Pot Pourri

Indian-American scientist heads America’s top science funding body
Washington: Eminent Indian-American scientist Dr Sethuraman Panchanathan has assumed charge as Director of the National Science Foundation, the top American body supporting fundamental research in non-medical fields of science and engineering in the country.
Unanimously confirmed by the Senate last week, Panchanathan, 58, from the Arizona State University, replaced White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) Director Dr Kelvin Droegemeier who served as Acting Director of the National Science Foundation (NSF). The term of previous NSF Director France Cordova’s term ended in March 2020.
On Monday, President Donald Trump formally appointed Panchanathan as the 15th Director of the NSF, the top American science funding body that has an annual budget of USD 7.4 billion, the White House said on Tuesday, adding that it is a six-year term. Droegemeier is expected to swear in Panchanathan on July 2, 2020.
“Dr Panchanathan has the creativity, tenacity, communication skills, understanding of the research enterprise, and commitment to lead this agency successfully and continue moving the scientific enterprise forward on the endless frontier. I’m excited to see him make his mark and take the agency to the next level, and I look forward to working with him,” said Droegemeier.

5 Indian-origin techies in UK’s Top 50 Women in Engineering list
London: The UK Atomic Energy Authority’s Chitra Srinivasan is among five Indian-origin engineers to be named among the UK’s Top 50 Women in Engineering for 2020.
Srinivasan, a control and software engineer at UKAEA’s fusion research lab at Culham Science Centre near Abingdon in south-east England, was joined by transport engineer Ritu Garg, seismic engineer Barnali Ghosh, climate change expert Anusha Shah and senior engineer Kusum Trikha for the Women’s Engineering Day awards announced on Tuesday.
Judged by a panel of industry experts, the awards seek to recognise female talent within engineering and is coordinated annually by the Women’s Engineering Society. In its fifth year, the awards focused on sustainability — celebrating female engineers who are making a significant contribution to achieving net zero carbon emission.
The UK Atomic Energy Authority hailed Srinivasan’s success as part of a team developing fusion energy as a carbon-free source of electricity that could be used around the world. “I am an upcoming engineer in fusion research and this achievement is highly encouraging for me,” said Srinivasan.
“This would not have been possible without the support of my colleagues. At UKAEA, I have the opportunity to research sustainable energy by developing computer codes to control the fuel inside fusion machines. We are copying the process that powers the sun for greener electricity,” she said.
Ritu Garg, a senior transport engineer at Arup, was recognised for her work involving the formulation and delivery of sustainable transport solutions. She is also part of a global initiative helping national governments unlock the economic power of zero-carbon sustainable cities. Dr Barnali Ghosh, as technical director at Mott Macdonald, focuses on developing seismic resilience in infrastructure, using the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). (PTI)

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