Prof. Vijay K. Dhir is a highly acclaimed scientist known for his pioneering work in fundamental and applied engineering and research. A distinguished professor of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering department at the University of California, Los Angeles, Prof. Dhir heads the Boiling Heat Transfer Lab and has been a part of several crucial research projects. In 2011, his nucleate boiling research project became the first UCLA-led project aboard the International Space Station.
He is a recipient of numerous prestigious accolades including the Max Jakob Memorial Award from American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME). In 2018, IIT Kanpur conferred upon him the prestigious Distinguished Alumnus Award for his academic excellence.
“You have to work hard to accomplish something tangible. Then if you work hard, don’t worry about the rewards, they will come.”
Born and raised in India, Prof. Dhir obtained his Bachelor of Science from Punjab Engineering College, Chandigarh in 1965 and an MTech from IIT Kanpur in 1968. Following it, he went abroad for higher studies and obtained his doctoral degree from the University of Kentucky in 1972. In 1974, he joined the Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering at the University of California, Los Angeles, as a faculty. From 1988 to 1991, Prof. Dhir served as a vice chair of the department and later as a chair of that department from 1994 to 2000. In July 2001, he was appointed as the school’s associate dean and in March 2003 took over as the Dean of the UCLA Henry Samueli School of Engineering and Applied Science.
Prof. Vijay K Dhir’s prime areas of research have been microgravity heat transfer, two-phase heat transfer, thermal hydraulics of nuclear reactors and soil remediation. At the Boling Heat Transfer Lab at UCLA, he has done some pathbreaking research to understand the complex process of boiling to design cooling systems for spacecraft and for systems on earth. He has been a part of some very crucial experiments, for instance, in a NASA research program, he led a team of expert researchers to study the effects of microgravity on boiling. The experiments conducted aboard NASA’s KC-135 parabolic aircraft brought forth a completely new aspect of the physics of boiling that has helped the scientists worldwide to better understand the process of boiling in microgravity. In 2011, his nucleate boiling research project became the first UCLA-led project aboard the International Space Station. He also co-devised an innovative method of removing high heat fluxes from power amplifier chips.
Prof. Dhir’s pioneering work has won him several prestigious awards and honors. In 2004, he was felicitated with the prestigious Max Jakob Memorial Award and therefore was inducted into the University of Kentucky’s Engineering Hall of Distinction. In 2006, he was elected to the National Academy of Engineering (NAE), the highest professional honor accorded to an American engineer. “I am humbled and thrilled to be included in such incredible company,” he said. He has authored 350+ papers published in journals and proceedings of conferences. From 2000 to 2005, he served as a senior technical editor for the ASME Journal of Heat Transfer. He continues to be on the advisory boards of several journals. As a consultant, he has helped many reputed organizations including GE Corporation, Rockwell International, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission and the Los Alamos and Brookhaven National Labs.
Besides numerous research accolades, Prof. Dhir has made a significant contribution towards society through his innovative outreach initiatives to encourage high-school students to pursue careers in science and engineering. In 2016, the Henry Samueli School of Engineering and Applied Science UCLA created Vijay K. Dhir Chair in Engineering to honor contributions to the university. He received an honorary Ph.D. in Engineering from the University of Kentucky, Lexington and a Lifetime Achievement Award at the ICCES conference.
Awards and Honors
John J. Guarrera Engineering Educator of the Year Award, 2013.
Member of the National Academy of Engineering, 2006.
Fellow and honorary member of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME).
Technical Achievement Award of the Thermal Hydraulics Division of ANS, 2005.
Max Jakob Memorial Award from ASME, 2004.
Donald Q. Kern award from the American Institute of Chemical Engineers, 1999.