materials at PPG in Monroeville, Pennsylvania; P.P. Vaidyanathan, Kiyo and Eiko Tomiyasu professor of electrical engineering at the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena; and Hemant K. Thapar, the chairman and chief executive officer of the Milpitas, Calif.-based OmniTier Inc.

Additionally, Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw of the India-based Biocon Limited was elected as one of the 18 newly elected foreign members of the Academy.

The Academy announced the election in a press release on February 7.

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For an engineer, being elected as a fellow of the National Academy of Engineering is considered one of the most prestigious professional achievements for an engineer. The Academy membership is accorded to those who have displayed an extraordinary contribution to “engineering research, practice, or education, including, where appropriate, significant contributions to the engineering literature” and to “the pioneering of new and developing fields of technology, making major advancements in traditional fields of engineering, or developing/implementing innovative approaches to engineering education.

Ahuja, who grew up in Kolkata, in the Indian state of West Bengal, was elected for his exceptional work in development of quieter aero systems and contributions to aeroacoustics research, literature and education. He has 35 years of research and development experience in aircraft noise research, acoustics facilities design, flow control, state-of-the-art instrumentation, and advanced signal processing.

He once headed Lockheed Martin’s Advanced Flight Sciences Department in Marietta, Georgia.

Biswas, who also serves as the Stanley and Lucy Lopata Professor and Chair in the energy, environmental and chemical engineering department at the Washington University in St. Louis, is a graduate from the Indian Institute of Technology and also studied at UCLA and Caltech. He was chosen as a fellow for advancing the science of aerosol dynamics and particle removal technologies. He also serves as an assistant vice chancellor of international programs. Biswas is also the director of the McDonnell Academy Global Energy & Environment Partnership, a 33 University International Consortium.

ALSO READ: 10 Indian Americans inducted into the National Academy of Engineering (February 25, 2015)

Kumar, a scientist at PPG Industries, a chemical company, based in Pittsburg, was chosen for contributions in photochromism and variable polarization and leadership in commercialization.

Vaidyanathan, who was born in Kolkata, was elected for his contributions to digital filter bank theory and design.

Vaidyanathan has been with Caltech since 1983. He received the NSF Presidential Young Investigator award in 1986. A fellow of the IEEE (1991), he has given several plenary talks at IEEE and other conferences. Vaidyanathan completed his B.Sc. degree in physics and B.Tech and M.Tech degrees in radiophysics and electronics from the University of Calcutta, India. He then did a doctorate in electrical and computer engineering from the University of California at Santa Barbara in 1982.

Thapar was selected for his contributions to theory and practice of coding and signal processing for high-density magnetic recording. Prior to leading OmniTier Inc., he was a visiting research scientist at UC San Diego.  Thapar did his bachelors’ from Santa Clara University and doctorate from Purdue University. He also served as an adjunct faculty member at Santa Clara from 1984 through 2004.

The Bangalore-based Mazumdar-Shaw was elected for her work in development of affordable biopharmaceuticals and the biotechnology industry in India. Another Indian included in the list of foreign members is Mylavarapu Ramamoorty. The former chancellor of KL University, Vijayawada, was chosen for technical leadership of power engineering research, development, education, and establishing national laboratories in India.

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