Public Release: 

2009 AAAS International Scientific Cooperation Award goes to Katepalli R. Sreenivasan

American Association for the Advancement of Science

The American Association for the Advancement of Science, the world's largest general scientific society, has named Katepalli R. Sreenivasan, an extraordinary educator and mentor of next-generation scholars worldwide, to receive the 2009 AAAS International Scientific Cooperation Award.

Sreenivasan, immediate past director of the International Centre for Theoretical Physics (ICTP) in Trieste, Italy - a "home away from home for some 100,000 scientists worldwide - was selected "for his role as a transformational leader of an international research center that promotes cutting-edge science by bringing together the brightest minds from nations within and beyond the developing world," AAAS reported.

In particular, Sreenivasan was recognized for his successful efforts in mentoring students and young scholars throughout the world by creating significant opportunities for their development in their own countries and elsewhere. Sreenivasan served as Abdus Salam Research Professor and director of the ICTP until his term concluded at the end of October 2009. He has been credited with significantly reinvigorating the science mission of the ICTP and increasing the institution's visibility within the broader international scientific community.

At the end of 2009, Sreenivasan became a senior vice provost of New York University (NYU), where he also serves as special advisor for science & technology to the Vice Chancellor of NYU Abu Dhabi.

During his 22-year tenure at Yale University, Sreenivasan held professorships in mechanical engineering, physics, applied physics, and mathematics, and he made significant contributions to the quantitative study of turbulence. He subsequently moved to the University of Maryland as Director of the Institute for Physical Science and Technology, before accepting the position with the ICTP in Italy, which allowed him to positively affect and nurture the careers of scientists from developing countries.

At the ICTP, Dr. Sreenivasan has mentored post-doctoral scientists and Ph.D. candidates from Argentina, Cameroon, Chile, China, Germany, India, Italy, Pakistan, Russia, South Korea, the West Indies, the United Kingdom, and the United States, the award selection committee said. Many of these scientists have excelled in their own careers in academia and other research institutions, and for the government.

"Katepalli Sreenivasan has played a tremendous role in advancing science and promoting international research cooperation," said AAAS Chief International Officer Vaughan Turekian. "Through his insightful use of resources, for example, he has been instrumental in bringing young scientists from the developing world to international conferences. He has worked tirelessly to support research opportunities and the career advancement of young scientists from many different regions."

The ICTP is operated under a joint agreement between the Italian government, UNESCO, and the International Atomic Energy Agency, Turekian explained. Its mission is to foster the growth of advanced studies and research in the physical sciences for scientists in developing countries; to facilitate contact between scientists from all over the world; and to provide visitors, scientists and researchers with facilities required to carry out research.

One of Sreenivasan's visions at the ICTP was to create the Earth System Physics Research Center to conduct research on regional climate modeling, anthropogenic climate change, natural climate variability, chemistry-climate interactions, biosphere-atmosphere interactions, seismology, the physics of the lithosphere, and earthquake predictions. Since 2006, the ICTP has established new diploma programs in earth system physics as well as basic physics - an effort to provide young physicists and mathematicians from sub-Saharan Africa with a strong foundation in physics before they pursue further studies at the graduate level. Under his leadership, an initiative called the Sandwich Training Educational Programme (STEP) has offered fellowship opportunities to Ph.D. candidates from developing countries in the fields of physics and mathematics.

Sreenivasan has received numerous awards and honors. He is a fellow of AAAS as well as the American Physical Society, the American Society of Mechanical Engineers, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the Indian National Academy of Sciences, the Institute of Physics (U.K.), the Academy of Sciences for the Developing World, and the African Academy of Sciences. He is an elected member of the U.S. National Academy of Sciences and the National Academy of Engineering. He received the Medal of Engineering Science from the Third World Academy of Sciences, and the Dwight Nicholson Medal for Human Outreach from the American Physical Society. He has authored some 240 research papers and supervised more than 30 doctoral theses.

Sreenivasan was educated in India at the University of Bangalore and the Indian Institute of Science, where he received his doctorate in aerospace engineering. He completed his post-doctoral studies in Australia and then joined Johns Hopkins University as a researcher.

Established in 1992, the AAAS Award for International Scientific Cooperation recognizes an individual or a limited number of individuals for making extraordinary contributions to further international cooperation in science and engineering. Sreenivasan will receive a commemorative plaque and a monetary prize of $5,000 during the 176th AAAS Annual Meeting in San Diego, California, which will take place 18-22 February 2010. The awards ceremony and reception will be held at the San Diego Convention Center, Room 6C, on Saturday, 20 February at 5:00 p.m.


CONTACTS: Sreenivasan can be reached at (347) 410-4509 or For general information on the AAAS Awards ceremony or other background, Communications Officer Molly McElroy of AAAS can be reached at (202) 326-6434, or From February 18- February 22, Molly can be reached at 619-525-6252

The American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) is the world's largest general scientific society, and publisher of the journal, Science ( as well as Science Translational Medicine ( and Science Signaling ( AAAS was founded in 1848, and includes 262 affiliated societies and academies of science, serving 10 million individuals. Science has the largest paid circulation of any peer-reviewed general science journal in the world, with an estimated total readership of 1 million. The non-profit AAAS ( is open to all and fulfills its mission to "advance science and serve society" through initiatives in science policy, international programs, science education, and more. For the latest research news, log onto EurekAlert!,, the premier science-news Web site, a service of AAAS.

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