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Indian American professor wins National Medal of Science

October 04, 2014 19:58 IST

US President Barack Obama has selected Indian-American Professor Thomas Kailath for the prestigious National Medal of Science, highest honour for achievement in the fields of science and engineering.

Kailath, 79, will receive the medal along with 9 other awardees, at a White House ceremony later this year.

"These scholars and innovators have expanded our understanding of the world, made invaluable contributions to their fields and helped improve countless lives," Obama said in a press statement.

"Our nation has been enriched by their achievements, and by all the scientists and technologists across America dedicated to discovery, inquiry and invention."

After graduating from the University of Pune in 1956, Kailath received his Master's degree and his doctorate degree in 1961, both from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology US. He was the first India-born student to receive a doctorate in electrical engineering from MIT.

Kailath, the Hitachi America Professor of Engineering, joined the Stanford faculty as an associate professor of electrical engineering in 1963. He was promoted to professor in 1968, and assumed emeritus status in 2001, but remains active with his research and writing.

Born in 1935 to a Malayalam-speaking Syrian Christian family who hailed from Kerala, Kailath has authored several books including well-known Linear Systems.

Kailath's research and teaching at Stanford have covered several fields of engineering and mathematics, with a different focus roughly every decade: information theory, communications, linear systems, estimation and control, signal processing, semiconductor manufacturing, probability and statistics, and matrix and operator theory.

He has mentored an outstanding array of more than 100 doctoral and postdoctoral scholars.

The National Medal of Science was created by statute in 1959 and is administered for the White House by the National Science Foundation.

Awarded annually, the Medal recognises individuals who have made outstanding contributions to science and engineering.

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