USA: President Bush Awards Ford Researcher National Medal Of Technology
President George W. Bush today presented Ford Motor Company researcher Dr. Haren Gandhi with the National Medal of Technology for his work developing automotive exhaust catalyst technology. The ceremony took place in the White House East Room.
Gandhi joins past winners including Bill Gates, the founder of Microsoft; Steve Jobs and Stephen Wozniak of Apple Computer; Edwin Land, the inventor of instant photography and Wilson Greatbatch, the inventor of the cardiac pacemaker.
The National Medal of Technology is the highest honor bestowed by the President of the United States to America's leading innovators.
This marks the first time a researcher for Ford Motor Company, or any automotive manufacturer, has won this prestigious award.
Gandhi received the award for his work in shaping the automotive exhaust catalyst industry from its very beginning and continually pushing to improve the quality of the air we breathe.
Ford Motor Company leadership congratulated Gandhi for winning the National Medal of Technology.
"Haren Gandhi is the epitome of what this company stands for -- building great cars and trucks, and passing along a stronger business and a better world to future generations," said Bill Ford, chairman and CEO. "All of us at Ford salute his outstanding achievement. Haren has made the world a cleaner and better place for all mankind."
Dr. Gerhard Schmidt, vice president of Research and Advanced Engineering, is Haren Gandhi's supervisor and seconded the congratulations.
"Haren is a visionary, a leader, and an example to others in his organization – who must strive hard to reach his level of dedication and excellence," said Schmidt. "His efforts and his success show that research can make a significant difference in the world -- we are so very proud of him."
In winning the award, Gandhi was cited for his work to reduce the use of precious metals in the automotive industry, including his research into conservation measures such as recycling spent converters and technological advances in precious metal utilization.
"This is quite fantastic and exciting to receive an honor that most scientists and engineers can only dream of," said Gandhi. "I am very proud to be associated with a great automotive company like Ford that allowed me to carry out fundamental and applied research that eventually led to cutting-edge technology for eliminating vehicle emissions."
Gandhi joined Ford Motor Company in 1967. Since then, he has distinguished himself in leading-edge research, development, and implementation of automotive exhaust catalysts at Ford's Scientific Research Laboratories.
Among Gandhi's many scientific contributions is the development of the monolithic three-way catalyst, a discovery that has revolutionized the way the automotive industry approaches emissions control.
Gandhi has also conducted pioneering research in the areas of catalysts for alternative fuels, oxygen storage components in three-way catalysts, poisoning of automotive catalysts, and novel catalyst formulation strategies.
His work has resulted in more than 70 technical publications and more than 40 U.S. patents in automotive exhaust catalysis and related areas.
"Over the last 37 years I have been provided with the tremendous support of dedicated and talented scientists, engineers, and resources to lead the effort in making automobiles virtually emissions free," said Gandhi. "Today with pride we can say that the emissions from U.S. automobiles are reduced by more than 96 percent compared to the 1960's. The journey from the 60's to today has been a very rewarding experience."
Presently Gandhi carries the title of Ford Technical Fellow - the highest rank of scientist or engineer in Ford Motor Company. His responsibilities include overseeing virtually all of Ford's research and development efforts in the area of automotive exhaust catalysis.
Many of the advances in catalyst technology he has commercialized at Ford have subsequently been adopted throughout the industry, setting him apart as one of the most influential persons in the history of automotive exhaust catalysis.
Nowhere are the fruits of Gandhi's efforts more apparent than his contributions to the efficient and wise use of the precious metals - platinum, palladium, and rhodium - that are the key active components of automotive exhaust catalysts.
These strategic and expensive metals catalyze the conversion of pollutants - hydrocarbons, carbon monoxide and nitrogen oxides - to harmless carbon dioxide gas, water vapor, and nitrogen gas.
At each stage in the evolution of automotive catalyst technology, Gandhi's research has suggested ways of optimizing these metals to the particular application at hand, always cognizant of constraints placed by factors such as engine control technology, fuel quality, and lubricant composition.
His research led directly to the commercialization of Palladium/Rhodium catalyst technology (in place of the traditional Platinum/Rhodium catalysts) in 1989 and Palladium-only catalyst technology in 1994, both with tremendous cost savings and performance benefits relative to earlier formulations.
More recently, he has directed additional improvements in catalyst technology that allow substantial reductions in the amount of precious metal required and balance the use of the precious metals with their global availability.
These efforts, combined with career-long efforts to promote recycling of precious metals from high-mileage spent catalytic converters, have laid the basis for a sustainable world supply of precious metals for future generations. To this end, Gandhi has played a leading role in improving the quality of the air we breathe today while ensuring a clean-air endowment for the future as well.
Gandhi received his B.S. in Chemical Engineering from the University of Bombay in 1963, and his M.S. and doctorate degrees in Chemical Engineering from the University of Detroit in 1967 and 1971, respectively.
He has received numerous honors throughout his career including Chemical Engineer of the Year (Detroit Section American Institute of Chemical Engineers, 1984), the Crompton Lanchester Medal (Institution of Mechanical Engineers, U.K., 1987), a Ralph Teetor Industrial Lectureship Award (Society of Automotive Engineers, 1988-89), Discover Magazine Award for Technical Innovation (1990), the Exxon Award for Excellence in Catalysis (1992), a National Association for Science & Technology Award (1994), and a PNGV Medal (Partnership for a New Generation of Vehicles) for Technical Accomplishments Government-Industry Teamwork (1997).
In September 2000, Dr. Gandhi was one of a handful of individuals honored as part of a celebration marking 25 years of advanced motor vehicle emission control technology. Specifically, Gandhi was cited by the Manufacturers of Emission Controls Association at a reception at the U.S. Capitol for his "contributions in cleaning the air we breathe." Gandhi is also a member of the National Academy of Engineering.
Gandhi, 62, is married to wife Yellow. They have a daughter Sangeeta and son Anand.
Enacted by Congress in 1980, the Medal of Technology was first awarded in 1985.
The Medal is given annually to individuals, teams, or companies for accomplishments in the innovation, development, commercialization, and management of technology, as evidenced by the establishment of new or significantly improved products, processes, or services.
The primary purpose of the National Medal of Technology is to recognize technological innovators who have made lasting contributions to enhancing America's competitiveness and standard of living. The Medal highlights the national importance of fostering technological innovation based upon solid science, resulting in commercially successful products and services.