The Wouk Lecture

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March 23, 2012 2:00–3:00 p.m.
Hameetman Auditorium, Cahill
Free and Open to the Public

Scientific Research and Education: Challenges and Opportunities

Subra SureshSubra Suresh
Director of National Science Foundation (NSF)

Subra Suresh , distinguished engineer and professor, was nominated by President Obama and unanimously confirmed by the U.S. Senate as the Director of the National Science Foundation (NSF) in September 2010. As director of this $7-billion independent federal agency since October 2010, he leads the only government science agency charged with advancing all fields of fundamental science and engineering research and related education. Since joining NSF, he has established several new initiatives including INSPIRE (Integrative NSF Support Promoting Interdisciplinary Research and Education), PEER (Partnerships for Enhanced Engagement in Research, in collaboration with USAID), the NSF Career-Life Balance Initiative, and the NSF Innovation Corps. Prior to his current role, he served as Dean of the School of Engineering and the Vannevar Bush Professor of Engineering at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). His experimental and modeling work on the mechanical properties of structural and functional materials, innovations in materials design and characterization, and discoveries of possible connections between cellular nanomechanical processes and human disease states have shaped new fields in the fertile intersections of traditional disciplines. In his leadership roles at MIT, Suresh helped create new state-of-the-art laboratories, the MIT Transportation Initiative, and the Center for Computational Engineering; led MITís efforts in establishing the Singapore- MIT Alliance for Research and Technology (SMART) Center; and oversaw the recruitment of a record number of women faculty in engineering. Learn more

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The Wouk Lecture is presented by the Division of Engineering & Applied Science.

NSF Director and 2012 Distinguished Wouk Lecturer, Subra Suresh with members of the Wouk family and EAS Division Chair Ares Rosakis

Past Lectures

The Victor Wouk Lectureship, established by the Wouk family in December 2004 to bring to campus experts on the latest advances in science and technology, is named in honor of Caltech alumnus Victor Wouk, who received his master's and doctorate degrees in electrical engineering from Caltech in 1940 and 1942, respectively. He devoted himself largely to developing hybrid motor vehicles and using semiconductors in electric vehicles. More than three decades ago, he designed and built a high-performance electric vehicle and a high-performance, low-emission, improved-fuel-use hybrid. Throughout his career, he promoted the continuing development of hybrid automobiles powered by both electricity and gasoline, such as the Toyota Prius, Honda Insight, and Ford Escape Hybrid. The range of Wouk's activities was wide, and he consulted for several institutions and the government on the problems of energy. A space-travel buff since childhood, he also worked with the team that developed fuel gauges for the "dune buggies" that roamed the surface of the moon during the Apollo program.


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