Washington, D.C. – Dr. Bhakta Rath, Associate Director of Research and Head of the Materials Science and Component Technology Directorate at the Naval Research Laboratory (NRL), has been elected to the National Academy of Engineering. Dr. Rath is recognized for “leadership in advancing materials research and technology to support national security.” Election to the National Academy of Engineering is among the highest professional distinctions accorded to a scientist or engineer. Academy membership honors those who have made outstanding contributions to “engineering research, practice, or education, including, where appropriate, significant contributions to the engineering literature,” and to the “pioneering of new and developing fields of technology, making major advancements in traditional fields of engineering, or developing/implementing innovative approaches to engineering education.”
Dr. Rath began his career at NRL as head of the Physical Metallurgy Branch in 1976. Within six years, he was selected to head the Materials Science and Technology Division. Then within four more years, he was appointed the Associate Director of Research. In his current position, Dr. Rath manages a multidisciplinary research program to discover and exploit new improved materials, generate new concepts associated with materials behavior, and develop advanced components based on these new and improved materials and concepts. Scientists in this Directorate perform theoretical and experimental research to determine the scientific origins of materials behavior and to develop procedures for modifying these materials to meet naval needs for advanced platforms, electronics, sensors, and photonics.
Following his undergraduate studies in India, Rath earned an MS in Metallurgy from what was then the Michigan College of Mining and Technology and went on to earn his PhD from the Illinois Institute of Technology in 1961. He is a member of Michigan Tech’s Academy of Metallurgical and Materials Engineering and has also been honored by The American Society of Materials, the Naval Research Laboratory, the Department of Defense and numerous professional and scholarly organizations.
Dr. Rath is a fellow of the Minerals, Metals and Materials Society (TMS), American Society for Materials-International (ASM), Washington Academy of Sciences, Materials Research Society of India, and the Institute of Materials of the United Kingdom.
Dr. Rath has received a number of honors and awards, most recently an honorary doctorate in engineering from Michigan Technological University, the Department of Defense Distinguished Civilian Service Award, the 2005 Fred Saalfeld Award for Outstanding Lifetime Achievement in Science, the Presidential Rank Award for Distinguished Executive (2005), the NRL Lifetime Achievement Award (2004), National Materials Advancement Award from the Federation of Materials Societies (2001), the Presidential Rank of Meritorious Executive Award (1999 and 2004), the S. Chandrasekhar Award and Medal, and the Award of Merit for Group Achievement from the Chief of Naval Research. He received the 1991 George Kimball Burgess Memorial Award, the Charles S. Barrett Medal, and the prestigious TMS Leadership Award and Life Membership for his contributions to Materials Research. The American Society for Materials International and The Metals, Minerals, and Materials Society have jointly recognized him with the TMS/ASM Joint Distinguished Lectureship in Materials & Society Award and the 2001 ASM Distinguished Life Membership Award. He has served as the 2004-2005 President of the American Society for Materials. He also has served as a member of the Boards of Directors/Trustees of TMS, ASM-International, and the Federation of Materials Society (FMS), as a member of the editorial boards of three international materials research journals, and as chairman of several committees of TMS, ASM, FMS, and American Association of Engineering Societies, and served for the Deputy Under Secretary of Defense as the Executive Chair of Materials and Processes Research Group, developing many collaborative research projects with the Defense Laboratories of U.S., Canada, UK, Australia and New Zealand (TTCP Countries).
Dr. Rath joins other NRLers, past and present, as members of the National Academies. National Academy of Science members include Dr. Herbert Friedman, Dr. Isabella l. Karle, Dr. Jerome Karle, Dr. Judith Lean, and Dr. Richard Tousey. National Academy of Engineering members are Dr. Thomas G. Gialllorenzi, Dr. Frances Ligler, Dr. Elaine Oran, Dr. Merrill Skolnik, and Mr. Peter Wilhelm.