Engineering achievements earn professor honors from her alma mater

Impressive accomplishments in mechanical and aerospace engineering recently earned Arizona State University professor Aditi Chattopadhyay a 2013 Distinguished Alumnus Award from the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Kharagpur.

The award has been bestowed on fewer than 100 IIT alumni in the 62 years since the institute’s founding. Mangapati P. Raju, Minister of Human Resource Development, Government of India, presented the award to Chattopadhyay at the institute’s convocation ceremony.

Chattopadhyay is a professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering in the School for Engineering of Matter, Transport and Energy, one of ASU’s Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering. She received her bachelor’s degree in aerospace engineering at IIT Kharagpur in West Bengal, India.

“It was a very memorable experience and an honor even to be nominated, considering that IIT has an acceptance rate of less than 2 percent from a pool of roughly 500,000 who qualify to take the entrance exam,” Chattopadhyay says.

The award provided her an opportunity to honor her deceased father, who was a faculty member in the Agriculture Engineering Department at IIT.

Chattopadhyay joined the ASU faculty in 1990. Her principal areas of teaching include smart materials and structures, mechanics of composites, aerospace structures and structural optimization. She has supervised 23 students who earned master’s degrees and 25 who earned doctoral degrees.

Her research, which has brought 67 external grants since she came to ASU, focuses on multifunctional materials and adaptive structures, multiscale modeling, structural health monitoring and multidisciplinary design optimization.

She has made significant contributions to the development of structural health monitoring and damage prognosis techniques for aerospace components and civil infrastructure. The use of innovative smart materials and damage detection methodologies for real-time monitoring of structural systems aid early detection of damage and has direct impact on the safety and reliability of mission critical systems.

Chattopadhyay’s research efforts span a number of science and engineering disciplines. She says the transdisciplinary nature of her work likely helped to distinguish her as an IIT alumna, along with international recognition for her contributions to multifunctional materials, multiscale modeling and systems health monitoring.

In 2006 Chattopadhyay became the director of the Adaptive Intelligent Materials and Systems (AIMS) Center at ASU, reflecting one of the seven signature research themes of the Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering. The research center’s goal is to achieve advances in aerospace and mechanical systems and civil infrastructures that have a direct impact on the national economy, while also addressing problems of national and global significance.

Among the more notable of her recent honors is election to the National Research Council Panel on Mechanical Sciences and Engineering from 2013-2015. The council is part of the National Academy of Sciences, which includes the National Academy of Engineering and the Institute of Medicine.

Her paper on multiscale modeling of ceramic matrix composites received the Best Paper Award from the American Ceramics Society (2011), and more recently, her work on the modeling of flexural response of epoxy resin materials received the Best Paper award from the Journal of Aerospace Engineering (2012).

She is the author of 154 journal papers, 290 refereed conference papers and 16 book chapters. She also is the author of one book, with another in progress.

Chattopadhyay says she plans to increase research collaborations with faculty from IIT in the hope it will open an opportunity to establish a formal relationship between students and faculty at IIT and ASU.

Written by Rosie Gochnour and Joe Kullman

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Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering

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