Rajiv Asthana, a professor in the Robert F. Cervenka School of Engineering at UW-Stout, recently received the Albert Nelson Marquis Lifetime Achievement Award by Marquis Who’s Who.
Marquis Who’s Who is a leading publisher of biographical profiles. The award, named after the publication’s founder, recognizes individuals “who have demonstrated leadership, excellence and longevity within their respective industries and professions.”
Asthana, a native of India, earned a Ph.D. in materials engineering from UW-Milwaukee in 1991 and has bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the Indian Institute of Technology. He has taught courses in engineering and technology programs at UW-Stout for 23 years.
He did postdoctoral research at NASA Glenn — then Lewis — Research Center in Cleveland to develop new fiber-reinforced composites. He spent the next four years at NASA developing and perfecting a floating-zone solidification technique to grow fiber-reinforced metals and demonstrating properties superior to the alloys used in jet engines.
Asthana received an award from NASA’s Inventions Board for his technical innovation and a grant from the National Research Council. For a year, he also served as a project scientist on a spaceflight project on alloy processing funded to Northwestern University.
He also worked summers from 2004 to 2014 with NASA Glenn researchers, including a yearlong sabbatical, on joining advanced alloys to new zirconium and carbon-base composites under development for use at ultrahigh temperatures.
Asthana, who lives in Menomonie, frequently involves students in his research at UW-Stout and has served as an adviser on student projects. He oversees the Ceramics and Powder Metallurgy Lab in Fryklund Hall. On a recent day in the lab, he advised several engineering students as they tested the hardness of compressed iron samples.
“The most rewarding aspect of an academic career is the opportunity to share what you know with young minds who can challenge your preconceived notions with a freshness that exposes you to alternative ways of thinking and doing,” Asthana said. “It is also gratifying to be able to participate in a small way in knowledge generation and dissemination functions.”
In addition to his teaching and research, Asthana has been chief editor for the last seven years of Journal of Materials Engineering and Performance.
Asthana published a book on solidification of reinforced metals and has authored and co-authored many professional journal articles in his field. His technical interests include metal-matrix composites and ceramic joining. For his doctorate, he researched carbide-reinforced aluminum composites that he made by impregnating the carbides with molten metals under high pressures.
Rajiv Asthana works with students in the Ceramics and Powder Metallurgy Lab at UW-Stout. / UW-Stout photos by Brett Roseman