Distinguished University Research Professor Honored with Burnum Award

Dr. Arunava Gupta
Dr. Arunava Gupta

From the May 2016 Desktop News |Highly-regarded for his research, Dr. Arunava Gupta, Distinguished University Research Professor, is this year’s recipient of the Burnum Distinguished Faculty Award, one of the highest honors bestowed on professors at The University of Alabama.

Gupta, who holds a joint appointment in UA’s College of Arts and Sciences and College of Engineering and is associate director of UA’s Center for Materials for Information Technology, is widely known for his expertise in investigating thin films and nanostructured materials for use in information technology and energy applications.

“Through his decades-long, internationally recognized research and his dedication to our teaching and research mission, Dr. Gupta brings enviable positive regard to the University from the highest international scientific and educational circles,” wrote Drs. Kevin Shaughnessy, head of chemistry, and Chris Brazel, head of chemical and biological engineering, in their recommendation letter.

The Burnum Distinguished Faculty Award, established by Celeste Burnum and the late Dr. John F. Burnum, is given annually to recognize and promote excellence in research, scholarship, and teaching. The award committee, composed of former winners of the Burnum Award, screens nominees and forwards its two top nominees to the UA president, who, in turn, selects the annual winner.

“It is indeed a tremendous honor to have won this prestigious award and to join the ranks of the distinguished prior winners,” Gupta said. “In the 12 years I have served at the University, it has been my privilege and pleasure to have worked with many distinguished scientists and engineers here and elsewhere, and to have mentored many bright and talented students. I never expected to be recognized for this work with this exceptional award.”

Gupta is one of only four UA faculty members to hold the University Distinguished Research Professor title. He is a 2010 recipient of Germany’s prestigious Humboldt Research Prize and a fellow in both the American Association for the Advancement of Sciences and the American Physical Society.

Since coming to The University of Alabama in 2004, after nearly 25 years as researcher in private industry, Gupta has been awarded more than $6 million in funding from such key sources as the National Science Foundation, the U.S. Department of Energy, and the U.S. Department of Defense.

While working as a researcher at IBM, he played an influential role in the expansion of research and industrial interest in oxide-based materials and devices. From 1988 to 1990, his team at IBM reported the use of solution-based-precursors for the synthesis of high temperature superconducting oxide films and also made pioneering contributions to the development of the Pulsed Laser Deposition technique for oxide film growth, which is now well recognized.

In the 1990s Gupta conducted similar groundbreaking research in the area of magnetic oxides, being the first to report large magnetoresistance effects at low fields in devices fabricated from manganites and other half-metallic oxides.

During his career he has published more than 375 research papers in highly regarded scientific journals including Nature, Nature Materials, Science, Physical Review Letters, Applied Physics Letters, Nano Letters, and the Journal of the American Chemical Society.

In 2010, he gained international acclaim when he received the Humboldt Research Prize awarded by the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation. The $75,000 award is given to internationally renowned scientists and scholars. In 2011, he was elected by his peers as a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the world’s largest general scientific society and publisher of the journal Science.

In 2014, Gupta was awarded the CRSI Medal, given annually by the Chemical Research Society of India to outstanding chemists of Indian origin working outside the country.