Dr. Nimal Rajapakse, the Dean of the Faculty of Applied Sciences at Simon Fraser University in Canada, has been a professor in Canada for more than 25 years. He received the Horst Leipholz Medal in 2000 in recognition of outstanding research contributions to engineering mechanics and has made seminal contributions to the mechanics of advanced materials and nano-mechanics. Dr. Rajapakse serves on the editorial boards of five international journals.
At Peradeniya, Dr. Manjriker Gunaratne won the Prof. E.O.E. Pereira prize for the best performance in the Final Examination. He completed a PhD in Civil Engineering at Purdue University. He has conducted research for the US Air Force and NASA. He is a Professor and Chair of the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at the University of South Florida and serves as a Visiting Consultant to the University of Moratuwa.
Dr. Jay N. Meegoda, PE and Fellow of ASCE, is a professor of civil and environmental engineering at NJIT. He uses scientific concepts and engineering technologies in his research to provide sustainable solutions to real-world problems. Dr. Meegoda has worked with state, local, and foreign governments to provide technical input for a broad range of problems. Some of the technologies developed by Dr. Meegoda are now solving problems worldwide. He has published more than 200 papers and reports.
Dr. Kamal Premaratne earned his PhD in electrical and computer engineering from the University of Miami, Florida, where he is currently a professor. He received the 1993 Mather Premium and 2000 Heaviside Premium from the Institute of Electrical Engineers (IEE), London, UK, and the Eliahu I. Jury Excellence in Research Award from the College of Engineering, University of Miami. He has contributed to fusion and resource management in distributed decision and sensor networks, knowledge discovery from imperfect data, and network congestion control. He is a fellow of the IET (formerly IEE) and a senior member of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE).
Anura Jayasumana is a Professor in Electrical and Computer Engineering and Computer Sciences at Colorado State University. He earned his PhD degree in Electrical Engineering from Michigan State University. He is an active researcher in Computer Engineering and has published approximately 250 scientific papers. He was awarded the outstanding graduate student award in Electrical Engineering at Michigan State University and the outstanding faculty member of the year award from Mountain States Council of the American Electronics Association.
Olcott schools, especially Ananda College, have contributed immensely to various innovations in science and technology in the United States and the world. For example, a physicist, Professor Gemunu Gunaratne, from the University of Houston, together with Professor Sunil Wimalawansa, a University Professor and Professor of Medicine at the University of Medicine and Dentistry in New Jersey at Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital in New Jersey, developed an ultrasound-based technology to measure the strength of the bones in the body, which is useful in detecting osteoporosis.
A demonstration of the international impact can also be seen in peer awards and honors granted by major scientific institutions. Founded in 1899, the American Physical Society (APS) has established itself as the prominent membership organization-serving physicists. Election to Fellowship in the APS is limited to no more than one half of one percent of the annual APS membership and is in recognition of outstanding contributions to physics. Dr. Lal Pinnaduwage, of Oakridge National Laboratory in Tennessee, is an APS Fellow, recognized “for his pioneering work in developing micromechanical cantilever-based sensors for detection of explosive vapors.”
Professor Unil Perera of Georgia State University, another Fellow of the APS, has published more than 150 refereed scientific journal articles, including several book chapters, and has edited three books. He has also developed several patented IR detectors, including two types of wavelength-tailorable IR detectors, responding in the atmospheric transparent windows, a room temperature detector for the 3-5 mircon atmospheric windows, and a dual-band detector for simultaneous and separate detection and identification of IR and ultraviolet (UV) radiation. Firefighters need to identify the origin of a fire before extinguishing it with chemicals; they can identify the source by using a simultaneous UV-IR dual-band detector. Different semiconductor materials are used for different wavelength radiation detectors. Using these materials covering various wavelengths is a major advantage in detector development. IR cameras are now used in numerous fields to detect smog, monitor volcanoes, locate skin and breast cancer, and find “hot spots” in forest fires. Prof. Perera is also a Fellow of the Society of Photoinstrumentation Engineers (SPIE) and a senior Member of the IEEE.
Professor Gayanath Fernando at the University of Connecticut works on understanding the properties of electronic and magnetic materials, including high temperature superconductors. His book on metallic multilayers provides technical details to advance the field in developing novel (computer) storage devices. Without a basic understanding of metallic multilayer films, modern computers would not have been able to store huge amounts of data in tiny devices, as they do today.
The area of astrophysics also includes a number of notable contributions from Professor Asoka Mendis, from the University of California, San Diego. He is a renowned space scientist whose pioneering work on dusty plasmas had important astrophysical implications, especially in the field of cometary science.
Professor Duminda Wijesekera, of George Mason University, has implemented patented security protocols in computer software development that enhance information security and allow the secure control of trains. In 2010, Ganidu Nanayakkara Anandian Advanced Level Student was offered the Grand Award (an asteroid 26441/Nanyakkara) at the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair in San Jose, California. Information security and critical infrastructure protection are integral to operational stability.
Prof. Ragunath Weerasooriya, retired from Temple University in Philadelphia, was not only a student at Ananda but also the master in charge of cricket, and taught advanced level chemistry at Ananda before migrating to US. A few other Anandians currently holding key academic positions include Pradeep Gunaratne, Saroj Weeraratne, and Asitha Seneviratne, California, Ananda Gunawardena, Professor of Computer Science, Carnegie-Mellon University, Pittsburg, Pennsylvania; L.S.R. Wijewardena, Professor of Physics, University of Cincinnati, Ohio; Wimal Suaris, Professor of Civil Engineering, University of Miami; and, Ananda Weerasuriya, Professor of Neuroscience, Mercer University, Georgia.
Professor Amitha Wickrema, of the University of Chicago, Illinois, has developed a patented method to determine the number of adult stem cells present in a bone marrow or blood sample. This allows determination of the number of stem cells in a relatively short period, thereby potentially providing valuable information to the physician to make critical decisions to treat blood cancers. Professor Wickrema co-edited the textbook Molecular Basis of Hematopoiesis, which is used heavily in medical and biotechnology education. A Senior Fellow of the Head and Neck Optical Diagnostic Society (HNODS), he is also a member of several editorial boards.
Professor Sunil J. Wimalawansa is a Fellow of several prestigious institutes, including the Royal College of Physicians, Royal College of Pathologists, Ceylon College of Physicians, American College of Physicians, College of Diabetes Specialists, and the American College of Endocrinologists. The first Sri Lankan Professor of General Medicine outside Sri Lanka (1994), and the first Sri Lankan Professor of Endocrinology, Metabolism, and Nutrition (2001), Dr. Wimalawansa, with 14 postgraduate degrees, was the chief of endocrinology, metabolism, and nutrition. In addition to a diploma in Medical Administration at the Johns Hopkins School of Business, he also earned an Executive Masters in Business Administration degree from Rutgers University in 2001, a Doctor of Science degree from Sri Lanka. He has published more than 200 scientific papers, several medical and non-medical books, and holds six medical patents. He has received multiple scientific awards, including several young investigator awards, Dr. Boy Frame International Award for Clinical Excellence in Metabolic Bone Diseases, American Endocrine Society Glen Foundation Awards, and an innovation award from the Asian Chamber of Commerce. He is the founder-president of several charitable organizations, including the International Foundation for Chronic Disabilities; International Foundation for Revitalization, Empowerment, Education and Development; and Hela Foundation, International. He is the chair of the Wimalawansa Education Trust Fund for Needy Children, chair of the Wimalawansa Foundation, and a member of the U.S. National Advisory Council on South Asian Affairs. In 2005, he received a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Sri Lankan Foundation based in California for his contributions to science, humanity, and society, and in 2007, the Dr. Oscar Gluck International Humanitarian Award from the International Society for Clinical Densitometry for his worldwide humanitarian contributions. His recently developed a novel, highly cost-effective method to purify contaminated water for drinking that is applicable for millions of people worldwide.
H.B. Karunaratne, is a Senior Attending Cardiologist at Florida Hospital, Orlando, and is the Vice President of the Florida Heart Institute and the Director of Cardiology Research. Previously he was a Professor of Cardiology at the University of Chicago, Illinois.
A.A.W. Amarasinghe was a psychiatrist attached to the Medical College of Georgia, and a Gulf War veteran retired from the US Army as a Colonel. He earned the National Defense Service Medal, Army Reserve Components Achievement Medal, Meritorious Unit Citation, and a Southwest Asia Services Medal from the US Army. Dr. Jaliya Lokuketagoda, former attending Neurosurgeon at the Emory Clinic and Emory University Hospitals, and an instructor in Neurosurgery in the Emory University School of Medicine, divides his time between Atlanta and Colombo, serving both Sri Lankans and Americans.
Colonel Olcott’s far-reaching vision of establishing Buddhist schools spawned a resilient, self-replicating process, and a torch was lit in the century past. The offspring of Ananda have carried that torch. Some paved the way for Sri Lankans with affordable electricity, transforming the lives of millions. Others have invented infrared devices for the citizens of the world to see light where none was visible to the unaided eye. Yet others contributed to saving countless lives otherwise lost to cancer, heart attacks, osteoporosis, and such. In the near future, these disparate technologies will merge in further betterment of our lives. The torch is passed to the next generation of Ananda College students to continue the great tradition set forth by Colonel Olcott. The current generation is living up to the expectation, as evidenced by the recent international awards received by the current generation of Ananda students.