Kurt Becker receives the Polytechnic Medal for commitment to scholarship, entrepreneurship and research

Kurt Becker headshot over gradient image

The Polytechnic Medal was created to commemorate the values that have made the School of Engineering a home to innovation and opportunity since its inception in 1854. The medal’s inscriptions allude to the noblest goals of engineers and engineering: bringing technology to society and ensuring that their work respects the primacy of nature while pushing the bounds of human achievement. 

This year, Kurt Becker, Professor Emeritus, received the medal engraved with Commitment to Scholarship, Entrepreneurship and Research, all aspects that Kurt represented and helped further during his time at NYU Tandon as a Professor of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering; Professor of Applied Physics; Vice Dean of Research, Innovation and Entrepreneurship; interim Department Chair of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering,
and many other formal and informal roles. 

Becker is an international expert in the areas of the experimental and theoretical study of electron-driven processes in plasmas, and was part of a group of pioneering scientists who determined the ionization cross sections for atoms and molecules, which are critical to understanding the charge carrier formation in plasmas. He is also well-known for microplasmas or plasmas generated and sustained at atmospheric pressure. His interest and expertise in advancing technology transfer and IP commercialization also drove his long-term leadership of Tandon’s Institute for Invention, Innovation, and Entrepreneurship. 

This September, Tandon hosted a one-day symposium celebrating physics, engineering, and innovation in Becker’s honor, Electron-driven Processes: From Single Collisions to High-Pressure Plasmas, featuring a wide range of esteemed speakers, including Katepalli Sreenivasan, NYU Tandon Dean Emeritus, and others from the U.S. and Europe who covered topics ranging from advancements in cancer treatment to the power of science diplomacy to bridge global divides.