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Two Ohio University faculty members named Distinguished Professor

ATHENS, Ohio -- Ohio University President Robert Glidden named Jay Gunasekera and Alexander Arhangelskii the university’s newest Distinguished Professors on Saturday, Sept.27, during the 26th annual Honors Convocation in Templeton-Blackburn Alumni Memorial Auditorium.

The Distinguished Professor Award, Ohio University’s highest honor for a faculty member, recognizes scholarly accomplishment, professional reputation and contributions to the university. A lifetime designation, it provides one quarter of professional leave and the privilege of naming one student annually to receive a Distinguished Professor Scholarship.

Gunasekera, chair of the Department of Mechanical Engineering in the Russ College of Engineering and Technology, has been working closely with the United States Air Force Materials Lab and a large number of aerospace engine companies such as General Electric (GE), Pratt & Whitney and General Motors Allison Gas Turbine. He has analyzed and developed novel processes for difficult-to-form materials such as titanium aluminide. He pioneered the computer modeling of the “Pack Rolling” process, which involved the rolling of titanium aluminid, sandwiched between two cover materials.

In a letter of nomination for Gunasekera, Maj. Gen. Paul Nielsen, commander of the Air Force Research Laboratory at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base (WPAFB), wrote “Professor Gunasekera has consistently demonstrated the highest level of integrity, competence, dedication and scholarship. Professor Gunasekera epitomizes the very essence of a distinguished professor.”

A faculty member in the Russ College since 1983, Gunasekera has written two books and 140 technical articles. He has provided leaderships in the general area of CAD/CAM, and his particular expertise in metal forming has attracted significant external funding for College of Engineering and Technology projects.

“This is a great honor and privilege from me to receive this award. I appreciate the recognition and thank all of those who wrote supporting letters for the nomination and the Distinguished Professor committee for selecting me for this year’s distinction,” said Gunasekera, a Moss Professor of Mechanical Engineering.

He has served on the faculties of Monash University, Australia, and the University of Sri Lanka, before moving to the United States as a senior research fellow at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base. Gunasekera has been honored as a fellow of the Royal Society of Arts, Institution of Mechanical Engineers and the Institution of Production Engineers, all of the United Kingdom. In 1989 he became a Professional Engineer (PE) in the State of Ohio, obtaining the highest grade for all those taking the PE examination, which includes chemical, civil, electrical, industrial and mechanical engineering. He received his master’s degree and doctorate from the Imperial College of Science and Technology of the University of London in England. He also holds a higher doctorate from the same University of London.

Arhangelskii, professor of mathematics, has published more than 200 papers and six monographs, and is one of the founders of the prestigious journal, “Topology and its Applications.” His scientific research features a wide-range approach to problems embracing various aspects of general topology --- thus, reciprocal classification of spaces and maps, theory of cardinal invariants of topological spaces, topological algebra, and spaces of continuous functions. Thirty-six graduate students received doctoral degrees after writing their dissertations under Arhangelskii’s supervision. Some of those graduates now work at universities in the United States, Japan, Russia, Moldova, Bulgaria and Canada.

“Arhangelskii has a stratospheric reputation and has been regarded over the last thirty years as one of the most important general and set theoretic topologists (the other being Mary Ellen Rudin),” said Peter Collins of Oxford University, United Kingdom, in a letter of nomination for Arhangelskii. A colleague from the University of Washington said he is “one of the foremost general topologists in the world today.” Another colleague from Spain says, “His prodigious research output is exceptional and proves him to be an original thinker and tireless author of top-quality mathematics.”

His works introduced new important concepts and many new interesting problems. Research in various fields of general topology, carried out all over the world, was considerably stimulated by Arhangelskii’s works. The most famous of Arhangelskii’s result is the solution of the old problem of P.S.Alexandroff (dated to 1922) on the cardinality of a compact Hausdorff first-countable space, in 1969.

Currently in Russia, Arhangelskii wrote, “It is a great honor to accept the title of Distinguished Professor at Ohio University with all of the new responsibilities that it bestows upon me. During the 10 years I have been at Ohio University, I have found new sources of inspiration for my work through my interactions with my colleagues in the Department of Mathematics. I am grateful for their support, cooperation and interest in my work. I have found the excellent environment for teaching and research at Ohio University to be most favorable, and it has encouraged me to find new ways in which my teaching and research can help the institution succeed in its quest for excellence.”

Arhangelskii received his master’s degree in mathematics with distinction from Moscow University in Moscow, Russia, and his doctorate in mathematics from the Academy of Sciences of Russia in Moscow.

The Honors Convocation, held annually since 1978, recognizes undergraduate student scholars and the generosity of donors who give to Ohio University student scholarship funds, and honors distinguished professors. This year, 2,900 awards were made possible through private gifts of just more than $4 million.

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Editor’s Note: Photos of this year’s Distinguished Professor recipients can be downloaded from the Web at www.ohio.edu/news/pix/.

Contact: Media Specialist Jack Jeffery, (740) 597-1793

 

 
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