"This year's Distinguished Alumni have contributed to society in diverse ways, spanning optical science, bioinformatics, sonochemistry, and medicine, all serving as role models and mentors for peers and succeeding generations," says Caltech president Thomas F. Rosenbaum, the Sonja and William Davidow Presidential Chair and professor of physics. "They demonstrate how the Caltech academic experience nurtures original thinking across disciplines to transform our understanding and experience of the world."
Nader Engheta (MS '79, PhD '82), the H. Nedwill Ramsey Professor at the University of Pennsylvania, is recognized for his pioneering advancements in optics, including optical nanocircuits and metamaterials, which have brought a new understanding to how light and materials interact at the nanoscale.
Engheta is the founder of near-zero-index optics, optical nanocircuits, and wave-based analog computing based on nanomaterials. His fundamental and transformative contributions to the electrodynamics of light-matter interactions and to the physics and engineering of materials at various length scales have revolutionized how specialized materials can sculpt light, and they have opened doors to numerous other innovations in optics, electromagnetics, and materials science.
He has been honored, among dozens of distinctions, with the 2023 Benjamin Franklin Medal from the Franklin Institute, the 2020 Isaac Newton Medal and Prize from the Institute of Physics in the United Kingdom, the 2020 Max Born Award from Optica, and a Guggenheim Fellowship from the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation in 1999. He has also been elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the Canadian Academy of Engineering, and the National Academy of Inventors. [Caltech story]