Remembering ECE Professor Suryadevara Basavaiah

It is with deep sadness that we inform you of the passing of Professor Suryadevara (Basu) Basavaiah. Professor Basu died this past Wednesday due to complications from congestive heart failure. He led a distinguished career as an engineer at IBM for over thirty-three years, and he served with equal distinction on the faculty of the Drexel University Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering for nearly twenty years. He is survived by his wife Vijay, and their son and daughter.

Suryadevara Basavaiah
Suryadevara Basavaiah

The Suryadevara Basavaiah Family Educational Fund was established in 2015 by the Basavaiah family; it provides financial support to undergraduate students in the ECE Department. Students who have received and will receive this scholarship benefit from the generosity of Professor Basavaiah and his dedication to educational excellence.

Professor Basavaiah is also the author of the book “Fighting with destiny: an improbable journey, Munnaluru to Princeton (1938—1962),” in which he recounts his incredible life story. After receiving his Master of Science degree in 1963 from Princeton University, Suryadevara Basavaiah began working at the Drexel Institute of Technology as an Instructor in the Electrical Engineering Department, teaching undergraduate and graduate courses in semiconductor devices, circuits, and electromagnetics. After three years, in 1966, he began his doctoral studies at the University of Pennsylvania, earning his Ph.D. two years later, in 1968, with a thesis on the superconductivity properties of thin films of tungsten.

After earning his Ph.D., Dr. Basavaiah began work at the IBM T.J. Watson Research Center in Yorktown Heights, New York. His career at IBM included significant technical achievements, including pioneering work on Josephson technology, based upon the Josephson effect of supercurrent in superconducting materials, for which Dr. Basavaiah was awarded an Outstanding Contribution Award from IBM.

Even amid his storied career at IBM, however, Dr. Basavaiah found time to come back to Drexel as a visiting professor for a year in 1978-1979, on a sabbatical from IBM. Over those intervening 15 years the Drexel Institute of Technology transitioned to Drexel University in 1970. Dr. Basavaiah retired from IBM in 2001 after working there for thirty-three years.

But instead of marking the close of his career, having made seminal contributions to science and technology, Dr. Basavaiah elected to open a new chapter in his professional life. In 2002 he joined Drexel University’s Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering as a full-time member of the faculty, nearly 40 years after his initial role as an Instructor and 23 years after his sabbatical from IBM.

We in ECE cannot adequately express the gratitude we owe to Professor Basavaiah for serving our students over his many years with the department. His industry experience infused his lectures and courses, granting them a relevance to the real world that those of us who never left the ivory tower could ever hope to achieve. Professor Basavaiah was a gracious and kind colleague, always eager and willing to help the department, the college, the university, and most importantly, our students. Our hearts go out to the Basavaiah family, along with our everlasting appreciation of his collegiality and his dedication to our students.

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