Newsmakers of the WEEK: Arun Majumdar named dean at Stanford school


Arun Majumdar, Indian-American material scientist, engineer and professor, has been named the inaugural dean of Stanford University’s new school that focuses on climate change and sustainability.

Stanford Doerr School of Sustainability, the university’s first new school in 70 years, which aims to accelerate solutions to the global climate crisis, will be launched on September 1, according to Stanford news.

Arun Majumdar, currently the Jay Precourt Provostial Chair Professor, a faculty member of the Departments of Mechanical Engineering and Materials Science and Engineering, and Senior Fellow and former director of the Precourt Institute for Energy, will assume his new position on June 15.

Originally from Kolkata, Majumdar received his bachelor’s degree in Mechanical Engineering at the Indian Institute of Technology, Bombay in 1985 and his Ph.D. from the University of California, Berkeley in 1989. He was nominated for the position of Under Secretary of Energy in the United States between November 30, 2011 and May 15, 2012 but then the nomination was retracted.

After leaving Washington DC, Majumdar was the vice president for energy at Google, where he assembled a team to create technologies and businesses at the intersection of data, computing, and electricity grid.

Majumdar joined Stanford in 2014. He was the founding director of the Advanced Research Projects Agency – Energy (ARPA-E), and currently serves as the chair of the advisory board to the US Secretary of Energy.

“I am deeply honoured and humbled by the opportunity to serve as the inaugural dean,” Majumdar said in the release.

“Building on the extraordinary leadership of transitions deans, Kam Moler and Steve Graham, we will not only harness the intellectual horsepower of our students, faculty, and staff across our campus, but we will also partner with external organizations around the world to co-develop innovative solutions and identify new insights through research and education,” he said.

“As is often said, we do not inherit the Earth from our ancestors; we borrow it from our children. We must collectively figure out how to create a future where humans and nature thrive together,” Majumdar said.

Kiara Kaur

Six-Year-Old Becomes Youngest World Expo Speaker

The World Book of Records (based in London) has acknowledged six-year-old Indian American girl Kiara Kaur to be the youngest keynote speaker to address a World Expo, on Tuesday, May 10.

The Class 1 student gave a speech titled “Small Changes, Big Difference” at the recent World Expo 22 in Dubai. Meanwhile, her speech during the International Women’s Week celebrations at the Mexico Pavilian focused more on women’s empowerment.

Kaur told an Indian channel, “It was exciting to speak to an audience at this great event. I prepared my speech by speaking to my grandmother, Commander Dr Rita Bhatra who had served the Border Security Force for 40 years”.

“Women empowerment lies in equal opportunity for young girls in education, rights, health, decision making, wages and professional opportunities,” she added.

Last year she had set a record as the youngest TEDx speaker with her speech titled “Unboxing Curiosity”.

Regarding her dreams and ambitions, Kaur said that, “I want to be the President so I can govern and help the poor.”

Manav Shah

Golfer Wins Quito Open

American golfer of Indian descent Manav Shah has won the Quito Open on the PGA Tour Latinoamérica. Born in the United States after his family shifted there from Mumbai, Shah, saw off challenges from Joel Thelen and Mitchell Meissner by two strokes to clinch the title.

He had led after the first round with a 63 before slipping in the next and was unable to complete the third on Saturday, when the weather gods intervened and forced a suspension of play.

On Sunday, Shah needed to complete the final six holes of the third round and posted 4-under 68. He started his final round a couple of hours later and played even better for 66 and won by two.

Shah pulled away from a bunched leader board late in the round, shooting a bogey-free 66.

The win has helped Shah move to No. 8 on the ‘Totalplay Cup Points List’ on the PGA Latinoamerica Tour. This now places him in a position to make a run at the top five with four tournaments remaining in the season. The top five from the List earn a status on Korn Ferry, which is then the passage to the PGA Tour.

Kimberly Guilfoyle

Indian-American Women Start Digital Platform

A group of Indian-American women has launched a new digital platform called ‘We Must Meet’, where filmmakers from Hollywood and Indian cinema can screen their own content. It is said to be the first video conference platform that can also act as an OTT (over-the-top) platform.

Ex-US President Donald Trump’s 2020 re-election campaign advisor will be its brand ambassador. She will also be a stakeholder in the project. She is a member of the Republican Party and has been Donald Trump Jr’s girlfriend since 2018.

Twenty-one-year-old Ish Patil, one of the founders of the platform, said, “Today the majority of top Bollywood and Hollywood film-makers are making content for OTT, exclusively for online screening. India’s OTT market is fastest-growing, and has the potential to become largest in the world,” as reported by ANI news agency.

Co-founder Manju Mason stated: “This is the only video conferencing platform that transcends the border of regular video conference towards screening of Bollywood and Hollywood online movies.”

“The software has been entirely developed in the United States and is community-based. It will change the way people will meet and host business meetings,” she added.

The company’s financial analyst K Patel announced that ‘We Must Meet’ would soon launch theme parks, boutique hotels, resorts, and restaurants under the same brand.

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