Tag: Bhakta Rath Research Award

Bhakta Rath Research Award Presented to Fang, Pokharel

Michigan Tech has given its 2014 Bhakta Rath Research Award to two scientists who have developed a fast, effective and inexpensive way to purify synthetic DNA and peptide molecules.

Their discovery could ultimately be used to heal. Peptides have the potential to fight some of the most intractable diseases, and DNA is a critical element of gene therapy.

Read the full news story.

Published in Tech Today by Marcia Goodrich, senior content specialist


Jim Hwang, Zhiwei Peng Selected for Bhakta Rath Research Award

Materials science and engineering professor Jiann-Yang “Jim” Hwang and 2012 PhD graduate Zhiwei Peng have been chosen to receive Michigan Technological University’s 2013 Bhakta Rath Research Award for their studies on the use of microwaves in steelmaking.

The award, endowed by Michigan Tech alumnus Bhakta Rath and his wife, Shushama, recognizes a doctoral student at Michigan Tech and his/her faculty advisor for “exceptional research of particular value that anticipates the future needs of the nation while supporting advances in emerging technology.” Hwang and Peng, now a research assistant professor, will share a $2,000 prize.

Peng and Hwang were nominated by Stephen Kampe, the St. John Professor and chair of the materials science and engineering department.

Kampe called Peng’s work “incredibly thorough in scope and rigorous in its approach.” He noted that Hwang has researched microwave steelmaking for years “and has become a renowned authority on environmental and sustainability issues within the materials processing industries.

“This project represents an excellent fit with Dr. Rath’s vision of this award,” Kampe said.

The researcher did theoretical and experimental work on the use of microwaves to heat materials, particularly magnetic substances, and offered ways to improve microwaves’ heating efficiency. They also provided guidelines for making large-scale microwave furnaces for industrial use. Peng’s dissertation research was an integral part of three grants totaling $2.6 million.

Their work has led to five books, 25 papers and invitations to prepare books on microwave heating.

In support of the nomination, Dinesh Agrawal of Penn State wrote that Peng’s work “will surely accelerate the development of microwave heating for various applications in the field of ceramic and metallic materials, organics synthesis, biomedical treatments, etc.” And Jian Li of Canada’s CanmetMATERIALS research laboratory wrote that Peng’s dissertation reveals “great potential in energy saving and environmental safety.”

Mingming Zhang of the Canadian steel and mining company ArcelorMittal wrote that Peng’s research “attracted my attention because of its huge potential in energy savings and environmental protection compared with conventional technologies,” adding that the achievement is all the more remarkable because steelmaking consumes more energy than any other industry. “Moreover, there is a great possibility to substantially reduce the CO2, SOx and NOx emissions, contributing to an environmentally friendly world,” Zhang said.

Peng’s solid foundation in math and science and his interdisciplinary approach have been key to the project’s success, said his advisor. “He is not afraid of challenges, and he willingly took courses from other departments that advanced his research,” Hwang said. “By combining knowledge from several disciplines, Zhiwei has developed a new field of research.”

Published in Tech Today by Marcia Goodrich, magazine editor


Winners of Rath Award for Research Announced

Chee Huei Lee

For groundbreaking work in nanotechnology, Yoke Khin Yap and Chee Huei Lee have received the University’s Bhakta Rath Research Award.

The award, endowed by 1958 alumnus Bhakta Rath and his wife, Shushama Rath, recognizes a Michigan Tech doctoral student and advisor for “exceptional research of particular value that anticipates the future needs of the nation while supporting advances in emerging technology.”

Yap, an associate professor of physics, and then-PhD student Lee (he graduated in 2010) invented a technique for synthesizing boron nitride nanotubes. Compared to their carbon-based cousins, boron nitride nanotubes have alluring qualities but, before Yap and Lee’s pioneering work, had been notoriously difficult to grow.

The researchers created veritable nano-carpets of boron nitride nanotubes and discovered they possessed a number of interesting properties: They are perfect insulators, which means they could be doped to form designer semiconductors for use in electronics that operate at high temperatures. They are among the strongest materials known and can be dispersed in organic solvents, properties that could be useful in making high-strength composites and ceramics. Plus, they shed water like a duck’s back. This quality, known as superhydrophobicity, holds at all pH levels, which means they could be used as protective coatings to shield against the strongest acids and bases.

Yap said Lee played an important role in their collaboration. “I enjoy working with Chee Huei, as he is willing to listen, think and work hard on an idea, and then he comes back to tell you much more than what you were expecting,” said Yap. “My initial ideas mature and flourish with his feedback.”

Lee has authored or coauthored 12 peer-reviewed journal papers on their nanotube research, as well as three chapters and review articles and three papers in peer-reviewed proceedings. As recipients of the Rath Award, Yap and Lee will share a $2,000 prize. Their research work is supported by the National Science Foundation and the Department of Energy’s Office of Basic Energy Sciences.

To find out more, visit the Michigan Tech News Site .

by Marcia Goodrich, senior writer
Published in Tech Today


Jeff Allen, Ezequiel Medici Win First Bhakta Rath Research Award

For their pioneering work to improve water management in low temperature fuel cells, Jeffrey Allen and his PhD student, Ezequiel Medici, have been named the first winners of the Bhakta Rath Research Award at Michigan Tech. Allen is an associate professor of mechanical engineering-engineering mechanics.

The award, endowed earlier this year by 1958 Michigan Tech alumnus Rath and his wife, Shushama Rath, recognizes a doctoral student at Michigan Tech and his or her faculty advisor for “exceptional research of particular value that anticipates the future needs of the nation while supporting advances in emerging technology.” Allen and Medici will share a $2,000 prize.

“We are delighted to recognize Professor Jeff Allen and his accomplished student, Ezequiel Medici, for their outstanding research contribution in the field of mechanical engineering and engineering mechanics,” said Rath, who is associate director of research and head of the Materials Science and Component Technology Directorate at the US Naval Research Laboratory in Washington, DC. “We have no doubt that their seminal contributions will advance the frontiers of our knowledge in the field and contribute to development of new technologies. My wife and I wish to join their family members, friends and colleagues in congratulating the recipients of this award.”

When he endowed the award in April, Rath said he hoped it would promote and reward research excellence in the physical and natural sciences and engineering, fields in which Michigan Tech is emerging as a world leader in research and education.

“I am honored and grateful to be one of the inaugural recipients of this prestigious award,” Allen said. “However, the credit for the success of this research belongs to Ezequiel.”

His graduate student added, “I feel really honored to have our research recognized because of its potential impact on the fuel-cell industry.”

Medici and Allen’s research focuses on improving the management of the water produced during the operation of a fuel cell, liquid that leads to performance loss and rapid degradation of the fuel cell, significantly reducing the life of the system. They developed a new technique for optimizing fuel cell electrodes and a simple, reliable computational tool that captures the nature of liquid water movement in fuel cell electrodes. Their work, sponsored by the US Department of Energy and conducted in collaboration with the Rochester Institute of Technology and General Motors, will reduce the research and development time and cost of improving fuel cell performance and durability.

Bill Predebon, chair of ME-EM, noted the potential importance of Allen and Medici’s work. “The research being conducted by Ezequiel Medici and his advisor Dr. Jeffrey Allen on the improvement of water management in low temperature fuel cells will have a significant impact in the fuel cell industry in the design of the porous materials used in fuel cells.”

by Jennifer Donovan, director of public relations
Published in Tech Today


Call for 2010 Rath Award Nominations

The Vice President for Research is accepting nominations for the Bhakta Rath Research Award, which was made possible by an endowment from Bhakta B. Rath and his wife, Sushama Rath. The award offers an opportunity to promote and reward excellence in scientific and engineering research in the field of physical and natural sciences and engineering. View Tech’s research website for complete submission guidelines. Nominations will be accepted until 4 p.m., Friday, April 30.

Posted in Tech Today


Alumnus Endows Bhakta Rath Research Award

When Bhakta B. Rath was earning his master’s degree in metallurgical and materials engineering at Michigan Tech in 1958, the US was an undisputed world leader in science and technology. Now he’s the associate director of research and head of the Materials Science and Component Technology Directorate at the US Naval Research Laboratory, and Rath worries about a declining interest in this country in studying science and technology.

So he and his wife, Sushama Rath, have endowed the Bhakta Rath Research Award to motivate Michigan Tech faculty and doctoral students to conduct the kind of research that will meet the nation’s needs and the challenges of emerging technologies. The annual award will be $2,000, split between a graduate student and his or her faculty advisor.

Rath’s gift supports the strategic direction of Michigan Tech: to grow and strengthen its research enterprise and graduate program.

Published in Tech Today