Datta, Hosmane and Loubere named Presidential Research
by Tom Parisi
Mathematician Biswa Nath Datta, chemist Narayan S. Hosmane
and geologist Paul W. Loubereall NIU researchers on the
cutting edge of understanding some of the most challenging problems
of our dayhave been named this year's Presidential Research
Datta's research is contributing to improved aircraft. Hosmane's
work is advancing cancer therapy. Loubere is deepening our
of global warming. While one uses algorithms, another reaction
flasks and the third offshore drilling rigs, they each push the
boundaries of scientific discovery.
"These researchers are among the best and brightest in
their respective fields," NIU President John Peters said.
"Not coincidentally, they also are recognized by their peers
here at NIU as top caliber teachers who deliver cutting-edge
research to their students."
Jerrold Zar, Graduate School dean and associate provost for
graduate studies and research, said the selection process for
the Presidential Research Professorships is very competitive.
"We had a number of extremely strong candidates again this
year," Zar said. "What we look for is somebody who
is a national or international leader in his or her
Begun in 1982, Presidential Research Professorships recognize
outstanding faculty scholarship. The award recipients receive
some special financial support of their research for four years,
after which they carry the title of Distinguished Research
The president will formally recognize this year's designees
during the May 12 Graduate School Commencement ceremonies.
Here's a closer look at this year's selections.
By the numbers
For those who question how complex
math problems relate to the real world, Mathematical Sciences
Professor Biswa Datta counts the ways.
His mathematical and computational techniques aim at improving
performance and design safety in autos, aircraft, bridges,
and highways. "I work on problems whose solutions are readily
applicable to real-life control-and-vibration engineering design
and analysis," Datta said. "So I get motivated by the
fact that my research will contribute not only to the advancement
of science, but also to technological and industrial
Datta earned his Ph.D. from the University of Ottawa and arrived
at Northern in 1981. Blending linear algebra and scientific
with control and systems theory, his interdisciplinary research
is internationally recognized. Among his collaborators is his
wife, Karabi, who also is an NIU faculty member.
"Biswa built the numerical analysis group in our
said William Blair, chair of mathematical sciences. "Because
of his presence, we've been able to recruit a strong group in
numerical analysis and scientific computing and attract a number
of distinguished visiting researchers."
Datta serves as a consultant to such recognizable firms as
Boeing Company and Wolfram Research Inc., the world's leading
technical software company. He also is on the editorial board
of premier technical journals and is editor-in-chief of the annual
series, Applied and Computational Control, Signals and
"He possesses an unbounded energy, is a prolific writer
and has a collaborative spirit," Blair added. "He talks
with almost all the experts in his field."
Datta has served as a distinguished visiting professor at
major universities worldwide, and he has obtained numerous research
grants from the National Science Foundation, U.S. Air Force and
international research councils. He has presented nearly 100
invited talks, published more than 80 scientific papers and several
books and chaired several international interdisciplinary
In 1999, Datta was elected a Fellow of the Institute of
and Electronics Engineers, an honor bestowed upon less than
of 1 percent of the professional society's 360,000 members
He also was honored as an "IEEE Distinguished
At NIU, Datta has taught at both the undergraduate and graduate
levels, where his research frequently is a topic of classroom
discussion. "At the graduate level, in-depth discussions
sometimes help me understand the problems more clearly, and fresh
ideas come out," Datta said. "Conversely, the students
are exposed to state-of-the-art research."