Three Penn Engineers Elected to National Academy of Engineering
The School of Engineering & Applied Science at the University of Pennsylvania is pleased to announce that three Penn Engineers have been elected to the National Academy of Engineering (NAE). Honorees are Dr. Dawn Bonnell, Trustees Chair professor and professor of materials science and engineering, Dr. Vijay Kumar, UPS Foundation Professor and professor in the department of mechanical engineering and applied mechanics, and Dr. Krishna P. Singh, a Penn Engineering alumnus, University Trustee and Engineering Overseer.
Election to the NAE is among the highest professional distinctions accorded to an engineer. Academy membership honors those who have made outstanding contributions 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.”
Dr. Dawn Bonnell, Trustees Chair Professor and professor in the department of materials science and engineering, has been elected to the National Academy of Engineering for “development of atomic-resolution surface probes, and for institutional leadership in nanoscience.”
Dr. Bonnell is director of the Nano/Bio Interface Center (NBIC). She received her PhD from the University of Michigan in 1986 and was a Fulbright Scholar to the Max-Planck-Institute in Stuttgart, Germany, after which she worked at the IBM Thomas Watson Research Center.
The research in the Bonnell group focuses on atomic processes at surfaces. The group is known for the first imaging of atoms on oxide surfaces, a result that generated a new field involving groups around the world and impacting catalysis, nanofabrication and materials growth technology sectors. More recently her group developed a new paradigm for fabricating nanostructured devices, Ferroelectric Nanolithography, and discovered a new mechanism for harvesting light energy. An additional outcome of this research program has been the invention of new probes that reveal the behavior of small structures.
Through her directorship of the NBIC, Dr. Bonnell generated new research programs that cross disciplinary boundaries, linking engineering and life science in a two-way exchange that advances our understanding of interactions at the interface of physical and biological systems. Resulting technologies include chemical and biochemical sensors including DNA sequencing, in situ and ex situ probes of cellular processes and new technologies for nanoscale visualization. The NBIC has been an innovator in educational programs, developing new curricula for nanotechnology degrees to support the development of a workforce for the next decade of innovation.
Dr. Vijay Kumar, UPS Foundation Professor and professor in the department of mechanical engineering and applied mechanics with a secondary appointment in the department of computer and information science, has been elected to the NAE for “contributions in cooperative robotics, networked vehicles, and unmanned aerial vehicles, and for leadership in robotics research and education.”
Dr. Kumar, who is on sabbatical leave, is currently serving as the assistant director for robotics and cyber physical systems at the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy. He received his bachelor of technology from the Indian Institute of Technology, Kanpur and his PhD from Ohio State University in 1987. He has been on the Penn faculty since 1987.
Dr. Kumar studies collective behaviors in biological and robotic systems. He and his group design novel architectures, create abstractions for systems of interacting individuals and develop new algorithms for cooperating robots. The overarching themes in his research include modeling nature and developing bio-inspired architectures and algorithms, understanding group/individual dynamics, and the design and composition of controllers for robust, scaleable autonomous systems. Dr. Kumar’s key challenges include operation in unstructured, dynamic environments, integration of control, communication and perception, and scaling down to smaller sizes with limited actuation, sensing, and computational resources.
Dr. Krishna P. Singh (GME’69, GrME’72), a Penn Engineering alumnus, University Trustee and Engineering Overseer, is founder, president and chief executive officer of Holtec International, an energy-technology company based in Marlton, NJ. An innovator in nuclear power plant technology, Dr. Singh provided the naming gift for the Krishna P. Singh Center for Nanotechnology (Almanac September 4, 2007).
Dr. Singh has shepherded the growth of Holtec International over the past two decades through development of cutting-edge technologies to help generate eco-friendly energy from both nuclear and fossil fuels. In the nuclear power sector, Holtec is globally recognized as the pre-eminent developer and provider of technologies to store and transport used nuclear fuel and of heat exchange equipment that lie at the heart of operating nuclear power plants. Holtec-supplied heat exchange equipment designed to coax maximum energy from fossil fuel helps power scores of electric plants on four continents around the world. Dr. Singh is the author or co-author of over sixty technical papers, a widely used reference book on heat exchanger design, numerous technical monographs and hundreds of industry reports. His array of patents on innovative heat exchange and nuclear fuel storage device designs form a keystone of Holtec’s product lines.
Prize for Arabic Literary Translation: Dr. Allen
Dr. Roger M.A. Allen has been awarded the 2012 Saif Ghobash Banipal Prize for Arabic Literary Translation, for his translation of A Muslim Suicide by Bensalem Himmich. Dr. Allen is the Sascha Jane Patterson Harvie Professor Emeritus of Social Thought and Comparative Ethics and professor emeritus of Arabic and comparative literature in the School of Arts & Sciences.
The Saif Ghobash Banipal Prize for Arabic Literary Translation is an annual prize of £3,000 (~$4,500), awarded to the translator(s) of a published translation in English of a contemporary Arabic work of literary merit.
In their announcement, the judges stated, “A Muslim Suicide is a highly ambitious and erudite work that opens up remarkable historical, cultural, and religious perspectives on the Islamic heritage. It is a highly challenging, yet deeply enriching read in its English translation. This is chiefly due, however, to the immense insight and long and hard-earned cultural and linguistic awareness of its translator. It is very hard indeed to imagine anyone besides Roger Allen capable of bringing this serious book alive to English readers.”