The Michigan Engineer News Center

Babak Parviz one of 20 alumni honored with U-M Bicentennial Award

Babak Parviz (MSE PhD EE 97 01; also MS Physics 97) was presented with a Bicentennial Alumni Award for his pioneering technological innovations that improve people’s lives. Babak is one of 20 alumni to earn this award.| Short Read
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IMAGE:  Babak Parviz (MSE PhD EE ’97 ’01; also MS Physics ‘97) receiving his Bicentennial Alumni award at the 2017 Spring Commencement. Photo: Scott C. Soderberg, Michigan Photography

The University of Michigan presented alumnus Babak Parviz (MSE PhD EE ’97 ’01; also MS Physics ‘97) with a Bicentennial Alumni Award for his pioneering technological innovations that augment human potential and improve peoples’ lives. Babak is one of 20 alumni to earn this exclusive award, and one of 10 to accept it at the spring commencement ceremony.

The U-M Bicentennial Alumni Awards were established for the 200th year of the university to highlight the breadth and excellence of recent alumni. Nominees were chosen for their achievements that carry on Michigan’s traditions of intellectual creativity and academic endeavor, of civic engagement, and of national and international service.

Babak is widely recognized for revolutionizing communication technology through advances in optics, self-assembly, and miniaturized electronics. In 2010, two years after developing a bionic contact lens prototype, Babak joined Google and led the Glass project until 2013. He also founded Google’s robotics surgery initiative, which became Verb Surgical, an independent company, and co-founded Google’s Smart Contact Lens program.

Babak joined Amazon in 2014, where he now works as the company’s Vice President. He has received many accolades, including Time magazine Best Inventions of the Year honors in 2008 and 2012, the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers Circuits and Systems Society Industrial Pioneer Award, Design News Golden Mousetrap Lifetime Achievement Award, National Science Foundation Career Award, and U-M College of Engineering Alumni Society Merit Award in Electrical and Computer Engineering.

Read more about the 2017 Spring Commencement ceremony in The Michigan Record and MLive, and about Babak’s accomplishments that led to this award.

Read: Babak Parviz: The Visionary Behind the Glass

This video shows the work of 10 Spring recipients. Babak's segment begins at 6:50.
Babak Parviz
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The electrons absorb laser light and set up “momentum combs” (the hills) spanning the energy valleys within the material (the red line). When the electrons have an energy allowed by the quantum mechanical structure of the material—and also touch the edge of the valley—they emit light. This is why some teeth of the combs are bright and some are dark. By measuring the emitted light and precisely locating its source, the research mapped out the energy valleys in a 2D crystal of tungsten diselenide. Credit: Markus Borsch, Quantum Science Theory Lab, University of Michigan.

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