By John Ikani
United States President, Joe Biden on Wednesday announced the appointment of John Oluseun Dabiri, an American born Nigerian Professor of Aeronautics and Mechanical Engineering, to the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology (PCAST).
“Today, President Biden announced 30 of America’s most distinguished leaders in science and technology as members of PCAST,” the White House statement read.
“A direct descendant of the scientific advisory committee established by President Eisenhower in 1957 in the weeks after the launch of Sputnik, PCAST is the sole body of external advisors charged with making science, technology, and innovation policy recommendations to the President and the White House,” it further stated.
Dabiri will join a group of 30 top scientists and engineers, including Frances Arnold, Caltech’s Linus Pauling Professor of Chemical Engineering, Bioengineering and Biochemistry, on the board, which advises the president on matters involving science, technology, education, and innovation policy.
Accepting the appointment, Dabiri who is the youngest among the 30 members of the council, said he is honoured to have been selected, adding that he will work with other members of the council to ensure that the US benefits from the opportunities available in science and technology.
He said, “The members of PCAST bring a diverse set of perspectives on how we can maximize the benefits of science and technology for the nation. I’m honoured to have the opportunity to work with them and to be able to offer my assistance to the president.”
Let’s look at the profile of John O. Dabiri.
Early life and education
Dabiri was born in Toledo, Ohio to Nigerian parents who migrated to the United States in 1980 in search of green pastures.
His father was a mechanical engineer who taught math at a community college. His mother, a computer scientist, raised three children and started a software development company.
Dabiri had his high school education at a small Baptist high school in Ohio and proceeded to study aerospace engineering from Princeton University and later California Institute of Technology (Caltech)Kopp where he obtained his doctorate degree.
Work and recognitions
Currently a Professor of Aeronautics and Mechanical Engineering at Caltech, Dabiri is an aeronautical engineer who designs next-generation wind turbines with the potential to reduce cost, size, and environmental impacts while maximizing the amount of electricity generated.
His discoveries on the ideal placement of wind turbines were shaped by his cross-disciplinary research into how jellyfish and schools of fish move throughout the ocean efficiently.
Dabiri was awarded the MacArthur “Genius” Fellowship, the Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers, and the Alan T. Waterman Award from the National Science Foundation.
The academic don is a member of the NVIDIA Board of Directors and Trustee of the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation. He serves on the National Academies Committee on Science, Technology, and Law and is Chair of the American Physical Society Division of Fluid Dynamics.