Published: 23rd December 2021
IIT Madras launches chair to further research in construction materials
In academia, Chairs are occupied by professors who have excelled in teaching, research and service to the institute
Indian Institute of Technology Madras has instituted the Surendra and Dorothie Shah Chair to further cutting-edge research in the field of civil engineering materials.
Bhaskar Ramamurthi, Director of IIT-M, said that the first occupant of this Chair will be professor K Ramamurthy from the Department of Civil Engineering. He said, “Ramamurthy has been a mentor for countless students not just in civil engineering but from all parts of the institute. It is only fit that he is the first occupant of this Chair."
In academia, Chairs are occupied by professors who have excelled in teaching, research and service to the institute. Ramamurthy ranks amongst the top 2 per cent of researchers worldwide who have worked extensively in construction.
While accepting the honour, Ramamurthy said, “Professor Shah has inspired all of us (faculty) for the last several decades and also. Every time he comes to IIT Madras, he inspires several students and research scholars. This is an endorsement for the work they are doing.”
Some key areas of research that would be undertaken under this Chair include construction materials, structural design and/or technologies, infrastructure. The namesake of this Chair, professor Surendra P Shah, is one of the foremost global experts in engineering materials -- particularly concrete and other cement-based construction.
Shah, who teaches at the University of Texas and Northwestern University in the United States, changed the way modern concretes are used worldwide. Meanwhile, Dorothie Shah is the founding president of the Indo-American Museum, now called the National Indo-American Museum in Chicago.
Addressing the launch event earlier this month, Surendra Shah said, “The decision to choose IIT-M (to set up this Chair) was very easy. It is one of the top institutions in India. My association with IIT-M has been quite long and fruitful."
Speaking on the need for more women in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM), he said, “In the US, we are trying to get more women into STEM. In the IIT-M Research Group, a large number of PhD students are women, which is very impressive."