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The Global Energy Prize annually honors outstanding achievements in energy research and technology from around the world that are helping address the world’s various and pressing energy challenges.

The Global Energy Prize laureate endows his prize money

The 2015 Global Energy Prize laureate B. Jayant Baliga endows fund for graduate students at Rensselaer using his prize money.

Recall that professor Baliga was selected the 2015 laureate for “the invention, development, and commercialization of the Insulated Gate Bipolar Transistor, which is one of the most important innovations for the control and distribution of energy.” Besides getting the international recognition for outstanding scientific achievement in the field of energy, he also received the monetary prize, which he has used to create an endowed fund for graduate study at Rensselaer.

Jayant Baliga earned his master’s in 1971 and doctorate in 1974 in electrical engineering at Rensselaer. In recognition of the value of the education he received and to enable deserving graduate students to pursue their studies at Rensselaer, he has established the B. Jayant Baliga ’74 Graduate Student Award, which will be given annually to a student in the Department of Electrical, Computer, and Systems Engineering (ECSE). First preference will be given to entering graduate students who wish to pursue a Ph.D. in the area of solid state technology in the ECSE Department, with primary consideration given to a citizen of India who has obtained a bachelor’s degree in technology from an Indian Institute of Technology (which is Baliga’s alma mater).

“- I wanted to find a good way to use the prize money. I remember saying this first time during the 2015 April press conference on the announcement of the Global Energy Prize laureates. Since my graduate school education at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute has been the foundation for my successful career as a scientist and engineer, I decided that a good way to use money is to give  it to the university that allowed me to come to the United States and start my research”, - said Jayant Baliga.

Professor Baliga is an internationally renowned scientist, author of 19 books and over 550 publications, and educator in the field of power semiconductor devices with 120 U.S. patents to his name. He is also a serial entrepreneur having founded four successful companies in North Carolina with venture capital financing. Of his inventions, the most widely commercialized device is the Insulated Gate Bipolar Transistor or IGBT, a power semiconductor device used extensively in compact fluorescent lamps, air conditioners, home appliance controls, robotics, electric cars and bullet trains, and compact defibrillators.

Among his many honors, Baliga was presented the National Medal of Technology and Innovation by President Barack Obama in 2011. He will be inducted into the National Inventors Hall of Fame for his invention of the IGBT in May 2016.

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