Dr. Purusottam (Puru) Jena, Distinguished Professor of Physics at Virginia Commonwealth University received B. Sc. (Hons) and M. Sc. in Physics from Utkal University, India and Ph. D. in Physics from the University of California at Riverside. After postdoctoral and visiting appointments at State University of New York, Albany; Dalhousie University, Halifax, Canada, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada, Northwestern University, Evanston, and Argonne National Laboratory he joined the Physics faculty of Michigan Technological University, Houghton. He moved to Virginia Commonwealth University, Richmond in 1980 where he has remained ever since with the exception of a year (1986-87) as a Program Director at the Materials Science Division of the National Science Foundation, and a year (2007-08) as a Jefferson Science Fellow and Senior Science Advisor at the US Department of State.
Dr. Jena’s research covers a wide range of topics in condensed matter, atomic, and molecular Physics. These include electronic structure of metals, semiconductors, superconductors, alloys, liquid metals, point and complex defects, surfaces, thin films, atomic clusters, cluster assembled materials, nanoscience, and nanotechnology. His current research involves three major areas: structure and properties of nanoclusters and cluster assembled materials, renewable energy with particular emphasis on hydrogen storage, and spintronics. Dr. Jena is the author of nearly 450 papers including editor of 12 conference proceedings. He has given over 350 invited talks in international conferences and academic institutions in nearly 30 countries around the world.
Dr. Jena’s honors include: Jefferson Science Fellow at the US Department of State, David Hare Professorship lecture at the Indian Association for Cultivation of Science, Kolkata, India; Fellow of the American Physical Society, Outstanding Faculty Award from the State Council of Higher Education of Virginia; University Award of Excellence and Outstanding Scholar Award from Virginia Commonwealth University; and Chair of the Gordon Conference on Metal-Hydrogen Interactions. He has organized more than thirty international conferences and has served as a member of scientific panels for the National Science Foundation, Department of Energy, and Army research Office. He was a member of the Executive Committee that drafted the report on the “Basic Research Needs for the Hydrogen Economy” for the Department of Energy. He has also served on the Virginia Governor’s task force on green energy technologies.