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University of Houston Cullen College of Engineering

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UH Mechanical Engineering Chairman Wins Prestigious National Award

By: 

Rashda Khan
Pradeep Sharma, M.D. Anderson Professor and chair of the mechanical engineering department at the UH Cullen College of Engineering
Pradeep Sharma, M.D. Anderson Professor and chair of the mechanical engineering department at the UH Cullen College of Engineering

Society of Engineering Science Honors Pradeep Sharma With the 2019 James R. Rice Medal

 

Pradeep Sharma, M.D. Anderson Professor and chair of the mechanical engineering department at the UH Cullen College of Engineering, received the 2019 James R. Rice Medal from the Society of Engineering Science (SES).

The award recognizes mid-career researchers who are within 10 to 20 years of having earned their doctorate and have had a substantial impact on the field of engineering sciences. Sharma was awarded the medal for his “creative contributions to understanding the science underpinning flexoelectricity and its applications to engineered and biological systems.”

"This recognition by my peers is quite moving and I feel deeply honored and grateful,” he said. “The award truly belongs to the amazing students, post-docs and collaborators I have worked with over the years and is a tremendous morale boost for our group.”

His research group at the Cullen College uses theoretical and computational methods to understand physical phenomena across multiple disciplines – from materials science to biology. Recent research highlights include the designing of soft multifunctional materials, elucidating why some animals can detect magnetic fields, time-scaling in atomistic simulations and assessing the mechanical behavior of materials used for energy storage.

After earning his Ph.D. in mechanical engineering at the University of Maryland at College Park in 2000, Sharma worked as a research scientist for General Electric Corporate R&D. He joined the department of mechanical engineering at the Cullen College in 2004 as a tenure-track assistant professor.

In addition to several UH teaching and research awards, Sharma’s past accolades include the 2015 Melville Medal from the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) and a Fulbright Award in 2013.

Sharma had some words of wisdom for Cullen College students.

“We should never compromise on the quality of work. Considerations such as number of papers, impact factor, et cetera, should be secondary to the quality of research,” he said. “This is epitomized by Professor Jim Rice, in whose honor the medal is named.” 

Sharma will receive the medal at the annual 2019 SES conference in Saint Louis. The award comes with $1,500 and a commemorative plaque.

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