Pranjal Nautiyal, postdoctoral associate in the Carpick Research Group in the Department of Mechanical Engineering and Applied Mechanics, has been honored with an Early Career Award from the Society of Tribologists and Lubrication Engineers (STLE), and has been named to the 2023 class of Senior Members of the National Academy of Inventors (NAI).
Both accolades acknowledge not only the technical achievements of the published author and patent recipient, but their impact on society at large. As an STLE member, Nautiyal is one of many experts who research, develop and market the methods and products that make industry more successful and that enhance the well-being of people worldwide. As an NAI Senior Member, Nautiyal has demonstrated success in patents, licensing and commercialization and has produced technologies that have brought, or aspire to bring, real impact on the welfare of society.
“Pranjal has been an outstanding postdoc, working on multiple projects and producing exciting and novel results, mentoring students, helping write proposals that we have successfully secured, and contributing to teaching and creating laboratory experiences for courses,” says Robert W. Carpick, John Henry Towne Professor in Mechanical Engineering and Applied Mechanics. “He has a bright future, and I’m delighted to see his hard work and creativity be recognized by these two awards.”
Before starting at the University of Pennsylvania, Nautiyal studied Materials Science and Engineering at Florida International University, receiving a doctorate in 2020. Soon after, he decided to switch his area of concentration; his work currently focuses on tribology, or the study of friction, wear and reactions at sliding and rolling interfaces.
“I embarked on the study of lubricants for harsh environments, with a focus on wind energy application. It’s a challenging and multidisciplinary research problem,” says Nautiyal. “It was a hard pivot for me at that time and came with a significant learning curve. Winning the Early Career Award from the Society of Tribologists and Lubrication Engineers reassures me that it was a worthwhile challenge.”
While receiving the Early Career Award affirms Nautiyal’s decision to center tribology, his installment as an NAI Senior Member helps illuminate an ambitious academic future.
“The recognition from the NAI motivates me to pursue translational work. I will forge collaborations with industry colleagues to bridge the gap between fundamental research and technology development,” says Nautiyal. “The participation of academics in innovation and translation has acquired renewed urgency because of the numerous technological challenges we face on our way to decarbonization. I am keen for my future career to have a tangible impact on the development and adoption of sustainable technologies.”
The Society of Tribologists and Lubrication Engineers (STLE) is the premier technical society serving the needs of more than 15,000 individuals and 250 companies and organizations that comprise the tribology and lubrication engineering business sector. The purpose of the STLE Early Career Awards is to assist STLE young researchers and junior-level academic faculty with financial assistance in attending STLE’s Annual Meeting and Exhibition.
The National Academy of Inventors (NAI) was founded to recognize and encourage inventors with U.S. patents, enhance the visibility of academic technology and innovation, encourage the disclosure of intellectual property, educate and mentor innovative students, and to create wider public understanding of how its members’ inventions benefit society. NAI Senior Members are active faculty, scientists and administrators with success in patents, licensing and commercialization and have produced technologies that have brought or aspire to bring real impact on the welfare of society.