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Ashok Gadgil awarded National Medal of Technology and Innovation – Berkeley Engineering

November 22, 2023

Educating leaders. Creating knowledge. Serving society.
President Biden today presented distinguished professor emeritus of civil and environmental engineering Ashok Gadgil with the National Medal of Technology and Innovation, the nation’s highest honor for technological achievement.
This medal, bestowed at a White House ceremony honoring America’s leading innovators, recognizes Gadgil for “providing life-sustaining resources to communities around the world. His innovative, inexpensive technologies help meet profound needs, from drinking water to fuel-efficient cookstoves. His work is inspired by a belief in the dignity of all people and in our power to solve the great challenges of our time.”
Gadgil was among 12 laureates to receive the National Medal of Technology and Innovation, which was last awarded by the White House in 2015. First awarded in 1985, the medal aims to highlight the importance of technological innovation and inspire future generations of American innovators.
Gadgil, who is also a retired faculty senior scientist at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, is widely considered to be a “humanitarian inventor.” For decades he has worked to create low-cost, inclusive and robust solutions to some of the developing world’s most challenging problems.
Gadgil is best known for inventing safe drinking water technologies — including UV Waterworks, a low-cost, portable and energy-efficient water purifier, and ECAR, an advanced arsenic removal technology — as well as fuel-efficient cookstoves. His many engineering solutions have proved transformative for low-resource communities and have helped more than 100 million people across four continents. One of his more recent projects included setting up an arsenic treatment system for a small, rural community in California.
Over the years, Gadgil has mentored numerous researchers pursuing impactful R&D careers. He directed a national laboratory research division, a binational clean water-energy technologies research organization and a university development impact lab addressing global poverty. Gadgil also developed and taught courses in development engineering at UC Berkeley.
Gadgil is the Andrew and Virginia Rudd Family Foundation Distinguished Chair in Safe Water and Sanitation and was recently named the 2023 R&D Leader of the Year. His current research focuses include computational fluid dynamics of indoor air and pollutant flows and building energy efficiency.
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