Andhra Pradesh-born, Professor Chennupati Jagadish is the first Australian of Indian heritage to take on the role.
One of the world’s leading physicists, author of more than 700 journal papers and recipient of Australia’s highest civilian order, Professor Chennupati Jagadish has been nominated President of Australian Academy of Science. He is the first Australian of Indian heritage to take on the role and will become President in six months from now.
Professor Jagadish leads the Semiconductor Optoelectronics and Nanotechnology Group of Australian National University (ANU) that studies the science and application of extremely small things that can be used across almost all science fields.
Born in a small village in Andhra Pradesh, he studied hard and always looked for avenues to improve his knowledge further. After completing his PhD and MPhil from Delhi University, young Chennupati Jagadish wanted better scope for higher studies and applied to institutions around the world but could not make any headway. Three hundred rejection letters would have broken the back of many a good academic, but this young student remained undaunted. Opportunity finally came knocking.
After completing a post-doctoral research fellowship in Canada, he moved to ANU in 1990 with a 2-year contract and a 2-month-old baby, to join the newly established Department of Electronic Materials Engineering in the Research School of Physics and Engineering. And the rest, as they say, is history.
Professor Jagdish attributes his resilient nature to growing up in a farming community in India where ups and downs are part of everyday life.
In his 30-year career at ANU in Canberra, this world-leading physicist has been supervising numerous PhD students and mentored close to 50 post-doctoral and other fellows.
One of the many discoveries of Professor Jagadish has been in designing and developing some of the world’s smallest lasers by which approximately 20-30 of them can fit within the width of a single human hair. His research in nanotechnology is also being applied for making flexible solar cells and improving treatments for dementia.
The distinguished Professor has also pioneered the creation of high-performance next generation optical devices, which have huge potential in the field of communications and data storage.
“My job is to enable science. We need to make sure that the public as well as policy makers are aware of how science is embedded in everything which we are doing today, ” says Professor Jagadish in an introductory video of the Australian Academy of Science.
ANU vice-chancellor Brian Schmidt has lauded the appointment and said that the nanotechnologist was a globally recognised and hugely respected researcher whose discoveries were being applied in amazing ways both domestically and internationally.
“Jagadish is also an incredible mentor who has nurtured the next generation of scientists Australia and the world needs. In Jagadish, Australian science and scientific research is in incredibly safe and inspirational hands,” he said in an interview with The Canberra Times.