Ishwar Puri

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Ishwar K. Puri
Ishwar K. Puri at ICFD2011 in Sendai, Japan, Nov 2011.jpg
Ishwar K. Puri at a scientific meeting held in Sendai, Japan in 2011
Citizenship United States of America
Alma materUniversity of California, San Diego
Known forPartially premixed flames, laminar flames, magnetic fluids, nanoscale transport phenomena, mathematical biology
AwardsCanadian Academy of Engineering Fellow
ASME Fellow
AAAS Fellow
Licensed Professional Engineer
N. Waldo Harrison Professor, Virginia Tech
Scientific career
FieldsApplied physics, Molecular simulations, Nanomechanics, Combustion, Heat transfer
InstitutionsMcMaster University
Virginia Tech
University of Illinois at Chicago
University of California, San Diego
ThesisThe structure and extinction of counterflow flames (1987)
Doctoral advisorKalyanasundaram Seshadri
Doctoral studentsIshwar Puri at the Mathematics Genealogy Project

Ishwar Kanwar Puri is an Indian-American and Canadian scientist, engineer, and academic. He is dean of the Faculty of Engineering and professor of mechanical engineering at McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada.[1][2][3][4][5][6][7] He is also the founding academic director of McMaster's Computing Infrastructure Research Centre.[8]


Puri studied at St. Xavier's School, Delhi from 1964-76. Thereafter, he graduated with a B.Sc. in Mechanical Engineering from Delhi College of Engineering of Delhi University, Delhi in 1982. He then completed his M.S. (1984) and Ph.D (1987) degrees in engineering science (applied mechanics) from University of California, San Diego.

Career in engineering science[edit]

Puri's vision for McMaster Engineering has been to invest in excellence by recruiting and retaining the best talent, marshaling resources to help the faculty, staff and students fulfill their capabilities,[9][10][11] recognizing outstanding contributions and innovations, and efficient governance and administration.[12]

Motivated by the need to “prepare students to be flexible in a rapidly changing world and to meet challenges not yet imagined”, in 2019 he announced the most significant transformation in the sixty year history of engineering education at McMaster University through The Pivot, where design thinking, an innovation mindset and entrepreneurship are embedded in all programming.[13] The three pillars of The Pivot are (1) changing the curriculum by seamless, project-based learning experiences, (2) reimagining the classroom by creating purpose-built studio spaces that replace lecture halls, and (3) amplifying experiential learning by offering more extracurricular and research opportunities to students.[14]

His leadership facilitated the first McMaster MOOC, which was launched through Coursera.[15] In partnership with the Faculty of Health Sciences, Dr. Puri initiated the McMaster University's – and first of its kind in Canada – Integrated Biomedical Engineering and Health Sciences Program (IBEHS) that integrates engineering and health sciences, allowing multiple career pathways for graduates in health, engineering and entrepreneurship.[16]

The 2017 ShanghaiRanking's Global Ranking of Academic Subjects[17] ranked the Faculty's civil engineering program 29th in the world, and metallurgical engineering, computer science and engineering, and transportation science and technology programs within the top 75 around the globe.[18]

Prior to his appointment as dean and professor at McMaster, he served as N. Waldo Harrison Professor[19] and Head of the Department of Engineering Science and Mechanics (ESM) at Virginia Tech. He led the ESM program for nine years from 2004 through 2013.

He was a postdoctoral researcher and then an Assistant Research Engineer at the University of California, San Diego from 1987-90. In January, 1990, he was appointed as a Visiting Assistant Professor in the Mechanical Engineering Department at the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC). This was converted to a tenure-track appointment as assistant professor in August, 1991. He was thereafter promoted to the rank of associate professor with tenure in 1994, and to the rank of Professor in 1999.

He continued to serve at UIC as Director of Graduate Studies of the Mechanical and Industrial Engineering programs from 1994–97, and also 1999-2000; as Associate Dean for Research and Graduate Studies from 2000–01, and finally as Executive Associate Dean of Engineering (2001–04). At UIC, he also served on the steering committee of the UIC Institute for Environmental Studies, and helped facilitate several of UIC's micro- and nanotechnology initiatives.

In 2004, Puri moved to Virginia Tech to assume the position of professor and department head of engineering science and mechanics. He helped move that program into new convergences at the intersections of the life and physical sciences, and engineering mechanics, and promoted transformative scholarship, particularly through several new faculty hires in novel and interdisciplinary areas of applied mechanics.[20] These efforts helped the department to be ranked fifth in the United States in the undergraduate engineering physics/engineering science category by U.S. News & World Report in 2012.[21]

As department head, he played a leading role at Virginia Tech in the reoccupation of Norris Hall, where his department was housed, after the tragic shootings initiated by a mentally disturbed student.[22][23][24][25][26][27]


Puri is a fellow of the Canadian Academy of Engineering,[28][29][30] American Society of Mechanical Engineers[31] and of the American Association for the Advancement of Science.[32] He is a licensed professional engineer (P.Eng) registered in Ontario.

In 2014, he was elected by his peers, deans of engineering worldwide, to serve a three-year term on the executive committee of the Global Engineering Deans Council.[33] In 2017, Puri was elected as chair of the Canadian National Council of Deans of Engineering and Applied Science for a two-year term.[34] He has served as Secretary of the American Academy of Mechanics.

In 2010, his alma mater, St. Xavier's School, Delhi, honored him with the Xaverian Excellence Award for his outstanding achievements, pioneering spirit, leadership and public service,[35] and in 2014 the school bestowed upon him its Lifetime Achievement Award for accomplishments in education and research.[36]

Puri was named N. Waldo Harrison Professor at Virginia Tech in 2011.


Puri is the author of over 300 archival and conference publications, reports, and book chapters in the fields of combustion, energy and transport phenomena, thermomagnetic convection and magnetic fluid transport, and the cancer stem cell hypothesis.(Ishwar K. Puri, List of papers)

He has edited a book on the environmental implications of combustion processes,[37] a textbook on advanced thermodynamics engineering,[38] now in its second edition,[39] and another on combustion science and engineering.[40]

Notable Papers[edit]

The structure of triple flames stabilized on a slot burner[41] discusses the structure of a triple flame that contains three exothermic reaction zones which merge at a "triple point" and shows how these zones have different features.

Heat transfer augmentation using a magnetic fluid under the influence of a line dipole[42] describes ferrohydrodynamic convection by examining the relationship between an imposed magnetic field, and the resulting ferrofluid flow and thus temperature distribution.

Mathematical model for the cancer stem cell hypothesis[43] discusses how cancers can occur because of mutations in normal stem cells and presents a predictive mathematical model. It is the first work to show mathematically how repeated insult to mature cells increases the risk of cancer.

Single magnetic particle dynamics in a microchannel[44] illustrates how the collection of magnetic microbeads in a microfluidic flow is influenced by a magnetic field, as well as the particle size, magnetic susceptibility, host fluid velocity and viscosity, and length scale.

Thermal transport across nanoscale solid-fluid interfaces[45] shows how the nanoscale thermal resistance, or Kapitza resistance, is lowered by making a solid-fluid interface more hydrophilic.

Other contributions[edit]

Puri was a founder and mentor of NanoSpin, which was a startup that has developed a cooling system for computers and electronic devices. This cooling system used a liquid dispersion of magnetic nanoparticles to dissipate waste heat.[46][47]

He was invited through the Swiss Leonard Euler Center of the European Research Community of Fluid Turbulence and Combustion in 1998 and 1999 to visit the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology, Zurich. He was an Environmental Fellow in 1993 through the American Association for the Advancement of Science-Environmental Protection Agency (AAAS-EPA) program,[48] and in 1992 he was a NASA/Stanford University Center for Turbulence Research Fellow.

At the University of Illinois at Chicago, he established a European-US consortium to conduct engineering student exchanges at the undergraduate and graduate levels that was funded through the US Department of Education FIPSE program. He has led an interdisciplinary program in engineering ethics.[49] He posts a regular Twitter outreach feed on technical and academic matters.[50]

He serves the profession by organizing workshops and meetings, for instance the 2009 Joint ASCE-ASME-SES Conference on Mechanics and Materials,[51] and conceived the AmeriMech 2012 Mechanics in Biology Workshop series.[52]

His outreach also includes e-seminars on nanotechnology,[53] future energy scenarios,[54] and other emerging issues.[55]

He has been a TEDx speaker.[56][57][58][59][60]

Topical and literary contributions[edit]

Puri writes on issues related to science and academia,[61][62][63][64] and discusses innovation policy and practice.[65][66][67]

However, his first archival publication was neither scientific nor technical, instead it was a collection of poetry written in English and published in 1982.[68][69] A 1984 review of this book of poems, Narcissus Wept, reads, "He has something to say evidently and tries to say it with becoming gravity."[70]


Puri is the eldest child born in 1959 into a Punjabi Khatri family in New Delhi, India where he lived until his early twenties.

His father was Dr. Krishan Kanwar Puri, who retired as Department Head of Chemistry at Delhi College of Engineering, Delhi, and his mother was Dr. Sushila Gaind Puri who retired as Department Head of Anesthesiology at G. B. Pant Hospital,[71] New Delhi. The elder Dr. Puri, his father, wrote his thesis on acetin fats[72] at the University of Münster where he received his Dr. rer. nat. degree. His mother began her career as a pioneering anesthesiologist at Lady Harding Medical College and Hospital in New Delhi.[73]

Before marrying, his parents settled separately in Delhi in 1947 as refugees due to the partition of India. His Puri family origins lie in Ghartal village that is in Gujranwala District, now in Pakistan, and his Gaind family origins are from Pasrur in Sialkot District, also in Pakistan now.

He lives with his wife, Beth Levinson, in Ancaster, Ontario in Canada. Ms. Levinson's Jewish roots run through San Diego, California and Brooklyn, in the United States to Eastern Europe where many of her relatives were consumed and displaced by the Holocaust. They have three children.

Together, the family has established the Ishwar K. Puri and Beth R. Levinson Scholarship that enables the education of an underprivileged girl student through grades K-12 at St. Xavier's School, Delhi in India.


  1. ^ "McMaster University Daily News", April 18, 2013, "Two new deans arriving at McMaster"
  2. ^ "The Hamilton Spectator", April 19, 2013, "Mac appoints two new deans"
  3. ^ "Ken Mann, AM980 Radio", April 18, 2013, "McMaster University names new deans"
  4. ^ April 23, 2013, "Puri to become Dean of Engineering at McMaster University"
  5. ^ September 23, 2013, "McMaster Engineering Dean Rock Climbing", YouTube
  6. ^ "McMaster University Daily News", April 18, 2013, "Academic leaders earn reappointment"
  7. ^ August 17, 2018, "Big Ideas: A clear vision toward cultural change"
  8. ^ "Computing Infrastructure Research Centre, McMaster University: The Team"
  9. ^ CBC News '"$3 million gift to McMaster for new engineering building," Sept. 23, 2013.
  10. ^ CHCH News "McMaster receives $3 million gift," Sept. 23, 2013.
  11. ^ Carmela Fragomeni, Hamilton Spectator, "Funding in place for McMaster engineering centre," Sept. 23, 2013.
  12. ^ About Dr. Ishwar K. Puri, Dean of Engineering, McMaster Engineering website.
  13. ^ The Pivot | Faculty of Engineering, McMaster Engineering website.
  14. ^ The Pivot: Transforming engineering education, McMaster Engineering website.
  15. ^ Experimentation for Improvement by Kevin Dunn.
  16. ^ " New degree combines engineering and health sciences," Nov. 9, 2016.
  17. ^ Global Ranking of Academic Subjects
  18. ^ McMaster Engineering ranked among the world's best
  19. ^ Virginia Tech News, April 6, 2011, "Ishwar Puri named N. Waldo Harrison Professor"
  20. ^ Ishwar K. Puri, ESM State of Department presentation, 2012.
  21. ^ Steven D. Mackay, Virginia Tech's engineering, business colleges ranked among best for undergraduates, Virginia Tech News, September 12 (2012).
  22. ^ Conversation with Steve Inskeep of National Public Radio.
  23. ^ Video by Greg Esposito, Roanoke Times.
  24. ^ L Mary, Grief, Grit & Grace, ASEE Prism, Vol. 17, No. 8 (2008).
  25. ^ Google Books, Lazenby, R. and Cupp, K., April 16th: Virginia Tech remembers, Plume (Penguin Group, USA), 2007. 336 pages. ISBN No. 0452289343.
  26. ^ Greg Esposito, We've never done this before, Roanoke Times, Sunday, August 19 (2007).
  27. ^ Raghu Gaind, No Regrets, Much Love, Good News Parish Magazine (The news magazine for the combined parishes of Eastling and Stalisfield with Otterden, U.K.), October 2007.
  28. ^ Dean Puri inducted as Canadian Academy of Engineering Fellow, McMaster University Daily News.
  29. ^ List of Fellows, Canadian Academy of Engineering.
  30. ^ [CanadianAcademyofEng [@TheCdnAcadofEng] (27 June 2017). "Congrats @ikpuri #FCAE" (Tweet) – via Twitter. ]
  31. ^ 1999-2000 fellows, Mechanical Engineering Magazine.
  32. ^ AAAS News & Notes, accessed October 28, 2005.
  33. ^ General Elections' results for the Global Engineering Deans Council (GEDC) leadership, accessed October 19, 2014.
  34. ^ "Engineering Dean named chair of National Council of Deans of Engineering and Applied Science | McMaster Daily News". Retrieved 2017-05-13.
  35. ^ Dr. Ishwar K. Puri | DOXA Delhi Old Xaverians' Association
  36. ^ The Xavier Lifetime Achievement & Excellence Awards 2014 on 28th February, 2014.
  37. ^ Google Books, Puri, I.K., Ed., Environmental Implications of Combustion Processes, CRC Press, Boca Raton, Florida, 1993. 313 pages. ISBN No. 0–8493–4423–9.
  38. ^ Google Books, Annamalai, K. and Puri, I.K., Advanced Thermodynamics Engineering, Computational Mechanics Series, CRC Press, Boca Raton, Florida, 2001. 818 pages. ISBN No. 0–8493–2553–6.
  39. ^ [1] Annamalai K., Puri, I. K., and Jog, M. A., Advanced Thermodynamics Engineering, Second Edition, Computational Mechanics and Applied Analysis Series, CRC Press, Boca Raton, Florida, 2011. 1142 pages. ISBN 978-1-4398-0572-5.
  40. ^ Google Books, Annamalai, K. and Puri, I.K., Combustion Science and Engineering, CRC Press, Boca Raton, Florida, 2007. 1121 pages. ISBN No. 0–8493–2071–2.
  41. ^ Azzoni Riccardo, Ratti Stefano, Aggarwal Suresh K., Puri Ishwar K. (1999). "The structure of triple flames stabilized on a slot burner". Combustion and Flame. 119 (1–2): 23–40. CiteSeerX doi:10.1016/S0010-2180(99)00047-4.CS1 maint: Multiple names: authors list (link)
  42. ^ Ganguly Ranjan, Sen Swarnendu, Puri Ishwar K (2004). "Heat transfer augmentation using a magnetic fluid under the influence of a line dipole". Journal of Magnetism and Magnetic Materials. 271 (1): 63–73. Bibcode:2004JMMM..271...63G. doi:10.1016/j.jmmm.2003.09.015.CS1 maint: Multiple names: authors list (link)
  43. ^ Ganguly R (2006). "Mathematical model for the cancer stem cell hypothesis". Cell Proliferation. 39 (1): 3–14. doi:10.1111/j.1365-2184.2006.00369.x. PMID 16426418.
  44. ^ Sinha Ashok, Ganguly Ranjan, De Anindya K., Puri Ishwar K. (2007). "Single magnetic particle dynamics in a microchannel". Physics of Fluids. 19 (11): 117102–117102–5. Bibcode:2007PhFl...19k7102S. doi:10.1063/1.2780191. hdl:10919/47654.CS1 maint: Multiple names: authors list (link)
  45. ^ Murad Sohail, Puri Ishwar K (2008). "Thermal transport across nanoscale solid-fluid interfaces". Applied Physics Letters. 92 (13): 133105. Bibcode:2008ApPhL..92m3105M. doi:10.1063/1.2905281. hdl:10919/47417.
  46. ^ Entrepreneurship Challenge Winners Announced, April 11, 2013.
  47. ^ Roanoke Times - The Ticker, April 11, 2013.
  48. ^ Science & Technology Policy Fellowships, Fellows Directory: By Year, 1992-93.
  49. ^ National Academy of Engineering (NAE) Engineering Ethics Opportunities and Resources, GILEE at Virginia Tech.
  50. ^ @ikpuri
  51. ^ Ishwar K. Puri, Conference Chair, 2009 Joint ASCE-ASME-SES Conference on Mechanics and Materials, June 24-29, 2009, Blacksburg, VA, USA.
  52. ^ AmeriMech 2012 Mechanics in Biology, December 10-11, 2012, Blacksburg, VA, USA.
  53. ^ Puri, Ishwar K., Virginia Tech freshman lecture on nanotechnology (2008).
  54. ^ Puri, Ishwar K., Virginia Tech freshman lecture on future energy scenarios (2006).
  55. ^ Emerging Issues in Technology Seminar Series, TCE-Virginia Tech
  56. ^ Ishwar K. Puri, Are our truths true?, TEDxVirginia Tech held in Blacksburg, Va., USA on November 10, 2012.
  57. ^ Virginia Tech: TEDx -- Ishwar Puri on YouTube.
  58. ^ Video: TEDxVirginiaTech – Ishwar Puri
  59. ^ Are our truths true?: Ishwar Puri at TEDxVirginiaTech
  60. ^ our truths true?: Ishwar Puri at TEDxVirginiaTech
  61. ^ Puri, Ishwar K., An assault on scientific inquiry, Commentary in Roanoke Times, Sunday, May 16, 2010.
  62. ^ Puri, Ishwar K., Beware of politics at war with science, Commentary in Roanoke Times, Saturday, September 10, 2011.
  63. ^ Puri, Ishwar K., In defense of flying snakes, Commentary in Roanoke Times, Sunday, May 13, 2012.
  64. ^ Puri, Ishwar, Here comes the ‘Internet of everything' Advanced manufacturing is our bridge from a difficult past to a prosperous future, Commentary in The Hamilton Spectator, Thursday, January 16, 2014.
  65. ^ Appearance on TVO's The Agenda with Steve Paikin, October 1, 2014.
  66. ^ Puri, Ishwar, Use our knowledge economy to create jobs and facilitate renewal, Commentary in The Hamilton Spectator, Saturday, November 1, 2014.
  67. ^ Puri, Ishwar K., Time to transform manufacturing, Commentary in The Hamilton Spectator, Tuesday, March 3, 2015.
  68. ^ cited in S. A. Narayan, The Journal of Commonwealth Literature, Vol. 18, No. 2, 92-109 (1983), doi:10.1177/002198948301800207, Puri, Ishwar Kanwar, Narcissus Wept, Writers Workshop (Calcutta), 1982.
  69. ^ Narcissus Wept, Writers Workshop (Calcutta), 49 pages.
  70. ^ G. Srirama Murty, Review of Narcissus Wept, Triveni, January 1984
  71. ^ G. B. Pant Hospital, Government of National Capital Territory of Delhi
  72. ^ Krishan Kanwar Puri, Über Acetin-Fette, 1955
  73. ^ Dr. M. Mittal, Experiences with ether, 2007

External links[edit]

Academic offices
Preceded by
David S. Wilkinson
Dean of McMaster University Faculty of Engineering
July 1, 2013–present