Research, students make a difference

Anjan Bose, a Distinguished Professor of Power Engineering and a member of the U.S. National Academy of Engineering, is one of the world’s foremost authorities on safeguarding the security of the power grid.

When a blackout occurred in the Northeast and portions of the Midwest in 2003, 50 million people were affected, economic losses were estimated at $7 billion, and the U.S. Secretary of Energy asked Bose to be part of a select committee to figure out what went wrong. Subsequent recommendations called for exactly the improvements Bose’s research has identified and addressed: improved operator training and improved software for handling sudden changes in the grid.

Still, the 2006 Regents Professor says it is the recognition from his peers at WSU that is most gratifying.

“I am thrilled to be named Regents Professor, as research and teaching have been my passion for a long time,” he wrote in an e-mail from overseas. “When your own colleagues at your own institution recognize your contributions and take pride in them, it is special indeed.”

“Dr. Bose’s professional record is extraordinary,” said Behrooz Shirazi, director of the School of Electrical Engineering, “and he is exceptionally well qualified to be promoted to the rank of Regents Professor.”

Bose’s colleagues at other universities are equally impressed by his work. “Virtually everyone in power engineering knows Dr. Bose and looks to him for his advice and guidance,” said Jerry Heydt, himself a Regents Professor at Arizona State University. “He has developed a world-class power engineering program at WSU.”

On sabbatical this academic year, Bose began a five-month appointment as a senior adviser to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission the same week that Congress passed the Energy Policy Act of 2005. Because of that, Bose said, he abandoned his previous work plans and got involved in figuring out how to implement the act.

“The main thing I helped with was the process of moving responsibility for the reliability of the electronic power grid to FERC from a trade organization,” he wrote.

During spring semester, Bose is visiting universities and power industries in India, Asia and Europe to continue existing collaborations, create new collaborations and to learn how power grid issues outside North America are different and similar.

“What we do in Pullman has no boundaries,” he wrote. “We have students, especially graduate students, all over the world.

“It is very gratifying to see one’s research making a difference in technology and society,” he wrote, “but there is nothing more satisfying than touching the lives of students who then go on to make a difference in society.”

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