Profs. Debasis Mitra and Ah-Hyung (Alissa) Park Elected as AAAS Fellows

Nov 25 2020 | By Holly Evarts | Photo Credit: Columbia Engineering
Profs. Debasis Mitra and Ah-Hyung (Alissa) Park Elected as AAAS Fellows

Professors Debasis Mitra and Ah-Hyung (Alissa) Park were recently elected as fellows of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS). This honor, which was established in 1874, recognizes the extraordinary achievements of scientists, engineers, and innovators across a wide range of disciplines, “from research, teaching, and technology, to administration in academia, industry and government, to excellence in communicating and interpreting science to the public.” They will be virtually inducted on February 13, 2021.

Debasis Mitra, senior research scientist in the department of electrical engineering and adjunct professor of electrical engineering, was cited for his “distinguished contributions to the field of networks and systems, particularly for mathematical modeling, design and optimization” in the Information, Computing, and Communication category.

Mitra’s current research is in the scientific foundations of policy that impacts engineers and engineering systems, and in exploring organizational and individual interactions via models and analyses. He teaches a graduate course on “Internet Economics, Engineering and the Implications for Society”. Mitra joined Columbia Engineering as professor of electrical engineering in 2013, after 44 years at Bell Labs where he served as head of the Mathematical Sciences Research Center for eight years, and as Vice President in the Chief Scientist’s Office. His research was in applied probability, stochastic networks, networking and industrial organizations.

A member of the National Academy of Engineering, a Bell Labs Fellow, and a Life Fellow of the IEEE, Mitra has authored more than 100 journal publications and holds over 20 patents. He is a recipient of the 2012 ACM SIGMETRICS Lifetime Achievement Award, the 2012 Arne Jensen Lifetime Achievement Award from the International Teletraffic Congress, a co-recipient of the 1998 IEEE Eric E. Sumner Award with the citation "For the conception and development of voice echo cancelers," the 1993 Steven O. Rice Prize Paper Award and the 1982 Guillemin-Cauer Prize Paper Award of the IEEE, among other awards.

He has served on the editorial boards of several journals, including the ACM/IEEE Transactions on Networking, and Operations Research. He served on National Academies panels for technical assessment of the Army Research Laboratory during 2009-2015, and on the Air Force Studies Board during 2006-2010.

Ah-Hyung (Alissa) Park, Lenfest Earth Institute Associate Professor of Applied Climate Science in the Department of Earth and Environmental Engineering, and director of the Earth Institute’s Lenfest Center for Sustainable Energy, was named an AAAS Fellow in recognition of her “outstanding research and professional contributions to developing the fundamental understanding of reactions and materials for carbon dioxide capture, utilization and storage” in the Engineering category.

Park’s research is focused on sustainable energy conversion pathways with an emphasis on integrated carbon capture, utilization, and storage (CCUS). Her group works on fundamental studies of chemical and physical interactions of natural and engineered materials with carbon dioxide, such as the development of novel nano-scale hybrid materials for integrated CO2 capture and conversion, and innovative chemical and fuel synthesis pathways using unconventional energy sources such as shale gas, biomass, and municipal solid wastes while minimizing environmental impacts.

Park, who is also a fellow of the American Chemical Society and the Royal Society of Chemistry, has authored more than 80 journal publications and holds seven patents. She has received a number of professional awards and honors including the Mid-Career Faculty Award at Columbia University (2020), U.S. C3E Research Award (2018), PSRI Lectureship Award in Fluidization at American Institute of Chemical Engineers (2018), American Chemical Society Energy and Fuels Division—Emerging Researcher Award (2018), International Partnership Award for Young Scientists of Chinese Academy of Sciences (2018), Janette and Armen Avanessians Diversity Award at Columbia University (2017), American Chemical Society WCC Rising Star Award (2017), James Lee Young Investigator Award (2010), and the National Science Foundation CAREER Award (2009).

Park has led a number of global and national discussions on CCUS including the Mission Innovation Workshop on Carbon Capture, Utilization, and Storage (2017) and the National Petroleum Council CCUS Report (2019). She is the Specialty Chief Editor for Frontier in Energy Research and the associate editor of a number of journals including Energy & Fuels. She serves on the editorial boards of 10 journals, including Chemical Society Reviews and Joule, and on the external advisory boards of national labs and international companies including National Renewable Energy Laboratory, Shell, and TOTAL.

Mitra and Park join six colleagues at the Engineering School who have received this honor: Qiang Du, the Fu Foundation Professor of Applied Mathematics (2017); Aron Pinczuk, professor of applied physics and physics (2001); Jeannette Wing, Avanessians Director of the Data Science Institute and professor of computer science (2007); Shih-Fu Chang, senior executive vice dean and Richard Dicker Professor of Telecommunications and professor of computer science (2010); Gordana Vunjak-Novakovic, University Professor and Mikati Foundation Professor of Biomedical Engineering and Professor of Medical Sciences (in Medicine) (2014); and Paul Sajda, professor of biomedical engineering, electrical engineering, and radiology (2016).