Arati Prabhakar

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Arati Prabhakar
Arati Prabhakar DARPA Aug 2012.jpg
20th director of DARPA
20th Director of the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency
In office
President Barack Obama
Preceded by Regina E. Dugan
Succeeded by Steven H. Walker
10th Director of the National Institute of Standards and Technology
In office
President Bill Clinton
Preceded by John W. Lyons
Succeeded by Raymond G. Kammer
Personal details
Born (1959-02-02) February 2, 1959 (age 59)
New Delhi, India
Citizenship American
Children 2
Alma mater Texas Tech University
California Institute of Technology
Awards IEEE Fellow
Scientific career
Fields Applied physics
Institutions NIST
U.S. Venture Partners
Thesis Investigation of deep level defects in semiconductor material systems (1985)
Doctoral advisor Thomas McGill

Arati Prabhakar (born February 2, 1959) is an American engineer and the former head of DARPA, the United States Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, a position she held from July 30, 2012[1] to January 20, 2017.

She headed National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) from 1993 to 1997, and was the first woman to head NIST.[2][3][4]

Early life and education[edit]

Prabhakar's family immigrated to the United States from New Delhi, India when she was three;[5] her mother was seeking an advanced degree in social work in Chicago. Prabhakar grew up in Lubbock, Texas, from age ten.[1][2] Her mother encouraged her to pursue a PhD from a very early age.[6][7]

She has a 1979 bachelor of science in electrical engineering from Texas Tech University in Lubbock, Texas.[8] She earned a Master of Science in electrical engineering in 1980 and a PhD in applied physics in 1984, both from the California Institute of Technology.[1][9][10][11] She was the first woman to earn a PhD in applied physics from Caltech.[2]


After receiving her PhD, she went to Washington, D.C. on a 1984 to 1986 congressional fellowship with the Office of Technology Assessment.[8] Prabhakar subsequently worked at DARPA from 1986 to 1993, initially as a program manager but later as founding director of DARPA's Microelectronics Technology Office.[1]

At the age of 34, Prabhakar was appointed the head of National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), a position she held from 1993 to 1997.[1][2] After NIST, she was the Chief Technology Officer and senior vice president of Raychem from 1997 to 1998.[12][13] She was then the vice president and later president of Interval Research from 1998 to 2000.[12][13]

She joined U.S. Venture Partners from 2001 to 2011, focusing on investment in green technology and information technology startups.[1] On July 30, 2012, she became the head of DARPA, replacing Regina E. Dugan.[1]

Awards and memberships[edit]

Prabhakar is a member of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers and was named IEEE Fellow in 1997 for "leadership in partnering between industry and government to promote economic growth through the development of manufacturing technologies for semiconductor devices".[12][14] She has also been named a Texas Tech Distinguished Engineer and a Distinguished Alumna of California Institute of Technology.[12]

She was a member of the board of directors of SRI International in 2012,[15] and was also a member of the U.S. National Academies' Science Technology and Economic Policy Board and the College of Engineering Advisory Board at the University of California, Berkeley.[12][16]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g Shachtman, Noah (2012-07-10). "Exclusive: Darpa Gets a New Boss, and Solyndra Is in Her Past". Wired. Retrieved 2012-08-25.
  2. ^ a b c d Holusha, John (1993-08-01). "Profile/Arati Prabhakar; She's Not Just Setting Standards". New York Times. Retrieved 2012-08-25.
  3. ^ Gibbs, W. W. (1995) Profile: Arati Prabhakar – Engineering the Future, Scientific American 272(4), 44–48.
  4. ^ "Directors of the National Bureau of Standards (1901–1988) and the National Institute of Standards and Technology (1988–present)". NIST. Retrieved 2012-08-30.
  5. ^ Joshi, Manoj (2012-07-12). "Delhi-born Arati Prabhakar is new head of US Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency". India Today. Retrieved 2012-08-26.
  6. ^ Olstein, Katherine (Spring 2008). "Family Expectations Spawn Successful Careers". IEEE SSCS News. IEEE. pp. 34–35. Retrieved 2012-08-25.
  7. ^ "Alumni Profile: Arati Prabhakar". Engenious. UC Berkeley College of Engineering. 2011. Retrieved 2012-08-25.
  8. ^ a b "Dr. Arati Prabhakar" (PDF). Efficiency & Renewables Advisory Committee. United States Department of Energy. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2012-09-25. Retrieved 2012-08-25.
  9. ^ "Dr. Arati Prabhakar". The National Information Infrastructure: Agenda for Action. ibiblio. Retrieved 2012-08-27.
  10. ^ Kim, Hyung-Chan (1999). Distinguished Asian Americans: A Biographical Dictionary. Greenwood Publishing Group. pp. 289–292. ISBN 0313289026.
  11. ^ Prabhakar, Arati (1985). Investigation of deep level defects in semiconductor material systems (Ph.D.). California Institute of Technology. OCLC 31089816 – via ProQuest. (Subscription required (help)).
  12. ^ a b c d e "Arati Prabhakar". DARPA. Archived from the original on 2012-08-06. Retrieved 2012-08-25.
  13. ^ a b "Arati Prabhakar". LinkedIn. Retrieved 2012-08-25.
  14. ^ "Women Fellows". IEEE. Retrieved 2012-08-25.
  15. ^ "Dr. Arati Prabhakar Joins SRI International Board of Directors". SRI International. 2012-03-26. Retrieved 2012-03-25.
  16. ^ "Achievements: August 2012". The Institute. IEEE. 2012-08-27. Retrieved 2012-08-25.

External links[edit]

Government offices
Preceded by
John W. Lyons
Director of the National Institute of Standards and Technology
1993 – 1997
Succeeded by
Raymond G. Kammer
Preceded by
Regina E. Dugan
Director of the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency
2012 – 2017
Succeeded by
Steven H. Walker