Alumnus Charles Thangaraj Named 40 Under 40 Scientists in Chicago

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Charles and his wife at the Halo Awards on October 12 in Chicago, IL.

Electrical and computer engineering (ECE) alumnus Jayakar "Charles" Tobin Thangaraj (M.S. ’06, Ph.D. ’09) received the 40 under 40 Chicago Scientists award at the 2nd Annual Halo Awards on Saturday, October 12 at the Museum of Science and Industry in Chicago, Illinois. The Halo Awards ceremony recognizes scientists for their dedication to translating research into real-world applications that meaningfully impact people’s lives.

Dr. Thangaraj has been honored for his research work on compact and powerful electron accelerators. Thangaraj and his team at Fermilab, America’s premier particle physics and accelerator laboratory, are developing compact and powerful sources of electron beams based on “deep tech” advances in superconductivity and particle acceleration technology. Such accelerators can revolutionize how we clean water, remediate environment, improve roadways, sterilize medical devices, and 3-D print metal parts.

Dr. Thangaraj is currently the science and technology manager at the Illinois Accelerator Research Center (IARC) at Fermilab. He joined Fermilab as a People’s Fellow in 2009, a prestigious position created at Fermilab with the goal of attracting outstanding young scientists. In this position, he works at the frontiers of accelerator science where bold ideas enable discoveries that transform our fundamental understanding of the universe. Thangaraj is passionate about partnership between science, technology and business to solve 21st century challenges in environment, medicine and society. He received both his M.S. and Ph.D. from the University of Maryland, College Park.

On receiving this award, Dr. Thangaraj says, “I’d like to take this opportunity to say thank you to all the innumerable researchers, the outstanding technology teams and the invaluable support staff who dedicate their lives to accelerators and beam physics research. I was fortunate to do my graduate work on the University of Maryland Electron Ring (UMER). UMER is a pioneering machine exploring beams with extreme space charge. Without the world-class graduate training and scholarship in accelerator physics with the finest minds and the amazing opportunity to work at Fermilab, this dream achievement would never be possible.”

While at Maryland, Thangaraj was advised by Associate Research Professor Rami Kishek (IREAP) and former Professor and ECE Chair, Patrick O’Shea, now President of the University College Cork in Ireland.

Published October 17, 2019