SBASSE Faculty Receives Penn State College of Engineering 2020 Early Career Recognition Award
Dr. Muhammad Faryad, Chair and Assistant Professor at the Department of Physics, Syed Babar Ali School of Science and Engineering (SBASSE), has been recently awarded the 2020 Early Career Recognition Award by the Department of Engineering Science and Mechanics (ESM) at Penn State.
This award recognises ESM alumni who have graduated in the last 10 years and have distinguished themselves in academia, industry, government or the military. What sets Dr. Faryad apart is the fact that he is the first recipient of this award who resides outside the United States.
“It makes me really happy because the award was given to me by my alma mater, where I was taught and mentored by great teachers during my formative years. Also, it puts Pakistan in a positive light on the international map,” says Dr. Faryad.
A passionate teacher and researcher, Dr. Faryad’s research focuses on computational physics with applications in optical sensors, solar cells, and photonic crystals. The award pays tribute to his contributions in research and outreach activities for optics in organising workshops and conferences for researchers, and his assistance in establishing SPIE chapters at Quaid-i-Azam University and LUMS. It also recognises his work done after COVID-19, in which he has led two committees at LUMS in formulating policies for online education and research activities, and how to adopt teaching methodologies to be more suitable for online learning.
Dr. Sabieh Anwar, Dean, SBASSE, LUMS, who is also one of individuals to have nominated Dr. Faryad for the award, said, “What strikes out the most to me about Dr. Faryad is his idea that a scholar and researcher far from pursuing his career, aims higher - to spread knowledge, and doing so with quality, finesse and passion. He is an author, communicator, science populariser, professor, learner, and researcher, all packed into one and we are lucky to have him.”
Dr. Faryad joined the LUMS faculty in 2014 after a two-year postdoctoral appointment within ESM. He is a senior member of the international society of optics and photonics (SPIE) and the Optical Society of America (OSA), and a member of the American Physical Society (APS). He was awarded the Gallieno Denardo award by the Abdus Salam International Center of Theoretical Physics (ICTP) and the International Commission on Optics (ICO) in 2019 for contributions to the research, education, and outreach in optics. He is a lifetime Penn State Alumni Association member and received the organisation’s Dissertation Award, the highest distinction awarded to Penn State doctoral graduates, in 2012. He is also a section editor of the International Journal of Light and Electron Optics (Optik) since 2016.
Talking about the research environment at LUMS, he states, “I can categorically say that if I had come back to any place other than LUMS, I would not have received this award. There are three simple reasons, one, when I came back there was a generous start up grant to support my research, and to support my PhD students and research assistants. Secondly, there has been generous financial support to travel to international conferences every year. And thirdly, there have been brilliant and competent students available to work with me in my research. These three things make LUMS the ideal place for someone who comes from abroad to contribute to teaching and research to his or her full potential,” adds Dr. Faryad.