Australia has awarded its highest civilian honour, the Companion of the Order or Australia (AC), to Indian-origin scientist and distinguished professor Chennupati Jagadish.
Professor Jagadish is currently the head of the Semiconductor Optoelectronics and Nanotechnology Group at the Australian National University. He was given the award in recognition for his service to physics and engineering.
“I am humbled, honoured and grateful for this honour. This is a wonderful recognition for 25+ years of work my research group at the Australian National University (ANU) in the field of semiconductor optoelectronics and nanotechnology,” said Professor Jagadish upon receiving the award.
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“I am grateful to India providing me education and nurturing me from childhood to adulthood, and grateful to Australia for providing opportunities to contributes to science, in particular nanotechnology, and provide leadership to Australian and global science,” he added.
According to a report in the Guardian, Professor Jagadish’s projects include a new class of lasers that can help in telecommunications and “new lightweight solar cells with increased efficiency”. The report also notes how he’s been working on what he calls ‘brains on a chip’ or “artificial, trainable neurons.”
He thanked ANU, as well for providing him with opportunities for research for the last 25 years.
Professor Jagadish, who was born in a small village in Southern India, recounted his own humble beginnings of how he studied in front of a kerosene lamp till grade 7. He later went on to live with his high school maths and science teacher in order to complete his education.
“Without the help and support of my two high school teachers, I won’t be here today. I am humbled to receive highest civilian honour from the Government House,” he said.
Professor Jagadish and his wife also set-up an endowment fund in December 2015 to help support students and researchers from developing countries to visit ANU’s Physics and engineering department.