Three Penn Engineers Elected to National Academy of Engineering

The School of Engineering and 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 Dawn Bonnell, Trustees Chair Professor and Professor of Materials Science and Engineering, Vijay Kumar, UPS Foundation Professor and Professor in the Department of Mechanical Engineering and Applied Mechanics, and 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."

Dawn BonnellDawn Bonnell

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."

Bonnell is Director of the Nano/Bio Interface Center (NBIC). She received her Ph.D. 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. She has authored or coauthored over 250 papers, and her work has been recognized by the Presidential Young Investigators Award, the Ross Coffin Purdy Award and the Sosman award from the American Ceramic Society, the Staudinger/Durrer Medal from ETH Zurich, the Heilmeier Faculty Research Award and several distinguished lectureships. Bonnell serves on many editorial boards, national and international advisory committees, is a past president of AVS, served on the governing board of the American Institute of Physics, and is a past vice president of the American Ceramic Society. She is a fellow of the American Ceramic Society, the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and the AVS. She is the founding Director of the NBIC, which is a cross disciplinary organization that involves faculty from the School of Engineering and Applied Science, the School of Arts and Sciences, the School of Medicine, Wharton, and the Graduate School of Education.

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, 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.

Vijay KumarVijay Kumar

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 National Academy of Engineering for "contributions in cooperative robotics, networked vehicles, and unmanned aerial vehicles, and for leadership in robotics research and education."

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 Ph.D. from The Ohio State University in 1987. He has been on the faculty at the University of Pennsylvania since 1987.

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. 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.

Kumar is a Fellow of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) and the Institution of Electrical and Electronic Engineers (IEEE). He has served on the editorial boards of the IEEE Transactions on Robotics and Automation, IEEE Transactions on Automation Science and Engineering, ASME Journal of Mechanical Design, the ASME Journal of Mechanisms and Robotics and the Springer Tracts in Advanced Robotics (STAR). He is the recipient of the 1991 National Science Foundation Presidential Young Investigator award, the 1996 Lindback Award for Distinguished Teaching (University of Pennsylvania), the 1997 Freudenstein Award for significant accomplishments in mechanisms and robotics, the 2012 ASME Mechanisms and Robotics Award, the 2012 IEEE Robotics and Automation Society Distinguished Service Award and a 2012 World Technology Network Award. He has won best paper awards at DARS 2002, ICRA 2004, ICRA 2011, and RSS 2011 and has advised doctoral students who have won Best Student Paper Awards at ICRA 2008, RSS 2009, and DARS 2010. He is also a Distinguished Lecturer in the IEEE Robotics and Automation Society and an elected member of the Robotics and Automation Society Administrative Committee (2007-2012).

Krishna P. SinghKrishna P. Singh

Krishna P. Singh (MS’69, Ph.D.’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, N.J. An innovator in nuclear power plant technology, Singh provided the naming gift for the Krishna P. Singh Center for Nanotechnology.

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. 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.

Read the NAE Press Release.

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