Friday, March 25, 2022

Spotlight on Padma Prabodh Varanasi, recipient of the 2022 Samuel Rosen Memorial Award

We are delighted to announce that Dr. Padma Prabodh Varanasi is the recipient of the 2022 Samuel Rosen Memorial Award. This award recognizes an individual who has made a significant advancement, cumulative advancements or application of surfactant chemistry principles. The award commemorates more than 40 years of Samuel Rosen’s work as an industrial chemist on the formulation of printing inks. Milton J. Rosen initiated and sponsored the award.

About Padma Prabodh Varanasi

Padma Prabodh Varanasi

After receiving a master’s degree in chemical engineering from the Indian Institute of Technology in Chennai, Dr. Varanasi began his Ph.D. in chemical engineering at the State University of New York-Buffalo. It was there that he was first exposed to the field of surfactants and interfacial phenomena. Soon after graduating, he joined the corporate research labs of S.C. Johnson & Son (SCJ). 

At SCJ, he worked extensively in the areas of interfacial phenomena and transport phenomena. His research produced several innovative technologies that have since played a critical role in the development of new products across different business sectors, including home care, air care and insect control. His work was recognized by SCJ through 14 worldwide R&D technical merit awards over a span of 20 years. He left SCJ in 2008 as a research fellow — a prestigious role only held by three others in the company’s history until then. 

He joined SPX as R&D director in its power transformer business where he focused on the development of innovative insulation materials for power transformers. Dr. Varanasi joined BASF in 2011 to lead its home care and I&I technical group. In 2014, he became the head of development for both home and personal care groups. Currently, he is in charge of its industrial formulators' technical group. 

His research work over the course of his career has led to around a total of 100 patents and publications. He also mentored several researchers who later went on to excel in other industrial roles and academia.

Can you tell us about your current research?

My current research is focused on finding novel applications for BASF's surfactants and water soluble polymers in the areas of bioenergy, construction and agricultural formulations.

What was your reaction when you learned you had won the award?

When I received the email, I ignored it as I assumed that it must be spam. Only a few days later, I received a congratulatory note from our vice president, which surprised me. I was humbled to be recognized alongside so many great scientists that I admire.

How has AOCS helped develop your career?

It helped me tremendously in enhancing my knowledge of surfactants and interfacial phenomena and their vast number of industrial applications. Further, AOCS annual meetings provided me with an opportunity to meet so many great scientists and to learn from them on how different important market needs are addressed technically through development of novel technologies.

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