Arun Majumdar marks a big entry in the Obama White House

Date:   Wednesday , September 30, 2009

In spite of the signs of protectionism in the U.S, there has been a marked entry of Indians in the Obama White House. With nine Indian origin people already working for the Obama adminsitration, the latest entrant is Arun Majumdar, the first Director of U.S. Department of Energy's Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E). ARPA-E is an agency that is tasked with reducing America's reliance on foreign energy supplies, cutting greenhouse gas emissions, and improving energy efficiency.

Majumdar's India-China connections appear to have driven the Obama White House to honour him in such a capacity, considering the two countries to be pivotal in the upcoming energy debate. "He has had a highly distinguished research career in the science and engineering of energy conversion, transport, and storage ranging from molecular and nanoscale level to large energy systems," says the White House. At Berkeley Labs and UC Berkeley, Majumdar helped to shape several strategic initiatives in the areas of energy efficiency, renewable energy as well as energy storage.

An Indian immigrant engineer-scientist, Majumdar opines, "I came to this country as an immigrant, but deeply appreciative and indebted to this nation for welcoming me with open arms. I have received so much. This is my way of stepping up and paying back."

Majumdar's nomination continues the steady march of Indian geeks and academics in the higher echelons of administration. For more than a decade, he has also been the Founding Chair of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers' Nanotechnology Institute. Having been a Graduate in Mechanical Engineering from IIT-Mumbai, Majumdar came to the U.S. in 1985 and received a Ph.D. in Mechanical Engineering from the University of California, Berkeley in 1989.

Also, throwing light upon Indian centric developments in the White House, Sonal Shah (Office of Social Innovation and Civic Participation), Rachana Bhowmick (Special Projects), Aditya Kumar (Special Projects), Anisha Dasgupta (White House Counsel), Pradeep Ramamurthy (Response Policy), Kavita Patel (Policy for the Office of Intergovernmental Affairs and Public Engagement), Shomik Dutta (White House Counsel), Manashi Deshpande (White House Policy) and Taara Rangarajan (Deputy Associate Director) are working in Obama's office holding reputable posts.