Suryanarayana was recently ranked 40th among the top 100 researchers of the past decade according to Thomas Reuters, formerly the Institute for Scientific Information. He was selected from a field of 500,000 materials scientists.
Surya – as he’s called by his friends – ranked 21st among U.S. scientists.
“I am happy and humbled,” Suryanarayana said. “It means a lot to me because it is recognition from my peers.”
The 100 researchers named in the listing represent the very best in their fields based on the number of times their research publications have been cited by others, as well as the quality of their own publications.
Suryanarayana, who was fascinated by English literature during his undergraduate studies, almost became an English major. But a couple of science professors convinced him otherwise to the benefit of the science world.
“They convinced me that engineering had better prospects and that materials science was an upcoming area,” he said. “I am happy that I listened to them since I feel that I have a very fulfilling career. There is so much more to learn and discover that I have continued to stay fascinated by my work.”
Suryanarayana has had a distinguished career developing novel materials such as nanostructured monolithic and composite materials, improved intermetallics, and (bulk) metallic glasses. Many of these materials have potential applications in aerospace and other industries.
He has degrees in engineering, metallurgy, math, physics and chemistry. He has published more than 300 academic research papers and more than 20 technical books. Suryanarayana also is a popular educator, taking on several visiting professor invitations at such institutions as Oxford University, Tohoku University in Sendai, Japan, and Helmut-Schmidt University in Hamburg, Germany, among many others.
His proudest moment so far dates back to 1975. Indira Gandhi, the then-Prime Minister of India, gave him the Indian National Science Academy’s Young Scientists Medal, which was reserved for researchers under the age of 30 who have made significant contributions to science, technology, or medicine and hold much potential for the future. Since then, he has earned several other awards including the National Metallurgists’ Day Award of the Government of India and fellowships including the ASM International and the Institute of Materials, Minerals and Mining in London.
Prior to joining UCF in 2001, Suryanarayana worked at the Colorado School of Mines, the Institute for Materials and Advanced Processes at the University of Idaho, as the Senior Associate of the National Research Council at the Wright-Patterson Air Force Base in Dayton, Ohio, and at the Banaras Hindu University. Today he continues his research, teaches and sits on several scientific journals’ editorial committees.
His advice for young scientists is simple.
“I am of the opinion that it takes time for someone to make an impact in any scientific discipline,” he said. “It’s important to work hard and in a sustained manner in one’s own specialization.”