The NJIT Board of Overseers honored three professors—all long-time New Jersey residents—for their research contributions in solar physics, computer science and biotechnology. Their published work in notable academic journals, coupled with generous research grants from notable federal agencies, has earned each of them coveted places in spirited academic discussions around the world.
Philip R. Goode, PhD, distinguished professor of physics; Kamalesh Sirkar, PhD, distinguished professor of chemical engineering; and Joseph Leung, PhD, distinguished professor of computer science, each received the NJIT Excellence in Research Medal. Emil C. Herkert, chair of the NJIT Board of Overseers, presented the awards at NJIT’s annual convocation.
“The Excellence in Research Awards recognize NJIT faculty and staff who have achieved a sustained record of contributions that have enhanced the reputation of the university," he said.
Goode, of Westfield, is a force to be reckoned with for his work revitalizing a 15th-century technique for monitoring Earth’s climate. The legendary painter and astronomer Leondardo DaVinci originally advanced the theory of “earthshine,” which Goode has enlarged upon using Big Bear Solar Observatory in Big Bear Lake, Calif. Goode has been executive director of the facility since NJIT undertook its management in 1997 from California Institute of Technology. Under Goode’s leadership, the observatory has grown from 4 to 40 people and the annual budget, supported solely by competitive federal grants, has increased from less than $500,000 then, to more than $5 million today. Goode will soon unveil there a new solar, land-based telescope—arguably the world’s largest.
Goode’s study of earthshine, funded by NASA, has produced important and controversial scholarly journal articles. The May 28, 2004, issue of Science published the most widely discussed piece. Goode and solar physicists from NJIT and Cal Tech argued that by observing earthshine for eight years, they had witnessed first a gradual decline in the earth’s reflectance, which although it grew sharper in the late 1990s, reversed itself.
Goode was named a Fellow of the American Physical Society, not only for his earthshine research and studies of solar structure and oscillations, but also for his critical national and international research leadership in solar astrophysics. He received his AB from the University of California at Berkeley and his PhD from Rutgers University.
When Sirkar, of Bridgewater Township, an expert in biotechnology, speaks, it seems as if the whole world listens. Sirkar, through his advanced work in membrane separation technology, is at the forefront of developing an effective solution to the desalination of seawater and brackish groundwater. Although several desalination techniques are in use worldwide, membrane separation is perhaps the most promising among the newer technologies. In addition to desalination, membrane technology using polymeric or ceramic membranes has almost boundless potential for other applications that require selectively separating the molecular components of liquids and gases.
Sirkar was selected as the first recipient of the Themis Medicare Chemcon Distinguished Speaker Award, which he received during an international symposium on challenges for chemical engineering in Chennai, India. The Indian Institute of Chemical Engineers sponsored the honor; he also was inducted as an honorary fellow of the same organization.
He is a co-editor of the widely-used Membrane Handbook (Chapman and Hall Publishers, NY, 1992). He has authored 162 publications and holds 19 U.S. patents. He received his PhD from the University of Illinois, Urbana.
Leung, of Edison, is recognized as an international leader in the computer field of scheduling theory. He won a prize from leading experts for solving an important open problem in scheduling. His research interests include scheduling theory, real-time systems, algorithms, operating systems, computational complexity, and combinatorial optimization. With Michael Pinedo at New York University, Leung was recently awarded a grant by the National Science Foundation to study order scheduling in an industrial environment. He edited the Handbook of Scheduling: Algorithms, Models and Performance Analysis, published by CRC Press in 2004.
Since 1976, he has been on the faculties of Virginia Tech, Northwestern University, University of Texas at Dallas, University of Nebraska-Lincoln as well as New Jersey Institute of Technology. He received his doctorate in computer science from Pennsylvania State University.