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'Pioneering' work earns Suresh honor

Subra Suresh
Subra Suresh

The National University of Singapore (NUS) has named MIT Professor Subra Suresh one of two Centennial Professors, the university's most prestigious professorships.

Suresh, MIT's Ford Professor of Engineering and former head of the Department of Materials Science and Engineering, was awarded the first Tan Chin Tuan Centennial Professorship "for his pioneering contributions in materials science and engineering, mechanical engineering and biological engineering."

The other NUS Centennial Professor is Artur Ekert, a quantum physicist at the University of Cambridge, who was awarded the first Lee Kong Chian Centennial Professorship.

Candidates are appointed after a rigorous selection process that pinpoints academics locally and abroad who have demonstrated an exceptional level of achievement in their fields of study, as well as made significant contributions to the academic policies and programs of their universities.

The professorships were announced at an NUS banquet on Monday, May 29, at which each recipient presented a brief lecture. Suresh, through live video-conferencing from MIT, delivered a talk on nanotechnology and its applications at the intersections of engineering, life sciences and medicine.

Thomas Magnanti, dean of MIT's School of Engineering, said of Suresh and the NUS honor, "For someone who focuses so much of his research attention on the 'tiny,' Subra's reach as a scholar and academic leader is truly large.

"For his visionary leadership -- as a founding co-chair of the Advanced Materials Programme of the Singapore-MIT Alliance, as a creator and first director of the Global Enterprise for Micro-Mechanics and Molecular Medicine, as an innovative researcher in several fields, and in making MIT's Department of Materials Science and Engineering a global leader and role model for other materials departments -- Subra's receipt of this honor is a tribute to the worldwide impact of his many pioneering efforts," Magnanti said.

NUS President Shih Choon Fong said, "Professors Ekert and Suresh are leaders in their respective fields of research and NUS is honored to have them as our overseas Centennial Professors. Their contributions will no doubt help to enhance NUS' global standing as one of the world's rising research institutions."

The two professorships were launched to acknowledge the gifts of Singapore's Lee Foundation and Tan Chin Tuan Foundation.

A version of this article appeared in MIT Tech Talk on June 7, 2006 (download PDF).

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