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aerosol scientist pratim biswas named dean of U. OF MIAMI College of Engineering

Story, photo provided by University of Miami

Pratim BiswasRaised on the campus of the Indian Institute of Technology in Bombay by a father who was a professor of chemistry at the institute and a mother who was a mathematician, Pratim Biswas grew up with STEM infused in his DNA. As a young boy, he admired the field of engineering, often marveling at how those who practiced the discipline could solve intractable problems. 

This fascination served Biswas well, as he would go on to become one of the world’s leading authorities in aerosol science and engineering. He is renowned for his work in applying aerosol science to energy and environmental nanotechnology, solar energy use, air pollution control, medicine, and other areas. Now, he is bringing his expertise, vision, and organizational skills to the University of Miami. 

Biswas, the Lucy and Stanley Lopata Professor in the McKelvey School of Engineering at Washington University in St. Louis, has been named dean of the University of Miami College of Engineering. A member of the prestigious National Academy of Engineering, Biswas will assume his new post in January 2021. 

At Washington University, Biswas served as assistant vice chancellor for international programs and chair of the Department of Energy, Environmental and Chemical Engineering. 

He arrived at Washington University 20 years ago to rebuild an environmental engineering science program that had been dismantled 30 years prior. Six years later, he created the Department of Energy, Environmental and Chemical Engineering, the first program of its kind nationally — which currently has 146 undergraduates, 30 master’s-degree students, and 110 Ph.D. students; 24 tenured, tenure-track, teaching, and research faculty members; and $8 million in annual research expenditures. Biswas is proud of his more than 55 doctoral graduates of the Aerosol and Air Quality Research Laboratory, and he has published more than 425 peer-reviewed journal papers with them. 

During his stint at Washington University in St. Louis, Biswas orchestrated numerous national and international collaborations. He served as the university’s ambassador to the Indian Institute of Technology, Bombay, and directed the McDonnell Academy Global Energy and Environmental Partnership, a consortium of 35 universities worldwide in which scholars collaborate on research and new educational initiatives. 

At the University of Miami, working with his faculty colleagues, students, alumni, other stakeholders and the University administration, Biswas hopes to implement a bold vision for the College of Engineering, congruent to the University’s Roadmap to the New Century. In one area, he would be building an interdisciplinary chemical engineering program at the College of Engineering consistent with the chemical and molecular sciences initiative of the University. “That particular branch of engineering has far-reaching impacts,” he said, noting that it leads to advances in health care and medicine as well as the development of systems for synthesis of advanced materials, enhancement of environmentally benign energy systems, and improvement to environmental quality. 

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