Baidurya Bhattacharya, Ph.D., F.ASCE, dean of International Relations at the Indian Institute of Technology, Kharagpur, India, has been named a Fellow by the ASCE Board of Direction.
Bhattacharya’s academic career was launched after he spent some time as an engineer at the American Bureau of Shipping, in Houston. He served on the Civil and Environmental Engineering faculty at the University of Delaware (UD) before returning to his alma mater at Kharagpur in 2006, where he was promoted to full professor in 2011. In his current dean’s role at IIT, he is responsible for setting up academic and research programs with institutional partners around the world.
He has held visiting positions at Stanford and Johns Hopkins, and continues as an adjunct faculty at UD. He has been a speaker at the Frontiers of Engineering series (U.S. National Academy of Engineering) and for eight years was an associate editor of ASCE’s Journal of Bridge Engineering. He was elected Fellow of the Indian National Academy of Engineering in 2016. In addition, as the one-time chairman of civil construction and maintenance at IIT, he was responsible for the planning, design, and construction of 3 million square feet of new space, including three new mini-campuses, for the Institute.
Bhattacharya works on understanding the fundamental constructs of mechanics and how they can be translated into solving engineering problems. His model of random fatigue crack initiation based on stochastic damage mechanics led to new tools for fatigue life assessment. His work on the mechanical behavior of carbon nanotubes (CNTs) and the strength of the interface of functionalized CNTs in epoxy composites and sensors resulted in one of the earliest studies of the fracture toughness of CNTs, the first set of studies on the effect of random vacancies and Stone-Wales defects on mechanical behavior of CNTs and CNT oscillators, the first set of results on the size dependence of strength and stiffness of CNTs, and the first-ever phonon-dynamics-based explanation of heat transport and friction in CNT oscillators.
Bhattacharya’s ongoing work on heat transport in small-scale systems has led to improved understanding of nonequilibrium statistical mechanics, creating three new molecular dynamics thermostats, a steady-state fluctuation theorem, and a new heat pump mechanism.
The application of his knowledge of material degradation, probabilistic modeling, extremal processes, and risk assessment to structural engineering problems has resulted in improved load modeling, damage detection, system identification, seismic reliability analysis, and design guides for prestressed beam-columns, nuclear power plant shells, ships, offshore vessels, and aging bridges. At IIT Kharagpur, Bhattacharya has established the Structural Reliability Research Facility, including a high-performance parallel computing cluster, to support his computational work.
He graduated in 1991 with B.Tech. Honours in civil engineering from the Indian Institute of Technology Kharagpur. The same year, he was awarded the Meyerhoff Fellowship and took up doctoral studies at Johns Hopkins University.