Penn scientist Nader Engheta has been awarded the 2023 Benjamin Franklin Medal, the country’s oldest comprehensive science and technology award.
Engheta, H. Nedwill Ramsey Professor in Electrical and Systems Engineering, is among nine laureates recognized by The Franklin Institute of Philadelphia for outstanding achievements in science, engineering, and industry.
Engheta received the medal in Electrical Engineering for his work in “engineering novel materials that interact with electromagnetic waves in unprecedented ways, with broad applications in ultrafast computing and communication technologies,” according to The Franklin Institute’s announcement.
“As a scientist and a Philadelphian, I am deeply honored and humbled to receive the Franklin Medal,” Engheta told Penn Today. “It is the highest compliment to receive an award whose past recipients include some of my scientific heroes, such as Albert Einstein, Nikola Tesla, Alexander Graham Bell, and Max Planck. I am very thankful to the Franklin Institute for bestowing this honor upon me.”
The Franklin Institute Awards Program was created in 1824 to honor the legacy of Benjamin Franklin, and it has since recognized over 2,000 scientists in fields ranging from chemistry to computer science. The selection committee considers nominees from all over the world, and the evaluation process typically takes at least two years.
In 2022, Perelman School of Medicine professors Drew Weissman and Katalin Karikó received the Benjamin Franklin Medal in Life Science. The award recognized their research on the use of mRNA delivery systems to prevent infectious diseases, which laid the foundation for the modified mRNA technology in COVID-19 vaccines.
The 2023 laureates will be honored at a ceremony at the Franklin Institute on April 27.
“This award recognizes Dr. Engheta’s trailblazing advances in engineering and physics,” Penn Engineering Dean Vijay Kumar told Penn Today. “The swift and sustainable technologies his research in metamaterials and mechatronics offers the world are the result of a lifelong commitment to scientific curiosity. For over 35 years, Nader Engheta has personified Penn Engineering’s mission of inventing the future.”