NASA Senior Scientist is Recognized for Advanced Nanotechnology Research
Image of Meyya Meyyapan.
Image of Meyya Meyyapan.
Photo Credit: NASA Ames Research Center
For the many years of cutting-edge research in nanotechnology, Dr. Meyya Meyyappan was recognized for his outstanding contributions on February 19, 2009, when he was inducted into the Silicon Valley Engineers Council Hall of Fame.

In 1997, Meyyappan started attending an informal group that met regularly to discuss nanoscale science and technology and its potential benefits to society. By 1998, the United States Office of Science and Technology Policy recognized the group's important work, and designated it the Interagency Working Group on Nanotechnology.

As one of its founding members, Meyyappan was involved in the discussion of nanoscale application from the beginning. Working with Nobel Laureates, eminent professors and chief technology officers from across the country, the group produced ground-breaking work, which was used to justify raising nanoscale science and technology to the level of a national initiative.

Meyyappan grew up in a medium-sized town in southern India. He remembers always wanting to become an engineer, and started down the path to his dream in high school, where he liked mathematics and science. He earned a bachelor in technology in chemical engineering at the Regional Engineering College of Madras University in Trichy, India. The following year, he moved to England, and earned a masters degree in chemical engineering at Aston University in Birmingham, UK. In 1979, he arrived in cold, wintery Potsdam in upstate New York, where he worked on a doctorate in chemical engineering at Clarkson University. Sponsored by NASA, his thesis topic was the feasibility of processing materials under microgravity conditions.

Meyyappan joined NASA Ames in 1996, and the following year, started the NASA Ames Center for Nanotechnology (NACNT). Under his leadership, NACNT grew to about 65 scientists and engineers, and students and visiting scholars working on various aspects of nanotechnology, including carbon nanotubes, nanomaterials, nanoelectronics, computational nanotechnology, chemical and bio sensors, flight instrumentation, detectors, optoelectronics and related areas. They investigated the benefits of nanomaterials for miniaturization of science payload and affordable space missions. Recognized for its prolific nanotechnology publications and inventions, NACNT was one of the most praised organizations in the world.

As a senior scientist, Meyyappan has pursued his own research interests in the areas of carbon nanotubes and inorganic nanowires for various applications in electronics and sensors. He has authored or co-authored more than 175 articles in peer reviewed journals, and participated in more than 200 Invited/Keynote/Plenary Talks related to nanotechnology throughout the world. Today, Meyyappan is the chief scientist for exploration technology at NASA Ames Research Center.

He also has been recognized by his peers for his scientific contributions. He is a Fellow of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE), the Electrochemical Society, American Vacuum Society, and the California Council of Science and Technology. He is the IEEE Nanotechnology Council Distinguished Lecturer on Nanotechnology, IEEE Electron Devices Society Distinguished Lecturer, and the American Society of Mechanical Engineers' Distinguished Lecturer on Nanotechnology (2004-2006). He served as the President of the IEEE's Nanotechnology Council between 2006 and 2007.

For his contributions and leadership in nanotechnology, he has received numerous awards, including a Presidential Meritorious Award; NASA Outstanding Leadership Medal; Arthur Flemming Award, given jointly by the Arthur Flemming Foundation and George Washington University; 2008 IEEE Judith Resnick Award; IEEE-USA Harry Diamond Award; and the American Institute of Chemical Engineers Nanoscale Science and Engineering Forum Award. For his educational contributions, he has received an Outstanding Recognition Award from the NASA Office of Education; the Engineer of the Year Award (2004) by the San Francisco Section of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics; and IEEE-EDS Education Award.

Ruth Dasso Marlaire
Ames Research Center, Moffett Field, Calif.