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Sivananthan honored at White House as "Champion of Change"

29 May 2013

Prof. Siva SivananthanProf. Sivalingam (Siva) Sivananthan of the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC) has been honored at a White House ceremony as one of 11 Champions of Change -- immigrant innovators and entrepreneurs who are helping to create American jobs, grow the U.S. economy, and make America more competitive.

Sivananthan, a UIC alumnus, Distinguished Professor and Director of the Microphysics Laboratory (MPL) at the Department of Physics at UIC, was recently named a Fellow of SPIE. He was honored for his contributions to the development of II-VI photovoltaic materials, and received the award on 1 May at the SPIE Defense, Security and Sensing symposium in Baltimore.

He is also the founder of the high-tech, Bell Labs-styled incubator, Sivananthan Laboratories, Inc., based in Bolingbrook, IL. Born in Sri Lanka, Sivananthan is a world-renowned physicist as well as a successful entrepreneur in creating advanced military infrared night-vision technology, which has also served as the platform for ground-breaking, next generation solar cells. To that end, he helped found InSPIRE (the non-profit Institute for Solar Photovoltaic Innovation, Research, and Edu-training), whose mission is training Illinois's workforce and exciting Illinois undergraduate and high school students to create a renewable energy and solar eco-system in Illinois.

"Immigrants have long made America more prosperous and innovative, and the Champions we are celebrating today represent the very best in leadership, entrepreneurship, and public service," said US Chief Technology Officer Todd Park. "We are proud to recognize these leaders who work every day to grow our economy, advance science and technology, and support their home communities."