Dean Emeritus Katepalli Sreenivasan receives the 2022 ASME Medal

Sreenivasan standing with Dr. Muhammed Taher Saif, holding prize

Katepalli Sreenivasan (left) with Dr. Muhammed Taher Saif, Chair of the ASME Applied Mechanics Division, as he receives the prestigious ASME Medal.

Katepalli Sreenivasan — the Eugene Kleiner Professor for Innovation in Mechanical Engineering, as well as a CAS Professor of Physics and Courant Professor of Mathematics — has been honored with the prestigious ASME Medal, the highest award bestowed by the American Society of Mechanical Engineers, meant to recognize “eminently distinguished engineering achievement.” Since being inaugurated in 1920, the honor has gone to such luminaries as Albert Kingsbury, whose inventions contributed greatly to naval efforts during World Wars I and II, and Milton C. Shaw, who conducted seminal work on metals processing.

Sreenivasan, who was presented with the medal on November 1, at ASME’s 2022 International Mechanical Engineering Congress & Exposition, was cited for “exceptionally fundamental and applied contributions to experimental, theoretical and computational fluid dynamics, and for outstanding service as a leader in the engineering profession.”

“ASME is pleased to recognize Dr. Sreenivasan’s work in academia and his accomplishments in fluid mechanics and turbulence. The ASME Medal, the Society’s highest award, is our way of recognizing the importance of his work and research, along with the significant contributions he has made to mechanical engineering,” said Thomas Costabile, ASME Executive Director and CEO.

David Soukup, who is ASME’s Managing Director, Governance, and adjunct professor in Tandon’s Technology Management and Innovation Department, said, “As a faculty member at Tandon for over 25 years, I saw firsthand the impact Dr. Sreenivasan had on raising the stature and visibility of Tandon worldwide.  I am pleased that ASME is recognizing him for his lifelong contributions to the engineering profession.”

Sreenivasan has devoted much of his research to the study of turbulence. It is an important topic because without the mixing of various things like heat and cold–or oxygen and fuel in the case of combustion–life on Earth would not exist, and his research has practical implications for improving aircraft design, gas turbine engines, energy distribution, weather prediction, and more. 

In addition to the ASME Medal, in 2022 Sreenivasan–a former director of the International Centre for Theoretical Physics, in Trieste, Italy, and one of the rare few individuals to hold the NYU distinction of being named a University Professor, a title conferred upon scholars whose work is interdisciplinary and reflects exceptional breadth–took home the Trotter Prize in Information, Complexity and Inference and the Leo P. Kadanoff Prize from the American Physical Society, and previous years have seen him receive membership in the U.S. National Academy of Sciences,  the U.S. National Academy of Engineering, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the Accademia dei Lincei, the Indian Academy of Sciences, the Indian National Science Academy, the Academy of Sciences for the Developing World (TWAS), and the African Academy of Science, as well as the Guggenheim Fellowship, the UNESCO Medal for Promoting International Scientific Cooperation and World Peace from the World Heritage Centre, and others far too numerous to list. 

“Sreeni will always be held in great esteem here at the School of Engineering,” Jelena Kovačević, NYU Tandon’s current dean, says, “and it’s a pleasure knowing that he is held in similar esteem within ASME and the broader engineering community.”

A new elected post

November brought additional news of Sreenivasan’s accomplishments; this month he was elected to serve on the Board of Trustees of the Association of Members of the Institute for Advanced Study (AMIAS). AMIAS is an 8,000-strong group that includes all current and former scholars of the renowned Institute, which was founded in 1930 as a hub of curiosity-driven basic research and which has counted such iconic figures as Albert Einstein and Kurt Gödel among its ranks.