The American Association for the Advancement of Science, America's largest general scientific society, has named Katepalli R. Sreenivasan, an extraordinary educator and mentor of next-generation scholars worldwide, to receive the 2009 AAAS International Scientific Cooperation Award.
Sreenivasan, immediate past director of the International Centre for Theoretical Physics (ICTP) in Trieste, Italy, was selected for "his role as a transformational leader of an international research center that promotes cutting-edge science by bringing together the brightest minds from nations within and beyond the developing world," according to the award selection committee.
In particular, Sreenivasan was recognized for his successful efforts in mentoring young scholars throughout the world by creating significant opportunities for their development in their own countries and elsewhere. Sreenivasan served as Abdus Salam Research Professor and director of the ICTP until October 2009. He has been credited with reinvigorating the science mission of the ICTP and increasing the institution's visibility within the broader international scientific community.
At the end of 2009, Sreenivasan became a senior vice provost of New York University, where he also serves as special advisor for science and technology to the Vice Chancellor of NYU-Abu Dhabi.
During his 22-year tenure at Yale University, Sreenivasan held professorships in mechanical engineering, physics, applied physics, and mathematics, making significant contributions to the quantitative study of turbulence. He subsequently served as director of the Institute for Physical Science and Technology at the University of Maryland, before accepting the position with the ICTP.
At the ICTP, Sreenivasan has mentored postdoctoral scientists and Ph.D. candidates from Argentina, Cameroon, Chile, China, Germany, India, Italy, Pakistan, Russia, South Korea, the West Indies, the United Kingdom, and the United States. Many of these scientists went on to excellent careers in government, academia, and other research institutions, the award selection committee said.
"Katepalli Sreenivasan has played a tremendous role in advancing science and promoting international research cooperation," said AAAS Chief International Officer Vaughan Turekian. "Through his insightful use of resources, for example, he has been instrumental in bringing young scientists from the developing world to international conferences. He has worked tirelessly to support research opportunities and the career advancement of young scientists from many different regions."
The ITCP is operated under a joint agreement between the Italian government, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, and the International Atomic Energy Agency. Its mission is to foster the growth of advanced studies and research in the physical sciences for scientists in developing countries; to facilitate contact between scientists from all over the world; and to provide visiting scientists with facilities for research.
Sreenivasan was instrumental in creating ICTP's Earth System Physics Research Center, to conduct research on climate change, chemistry-climate interactions, and seismology. Since 2006, the ICTP has offered new diploma programs in earth system physics as well as basic physics, in an effort to provide young scientists from sub-Saharan Africa with a strong physics foundation before they pursue graduate studies. Under Sreenivasan's leadership, an initiative called the Sandwich Training Educational Programme (STEP) has offered fellowship opportunities to physics and mathematics Ph.D. candidates from developing countries .
Sreenivasan has received numerous awards and honors. He is a fellow of AAAS, the American Physical Society, the American Society of Mechanical Engineers, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the Indian National Academy of Sciences, the Institute of Physics (U.K.), the Academy of Sciences for the Developing World, and the African Academy of Sciences. He is an elected member of the U.S. National Academy of Sciences and the National Academy of Engineering. He received the Medal of Engineering Science from the Third World Academy of Sciences, and the Dwight Nicholson Medal for Human Outreach from the American Physical Society. He has authored more than 240 research papers and supervised 30 doctoral theses.
Sreenivasan was educated in India at the University of Bangalore and the Indian Institute of Science, where he received his doctorate in aerospace engineering. He completed his postdoctoral studies in Australia, then joined Johns Hopkins University as a researcher.
Established in 1992, the AAAS Award for International Scientific Cooperation recognizes an individual or a limited number of individuals for making extraordinary contributions to further international cooperation in science and engineering.
Sreenivasan will receive a commemorative plaque and a $5000 prize during the 176th AAAS Annual Meeting in San Diego, California. The awards ceremony and reception will be held at the San Diego Convention Center, Room 6C, on Saturday, 20 February.