Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, College of Science and Engineering, 2019
Ned Mohan, member of the National Academy of Engineering (NAE), is a world-renowned research scientist and professor in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, College of Science and Engineering. Mohan’s groundbreaking work in the fields of power electronics and renewable energy, his unflagging drive to address issues from climate change to cultural understanding, and his respectful and inclusive manner of teaching, have reshaped the University and the world in myriad ways. In his 43-year career at the University of Minnesota, Mohan has earned a reputation as a pioneering researcher who is adept at raising external funding; a tireless and innovative instructor who treats each of his students as his legacy; and a devoted University and community member who leads by example.
Mohan continues to press for innovation in the field of power electronics, holding 20 patents. At the core of his success is the understanding of the interconnectedness of energy generation, power, and control, to create reliable, efficient, and widely accessible sources of energy. Among the many firsts attributed to Mohan are a current-shaping circuit for supplying power from photovoltaic systems (1978); active filters to supply ripple-free electricity (1979); and an ultra-compact DC-DC converter for aircraft, funded by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) and the University of Minnesota (2003). Mohan has raised over $20 million in external funding, and his more than 300 journal articles have been cited about 26,000 times.
He has received innumerable awards for his outstanding research, chief among them, election to the NAE in 2014 for his contributions to the integration of electronics into power systems and innovations in power engineering education. Mohan received recognition for his impact on the power electronics field as early as 1996, with election as a fellow of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE). In 2010, he received the Utility Wind Integration Group Achievement Award. He was also awarded IEEE’s Ramakumar Renewable Energy Excellence Award in 2012, and its Nari Hingorani FACTS award in 2014.
Mohan is a global leader in the development of educational materials about energy systems and is at the forefront of preparing the next generation of scientists grappling with the challenging questions of power and power electronics. He has initiated a paradigm shift towards interdisciplinary curricula to prepare coming generations of engineers for the monumental challenge of building a sustainable energy system. As author of several widely-used textbooks and founder of the Consortium of Universities for Sustainable Power (CUSP), with 235 United States universities as members, Mohan has significantly modernized energy education. With federal grants, he has developed hardware laboratories that are made available without any financial self-interest to accompany two of his textbooks that are now used in over 100 universities nationally and worldwide. He has prepared 20 graduate level courses that are available worldwide for free. He has mentored 46 doctoral candidates and over 100 graduate scholars, many of whom are leaders in the energy industry or hold chairs at prestigious universities. Mohan’s teaching awards include the Oscar A. Schott Professorship of Power Electronics and Systems (1998), the Morse-Alumni Distinguished Undergraduate Teaching Award (2007) from the University of Minnesota, and the IEEE Undergraduate Teaching Award (2010), and the Award for Outstanding Contributions to Graduate and Professional Education (2014) from the University of Minnesota.
Described as a true servant leader, a visionary, and a globally shining star in power electronics, Mohan is motivated by his belief that access to electricity is a human right. He is committed to the promotion of cultural and interreligious understanding, diversity, inclusivity and religious tolerance. Mohan’s service to his community is commendable. He created the University of Minnesota Center for Electrical Energy (UMCEE) in 1981, and it is among the longest lasting centers at the University. Mohan has served on numerous University committees including the Academic Committee of the India Center Initiative (co-chair), the Scientific Advisory Committee: University Climate Action Plan, the University Sustainability Committee, and the Distinguished McKnight University Professor Selection Committee. He designed and developed hardware labs with funding from the National Science Foundation (NSF) resulting in no financial gain for himself, but significant job creation for the State of Minnesota. He is a board member of the Collegeville Institute’s Multi-Religious Fellows Program, where he has been described as “a brilliant man who is also a humble, tireless force for tolerance, understanding and peace.” He has created numerous online courses that he makes available at no cost, and he delivers lectures and develops class materials for high school teachers to promote understanding and dialogue within their classrooms.