Professor Narayan wins 2014 North Carolina Award in Science, Highest Civilian Honor of the State of North Carolina

Governor Pat McCrory’s office has announced the winner of 2014 North Carolina Award in Science as Professor Jagdish (Jay) Narayan, who is John C. C. Fan Family Distinguished Chair Professor in the Department of Materials Science and Engineering at North Carolina State University. The North Carolina Award is the highest civilian honor bestowed by the state of North Carolina. It is awarded in the four fields of science, literature, the fine arts, and public service. Sometimes referred to as the “Nobel Prize of North Carolina”, the award has been given to up to nine individuals each year since 1964. Celebrating the Golden Jubilee in 2014, North Carolina Awards are given to six inductees, one each in Science and The Fine Arts, and two each in Literature and Public Service categories. The awards, provided for by chapters 140A and 143B of the North Carolina General Statutes, are chosen by the North Carolina Awards Committee appointed by the Governor of North Carolina and supervised by the North Carolina Department of Cultural Resources. The North Carolina Awards will be bestowed by the Governor of North Carolina in a special award ceremony on November 13, 2014. The NC State Bell Tower (Historical Landmark in Raleigh) will be lighted in Professor Narayan’s honor on November 13 after the Chancellor’s reception. Past winners included Maya Angelou, Charlie Rose, John Hope Franklin, Charles Kuralt, and four Nobel Laureates.

Jagdish (Jay) Narayan has unparalleled academic and research records. After graduation with B. Tech. (Distinction and First Rank) in 1969 from India’s top institution, IIT, Kanpur, Narayan received special fellowship offers for graduate studies from UC Berkeley (USA) and University of Cambridge (UK). Narayan was very keen to go to USA, but his father wanted young Narayan to go to Cambridge, because that’s where Nehru and Newton went and he had not heard of Berkeley. When Narayan informed his dilemma to Berkeley Graduate School, he received a very persuasive argument from Berkeley detailing: (1) Berkeley was rated top graduate school in the world, (2) Narayan was the only student from the whole of Asia to receive this fellowship, and (3) There are Berkelium and Californium elements in the Cambridge Dictionary. The latter really impressed father Narayan and he relented.

At Berkeley, Narayan established an extraordinary academic record by finishing MS (1970) and PhD (1971) degrees in a record time of two years, which normally took six years. His pioneering research on defects and diffusion laid foundations for materials processing needed for systems ranging from nano to micro and macroscale. He worked as research metallurgist (1971-72) at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and moved to Oak Ridge National Laboratory, where he headed Thin Film and Electron Microscopy Group before joining North Carolina State University in 1984 as senior professor. At NCSU, he was appointed Distinguished University Professor in 1990 and John Fan Family Distinguished Chair Professor in 2002. At ORNL, he pioneered laser and rapid thermal processing of semiconductors and invented supersaturated semiconductor alloys, where dopant concentrations can far exceed the Thermodynamic solubility limits. This forms the backbone of modern integrated circuit devices. Narayan started nanoscience revolution in bulk nanocrystalline materials in 1981 with his invention of metal-ceramic nanocomposites with novel electronic, optical and magnetic properties. His recent work in this area has focused on three-dimensional self-assembly of magnetic nanodots, where each dot is epitaxially aligned with respect to the substrate and integrated with a silicon computer chip. This research was hailed by NSF as significant discovery of the year 2004, revolutionizing magnetic information storage. For his contributions in microelectronics, he was feted as “Michael Jordan of Microelectronics” by the Chronicle of Higher Education in 2010.

For every advanced technology, there is a materials bottleneck, which must be solved to transition science innovations into manufacturing and jobs. Narayan has solved these bottlenecks by inventing new materials, novel laser assisted processing methods, and new paradigms for thin film science and technology. These inventions have led to High-efficiency Nano-Pocket LEDs (light emitting diodes) for Solid State Lighting, Mutifunctional Smart Sensors and Next-generation High-Power Devices, Novel Oxide Electronics, and Nanomagnetics for Information Storage. Today most of the high-efficiency LEDs in the market are manufactured using Dr. Narayan’s inventions. His thin film science inventions of domain matching epitaxy has led to the integration of novel functional materials and wide bandgap semiconductors on the silicon computer chip for next-generation solid state devices ranging from highly efficient cost-effective “smart” LEDs and high-power devices to smart multifunctional sensors. These research innovations are impacting North Carolina and the United States alike in very significant ways

Professor Narayan has published over 500 scientific papers in archival journals and equal number in Conference Proceedings, 9 edited books and over 40 US Patents which have over 20,000 citations. He has trained and mentored over 100 PhD students and postdocs, who are highly successful in industry, academia and national labs. Dr. Narayan has received many national and international honors accolades for his unprecedented academic and very creative research accomplishments. He is the only person with unique distinction of obtaining a PhD in one year from the University of California, Berkeley, which was ranked number one in the world in 1971, the year of his PhD. He holds Fellow honors from eight professional societies, and his trio of Gold Medals (1999 ASM Gold Medal, 2011 Acta Materialia Gold Medal, 2014 TMS RF Mehl Gold Medal) from the most prestigious professional societies put him in the elite category of materials scientists in the world; in fact, he is only such recipient active in the field at this time. He has received highest faculty honors from NC State (2012 Holladay Medal and 2011 Reynolds Award) and The UNC System (2014 O. Max Gardner Award) which is comprised of 17 universities across North Carolina. The O. Max Gardner Award represents a singular honor given to a single faculty annually for excellence in research and teaching and their impact on the human race. Professor Narayan’s research has been duly recognized by the American Institute of Physics (AIP) in this year’s Nobel Prize in Physics on Blue Light Emitting Diodes (LEDs) made from Gallium Nitrides (III-nitrides) based materials. The AIP has singled out Narayan’s highly cited paper (J. Appl. Phys. 87, 965 (2000) with over thousand citations) on the development of GaN based materials used in the Nobel Laureates’ work. In fact, all high efficiency GaN based LEDs are manufactured today by Narayan’s invention of quantum nanostructuring or Nano-Pocket LEDs.

While employed with Oak Ridge National Lab, Dr. Narayan married Ratna in 1973 and they have son Roger Narayan, MD and PHD, who is professor of biomedical engineering at UNC Chapel Hill and NCSU. Roger married Pallavi Katiyar and they have three absolutely wonderful kids Roger Jay (12), Andrew (10) and Gregory (8).

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Prof. Jay Narayan with Gov. Pat McCrory
Prof. Jay Narayan with Gov. Pat McCrory
NC Science Medal
NC Award in Science given to Prof. Jay Narayan