John O. Dabiri, Centennial Professor of Aeronautics and Mechanical Engineering at the California Institute of Technology, has been selected as the winner of the 2020 Alan T. Waterman Award from the National Science Foundation.
Waterman awardees each receive $1 million over five years for research in their chosen field of science. Dr. Dabiri says the funding will allow him to pursue research into some of the ways climate change challenges and threatens modern life. “It enables us to pursue some of our most ambitious ideas,” Professor Dabiri says. “So, what we would like to use this grant to do is to better understand those threats in the ocean and to better help to develop strategies to mitigate those threats.”
Professor Dabiri joined the Caltech faculty in 2005 but left in 2015 to teach at Stanford University. He returned to Caltech in 2019.
Professor Dabiri, the son of Nigerian immigrants, is a 2001 graduate of Princeton University, where he majored in mechanical and aerospace engineering. He earned a master’s degree in aeronautics and a Ph.D. in bioengineering from Caltech.
In the video below, Dr. Dabiri describes his path toward a career in engineering; his research, which takes cues from nature to solve engineering challenges; and the need for greater diversity in science and engineering.