AANHPI Heritage Month: An Interview with Jagdish Narayan, FNAI

A graphic with a headshot of Jagdish Narayan with the text “#AANHPIHeritage Month NAI celebrates Jagdish Narayan, FNAI” followed by “The John Fan Family Distinguished Chair Professor, North Carolina State University”.As we celebrate Asian American, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander (AANHPI) Heritage Month, read as Jagdish Narayan, FNAI, the John Fan Family Distinguished Chair Professor at NAI Member Institution North Carolina State University, shares with us his inspiration as an inventor, the value of STEM education, and advice to the next generation of innovators.

Q: What words would you use to describe yourself?
A: Professor of materials science, ECE, and physics , who is engaged in mentoring of undergraduate and graduate students and research innovations related to novel materials, which lead to new products and services for the greater good of the humanity.

Q: What inspired you, and continues to inspire you, to be an inventor?
A: Recent discoveries of Q-carbon, Q-silicon, Q-BN, and diamond related materials, leading record high-temperature superconductivity and ultra hardness, and quantum computing are needed for us to go to a next level and Improve the quality of life.

Q: Why are you passionate about being an innovator?
A: Curiosity to push the frontier, such as our recent discovery of double helix of screw dislocations and its parallel with biological DNA systems, keeps me excited and happy!

Dr. Narayan at the top of Mount Mckinley, Alaska.
Dr. Narayan, FNAI, stands at the top of Mount McKinley, Alaska.

Q: In your spare time, in addition to working in your field, what do you love to do?
A: Walking, exercise, meditation, and art!

Q: What advice do you have for innovators looking to take their innovations from bench to market?
A: You have to reduce the cost of manufacturing of your product with respect to its benefits!

Q: What do you feel the value of STEM education is, especially to young innovators?
A: The STEM education gives you the tools needed to manage all the aspects of your life, ranging from your finances to your health.

Q: What do you feel is the importance of having diverse perspectives in creating innovations that benefit society?
A: Different modes of thinking and paths to solve problems in creating innovations!

Q: What advice would you give your younger self, or young innovators, pursuing a career in research and/or innovation?
A: Never give up, be persistent. When you fail in attaining your goal, redouble your effort and learn from previous mistakes!

Q: What was your journey into the innovation ecosystem?
A: From PhD from UC, Berkeley to Scientist at Lawrence Berkeley National Lab and Oak Ridge national Lab to University Professor at NC State, it has been fun!

Q: How do you feel universities or programs can continue to promote innovative and diverse solutions?
A: University professors need more time for innovative research, currently too much time is spent in funding and managing research projects.

Q: How do you feel institutions can encourage a sustainable and inclusive innovative ecosystem?
A: Reduce the overhead and provide more incentives for innovative faculty members!

Q: What do you feel is the importance of engaging next-generation inventors in the innovation space?
A: Innovation is key to improving the quality of life, therefore next-generation inventors should be more incentives to engage in these endeavors.

Q: What advice would you give to institutions looking to bolster their innovation and entrepreneurship programs for the next generation of innovators?
A: Provide more incentives and improve the faculty reward system, where innovations can be duly recognized.


To read more about Dr. Narayan and his work, visit: https://www.mse.ncsu.edu/people/narayan/