Awarding Success: Professor Ratra named 2012-2013 Commerce Bank Distinguished Faculty
A Kansas State University physicist is being recognized with one of two 2012-2013 Commerce Bank Distinguished Graduate Faculty Awards.
Bharat Ratra, professor of physics will receive the award at the Graduate School commencement ceremony at 1 p.m. Friday, Dec. 7, in Bramlage Coliseum. The awards, which come with a $2,500 honorarium, are supported by the William T. Kemper Foundation and the Commerce Bancshares Foundation. They are coordinated through the Kansas State University Foundation and the president's office.
"For 18 years, Commerce Bank and the William T. Kemper Foundation have joined with Kansas State University to support the Commerce Bank Distinguished Graduate Faculty Awards," said Tom Giller, community bank president of Commerce Bank, Manhattan. "Exceptional instruction breeds student success, and we are proud to help the university honor faculty members who excel in research and the teaching and mentoring of Kansas State University students."
Ratra works in the areas of cosmology and astro-particle physics. He researches the structure and evolution of the universe. Two of his current principal research interests include developing models for the large-scale matter and radiation distributions in the universe and testing these models by comparing predictions to observational data.
In 1988, Ratra and Jim Peebles proposed the first dynamical dark energy model. Dark energy is the leading candidate for the mechanism that is responsible for causing the cosmological expansion to accelerate. The discovery that the cosmological expansion is accelerating is one of the most significant scientific discoveries of the last quarter of a century.
Ratra's research has appeared in more than 80 scholarly publications, which have been cited more than 8,500 times in scientific literature. In the last three years, he has given more than 50 invited presentations around the world. Ratra has received more than $7 million in individual and collaborative grants, largely from the Department of Energy and the National Science Foundation.
Ratra joined Kansas State University in 1996 as an assistant professor of physics. He was a postdoctoral fellow at Princeton University, the California Institute of Technology and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Ratra earned a doctorate in physics from Stanford University and a master's degree from the Indian Institute of Technology in New Delhi.
"I am very honored, humbled and happy to have been chosen to receive the award," Ratra said. "It is reassuring and gratifying that an institution like the Commerce Bank is willing to step up and highlight Kansas State University cosmology research and education."