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Clarkson University Professor S.V. Babu Prepares Students for Global Workforce
40 Ph.D. Graduates, So Far
S.V. Babu of Clarkson University, director of Clarkson's Center for Advanced Materials Processing (CAMP), is internationally renowned in a cutting-edge field of semiconductor device processing, but students come first in his heart.
Advising and guiding students is something that Distinguished University Professor Babu does exceptionally well. This October, he reached a new milestone when his 40th Ph.D. student, John Bogere Matovu, successfully defended his doctoral thesis, “Chemical Mechanical Polishing of InP, GaAs, and InGaAs Films and Related Environment and Safety Aspects.” Matovu has already moved to Boise, Idaho, where he had a position with Micron Technology waiting for him.
“It's my responsibility to prepare them to go out into the world and succeed,” Babu says of his students. “It's very satisfying to see the young students in their twenties come in here and struggle to learn at first, but then leave with cutting edge technical expertise for jobs where they will be valued and appreciated by the companies that hire them.”
Those companies include IBM, Intel, Micron, Xerox, Dow, Corning and others. The corporations provide crucial financial support for project-based research and seem to hire the students as quickly as Clarkson and Babu can prepare them.
“They're working on the frontiers of knowledge, of technology and of business that are all moving very fast and becoming increasingly global. Our role at the University is to enable them to learn fast, to synthesize what they learn in the lab with what the industry needs and values. They work amid global competition,” he emphasizes.
The professor, who joined the faculty of Clarkson in 1981, became the director of the New York State-supported Center for Advanced Materials Processing in 1999. A chemical engineer with a Ph.D. in physics, his research covers interdisciplinary areas spanning materials processing and chemical mechanical planarization for microelectronic device fabrication. Simply put, this work involves smoothing or polishing material surfaces to the nanoscale level necessary to build computer logic and memory chips and related devices.
“The number of applications for such devices keeps growing -- computers, cell phones, digital cameras, even sophisticated movie animation,” Babu says. “We take this (computer chip) technology for granted now because it works so well.”
The technology also keeps developing, so the Clarkson students and their peers must keep their knowledge and skills honed. That's another area where the teacher sets the example. Babu has 28 patents issued and is a coauthor of more than 250 professional publications. Also, he has helped organize many symposia and delivered keynote talks at many conferences. He is a recipient of the 2004 IBM Faculty Award and was honored in 2010 with a Visiting Professorship for Senior International Scientists by the Chinese Academy of Sciences. Last year, he received an Education Leadership award from the World Education Congress held in Mumbai, India.
The professor passes that imprint of expertise and diligence on to his students. Consider the numbers. Over his career so far, he has supervised 77 graduate students. Five of his doctoral students and six of his 37 M.S. degree students completed their work at the Indian Institute of Technology in Kanpur. The others finished their degrees at Clarkson University.
“It's very rewarding to help send them out to do well for themselves and in their careers,” he says.
Clarkson University launches leaders into the global economy. One in five alumni already leads as a CEO, VP or equivalent senior executive of a company. Located just outside the Adirondack Park in Potsdam, N.Y., Clarkson is a nationally recognized research university for undergraduates with select graduate programs in signature areas of academic excellence directed toward the world's pressing issues. Through 50 rigorous programs of study in engineering, business, arts, sciences and health sciences, the entire learning-living community spans boundaries across disciplines, nations and cultures to build powers of observation, challenge the status quo, and connect discovery and engineering innovation with enterprise.
Photo caption: Above, Professor S.V. Babu's research and lab group. Front row: Prof. Panart Khajornrungruang, John Matovu, Kaushik Varma Sagi and Ted Champagne. Middle row: Prof. Jun Li, Sevim Korkmaz, Yoichi Fujieda, S.V. Babu, Leila Boyea and Kelly Covert. Back row: Cong Fu, Prof. Zifeng Ni, Uma Lagudu and Chris Plunkett.
[A photograph for media use is available at http://www.clarkson.edu/news/photos/babu-group-2013.jpg.]