Zaffarano Prize Winners - 2011
The Zaffarano Prize for Graduate Student Research was set up in 1988 by Daniel Zaffarano, who had just retired as Vice President for Research and Dean of the Graduate College. During the hundreds of exit interviews he conducted with graduating students, Dr. Zaffarano had a favorite question: “Are you planning to publish your research?” He believed that the process and experience of publishing research was an important component of the graduate experience. That philosophy was the basis for his decision to use the income from gifts presented at his retirement to recognize superior performance in publishable research by a graduate student. We are here tonight to honor the 2011 winner and honorable mentions of this award. The awardees are shown receiving their awards from Graduate College Dean, David Holger, at the Sigma Xi Banquet.
Dr. Ramkrishna Adhikary (2011 Zaffarano Prize Winner)
Ramkrishna Adhikary, a Ph.D. student in the Department of Chemistry, received the Zaffarano Prize for 2011. Ramkrishna graduated on May 6, 2011. During his time at Iowa State, Ramkrishna had produced 17 papers of which 15 are in print or in press and of which he is the first author of 9 papers.
Dr. Adhikary’s area of research deals generally with using light to study problems that range from being very fundamental to very applied. His work had dealt with understanding the behavior of proteins to changes in the local environment that would be characteristic of chemical reactions. He has also worked on techniques to develop methods for ensuring the safety of food products. In the course of his work, he has independently mastered techniques in and outside his nominal area of time-resolved spectroscopy.
Ramkrishna has been described by his major professor Dr. Jacob Petrich as “the finest student I have had in my 22 years at Iowa State University. Dr. Adhikary is an outstanding graduate student, who in my opinion, has generated the highest quality of independent, outstanding research possible for someone at his stage in his career.” Dr. Mark S. Gordon, Frances M. Craig Distinguished Professor of Chemistry, also stated, “Ram’s accomplishments are truly phenomenal. All of his papers are gems that have already had significant impact.” Dr. Theresa Windus, Professor and Director of Graduate Education of Chemistry, stated, “Dr. Ram Adhikary has shown exceptional ability in his graduate career and has been prolific in his writing, publishing more papers than most, if not all of our chemistry graduates. All of his papers are published in outstanding peer reviewed journals. His expertise if very diverse.”Ramkrishna Adhikary has already started his postdoctoral position at The Scripps Research Institute in California, under the supervision of Professor Floyd E. Romesberg.
Dr. Amit Pande (2011 Zaffarano Prize Honorable Mention) (not present at banquet)
Amit Pande, a graduate from the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, received honorable mention for the 2011 Zaffarano Prize. Amit graduated in August 2010. Dr. Pande published 10 journal papers, 2 book chapters, and 12 conference papers based on his work at Iowa State University, including publication in reputed journals. His Ph.D. work delved into challenges in hardware implementation and security integration of compressed multimedia streams, such as video messaging, video conferencing and video surveillance.
Joseph Zambreno, his major professor, notes “From the first day we met, it was clear that Amit had an aptitude for digesting and explaining complex material, and for synthesizing recurring trends in multiple established research areas such as signal processing, computer security, embedded systems and reconfigurable computing. His high publication count is a record of the fact that he has been able to innovate in all these research areas.” Zhengdao Wang, Associate Professor and DOGE of Electrical and Computer Engineering adds, “I believe that his research in integrating video compression with encryption will have significant impact on the design of future secure multimedia systems.”
Amit is currently an NSF Computing Innovation Fellow in the Department of Computer Science at the University of California, Davis, and could not be with us tonight.