Physics leader’s double honor not at all shocking

Very few professors are recognized each year with an annual faculty award. It is a great mark of distinction to be selected for one of these honors. In 2005, Yogendra Gupta has been selected for two.

Gupta, professor of physics and director of the Institute for Shock Physics, is this year’s recipient of the Eminent Faculty Award, and he also has been named a Regents Professor.

“I’m very honored, pleased and humbled at this recognition, and I will continue to work hard to be worthy of the same,” said Gupta.

Gupta, who is in his 24th year at WSU, is an extremely active researcher whose work garners national and international prestige and visibility for the university, not to mention millions of dollars in research funding. He has authored or co-authored more than 190 research publications and has made more than 90 invited presentations at scholarly meetings. He is actively involved in many national committees.

“Dr. Gupta has been instrumental in building an area of unique and important expertise on this campus,” said Michael Griswold, dean of the College of Sciences. “Because of his efforts, WSU is internationally known in the field of shock physics.”

In addition to research, Gupta is an active teacher and mentor, having advised 11 Ph.D. students, 11 master’s degree students and about 60 research personnel who have worked under his leadership in the Institute for Shock Physics. Several graduate students currently work with him.

“This is not a personal recognition,” said Gupta of the awards. “This is a team recognition of all the wonderful people I have had the privilege to work with.”

Among his honors, Gupta has been active as an American Physical Society fellow since 1991. He received the APS Shock Compression Award in 2001 and was chair of the APS/Northwest section in 1998-99. In 2002, he was elected a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. At WSU, he was awarded the President’s Faculty Excellence Award for Research and Creativity in 1994. He was named the Westinghouse Distinguished Professor of Material Science and Engineering for 1996-97.

“It is difficult to overstate the importance of Yogi’s contributions to shock physics,” said associate professor of physics Matthew McCluskey, in a letter of support. “Prior to the ‘Gupta Era,’ studies had focused almost exclusively on the average, or continuum, properties of matter. It was Yogi who spearheaded the new approach to understand the atomic properties.”

“I cannot judge my own accomplishment,” Gupta demurs. “That is for others to judge. For me, it is all about doing exciting, fundamental science and working with talented, creative people. I feel fortunate to have had this opportunity.”

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