ATCO scientist recognized for contribution to Canadian mathematics
Dr. Vakhtang Putkaradze, ATCO’s Senior Director, Science and Technology, has been bestowed the prestigious 2020 CAIMS-Fields Industrial Mathematics Prize in recognition of his contributions and advancements to the field of applied mathematics in Canada – especially in the theory and application of geometric methods in mechanics, sensors and renewable energy.
“Since joining us in 2019, Dr. Putkaradze has played an integral role in helping ATCO continue to build our legacy of being a future-focused organization made up of creative thinkers,” said George Constantinescu, Chief Transformation Officer with ATCO. “He’s able to straddle the theoretical and applied worlds as he helps push us to be innovative in our project planning and delivery.”
Over the course of his career, the 49-year-old scientist has collaborated with academics, students and industry to provide mathematical insights into industrial problems that apply to energy, fluid mechanics and even figure skating! His work touches upon diverse subjects such as how to manipulate atoms, how polymer molecules interact and move, how to sense gases using nano-hairs, to mechanics of fluids in pipes, to motion of sponges filled with water, to energy harvesting and production. He holds a U.S. patent for a nano-mechanical gas sensor, another U.S. patent for solar energy production using inflatable towers and has published more than 60 scientific papers.
“It’s quite an honour to receive this award and I am thrilled that my knowledge and insights are making a difference with ATCO’s transformation team and in bolstering our corporate strategic priorities of Innovation and Growth,” said Dr. Putkaradze. “I am grateful for the opportunity to contribute to development of ATCO’s competitiveness, and enjoying working with excellent colleagues on the Transformation Team. The SpaceLab framework is a unique, visionary and exciting way of treating the company’s transformation. I am excited to participate in this effort and lead the Science and Technology part of it.”
In the same year as hiring Dr. Putkaradze, ATCO launched its SpaceLab initiative - an enterprise-wide framework of collaborative support for the creative energy of our people and a source of funding and expertise to any ATCO employee with the desire to pursue sustainable new value for the company.
“I wish to offer my sincere congratulations to Vakhtang for this extraordinary and well-deserved recognition, for his lifetime achievements in Industrial Applied Mathematics,” said Nancy Southern, Chair & Chief Executive Officer, ATCO “I am so proud of our Space Lab in ATCO and the expertise that Vakhtang brings to our initiatives. I also wish to commend George Constantinescu for his stellar leadership and foresight in gathering a sterling team, who are contributing through Space Lab, to the ATCO of the future.”
Dr. Putkaradze earned his PhD (1997) in theoretical physics at the Niels Bohr Institute in Copenhagen, Denmark. He subsequently held faculty positions in New Mexico and Colorado State, with his latest academic position being a Centennial Professor of Mathematics and Chemical Engineering at the University of Alberta. He has received numerous prizes at the University, National and International level, including UA Commercialization award, JSPS Senior award, Flaherty Visiting Professorship, and Humboldt Fellowship, in addition to several teaching awards.
The CAIMS-Fields Industrial Mathematics Prize is awarded in recognition of exceptional research in any branch of industrial mathematics, interpreted broadly. The nominee’s research should have been conducted primarily in Canada. This Prize is a high honour to bestow upon an individual, and acknowledges industrial mathematics as a fundamental and vibrant discipline within the research culture of Canada. The Canadian Applied and Industrial Mathematics Society, established in 1979, supports and promotes industrial, mathematical, scientific, and technological advances across Canada.