Thirumalai Venkatesan, an internationally renowned leader in advanced technology innovation, will lead the OU Center for Quantum Research and Technology as director designate before becoming the center’s inaugural director July 1.
According to an OU press release, the center brings together faculty and students with interest in quantum materials, sensors and the scientific study of measurement, as well as quantum communications and computing.
Venkatesan will also hold positions as a professor of physics and astronomy in the Homer L. Dodge Department of Physics and Astronomy, and as a professor of electrical and computer engineering in the Gallogly College of Engineering, according to the release.
David Wrobel, dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, said he looks forward to Venkatesan’s leadership.
“(Venkatesan) brings the perfect mix of research innovation, scholarly stature and accomplishment, wide-ranging administrative experience, and visionary leadership qualities, including a deep commitment to the innovative multi-college, multi-field convergence-driven research that advances OU’s ambitions,” Wrobel wrote in the release. “The college is thrilled to welcome (Venkatesan) , and is also deeply appreciative of the outstanding efforts of professor Alberto Marino, whose service as interim director of CQRT began at its founding in July 2019 and will conclude in July 2021.”
Venkatesan joins OU from the National University of Singapore, where he served as the director of the Nano Institute and was a Provost Chair Professor of electrical and computer engineering, physics and material science. He also previously taught at the University of Maryland, and held multiple roles at Bell Labs, Bellcore and Rutgers University, according to the release.
Venkatesan received a doctorate in philosophy and quantum electronics from Bell Laboratories and the City University of New York, a master’s of science in physics from the Indian Institute of Technology in Kanpur and a bachelor’s in physics from the Indian Institute of Technology in Kharagpur, according to the release.
Venkatesan is the chairman and CEO of Neocera Magma, a company specializing in magnetic microscopy applications in the semiconductor industry. He is also the president of Neocera, a company specializing in pulsed laser deposition tools. As the inventor of the pulsed laser deposition process, he has published more than 800 papers, holds 35 patents, and was ranked 66 in terms of his citations among the top 100 physicists globally in 2000, according to the release.
Among the center’s goals, Venkatesan said in the release he is focused on increasing entrepreneurship at OU, collaborations with other laboratories and student success.
“We are trying to create an ecosystem, one of global excellence in research, and at the same time a very active entrepreneurial environment,” he said. “Academic excellence and entrepreneurship go hand in hand. I would also like to form partnerships both with national labs and other universities across the country where similar work is being done to create a dynamic, interactive research community.”
Venkatesan said in the release he wants to increase retention of undergraduate students for graduate programs, while also implementing measures to increase representation of underserved communities.
“The other thing I would like to do, at the appropriate time, is to increase outreach and work toward innovative programs to the high school and undergraduate communities to enhance enrollment of underserved populations into these high-tech areas,” he added.
Venkatesan said he plans to work toward making OU among the top ranked universities in the country within the next 10 years. He believes OU is poised for success because of its strong base of faculty experts, a culture that aims for improvement and excellence, and the resources and administrative support to make it possible.
John Klier, dean and AT&T Chair of the Gallogly College of Engineering, said he is excited to welcome Venkatesan to the Center for Quantum Research and Technology.
“We are looking forward to his contributions in advancing cross-college collaborations, research activities, student mentoring and technology translation,” Klier wrote in the release.
Farid Zuchrinata joined The Daily’s news desk in the spring of 2021 as an intern news reporter.
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