Symposium 6: Arun K. Varshneya Festschrift
This Symposium honors Professor Arun K. Varshneya – Educator, Mentor, Scholar, and Entrepreneur. Dr. Varshneya, Emeritus Professor of Glass Science and Engineering at Alfred University and President of Saxon Glass Technologies has dedicated nearly six decades of his life to the advancement of glass science, engineering, and technology. Born in Agra, India, Arun stands on the shoulders of the late Professor Ronald W. Douglas of Sheffield University (UK) for his undergraduate education and of the late Professor Alfred R. Cooper of Case Western Reserve University for his graduate education. Since his first technical presentations at the American Ceramic Society annual meeting in 1966 and at the International Congress on Glass in 1968, he has become one of the more recognized faces among global glass professionals. Arun’s leadership as an educator, mentor, scholar, and entrepreneur is clearly exemplified by many of the achievements that have paved the path for the future generations of glass scientists and engineers worldwide.
As an educator, or “Glass Guru,” Arun is best known for his textbook, Fundamentals of Inorganic Glasses, soon to appear in its third edition. The book combines a rigorous approach to glass science and technology with an accessible writing style, making it an ideal textbook for both upper-level undergraduates and graduate students. In addition to Alfred University, he has taught short courses on glass science and technology in many countries across the globe. He is a very engaging lecturer whose passion for glass science is truly contagious. Students in his classes cannot help but be engrossed in his very interesting and clearly delivered lectures. The “Engineering Operations” senior capstone course, where he taught business skills to the engineers, was truly a great demonstration of Arun’s innovative and trailblazing approach to providing students with a rigorous, yet down-to-earth engineering education. Scores of students have benefitted from his selfless mentoring and advising, often on a personal level, to make life-changing decisions.
As a scholar, Arun and his students have worked and published on topics covering almost every physical property of glass, glass making, and processing. It is no surprise that Encyclopedia Britannica invited him in 1998 to be the guest author of a 13-page entry on “Industrial Glass.” He has around 150 publications and is most cited for his thought-provoking research on glass chemical strengthening by ion exchange.
As an entrepreneur, Arun is a co-founder and president of Saxon Glass Technologies, a company that converts his science and technology of glass chemical strengthening to useful products that benefit mankind. Early development of the strengthening of cell phone display covers was actually conducted at Saxon Glass and Alfred University. The main product of the company, however, is the chemically strengthened borosilicate glass cartridge for the EpiPen, an auto-injection device delivering epinephrine antidote to prevent anaphylactic shock in people suffering from severe, life-threatening allergies such as to beestings, peanuts and shell foods. Before Arun’s involvement with this product, the EpiPen device suffered from an unacceptably high glass fracture rate during administration. With a carefully controlled process, failure of critical medicine delivery due to glass fracture has virtually disappeared in the over quarter billion number of products sold during the past 20 years, all of which were strengthened by his company in Alfred, NY. Arun proudly claims that his staff helps save thousands of human lives each year!
Arun and his wife, Darshana, are also well known for their philanthropy, both locally in Alfred, NY, and throughout the broader glass and ceramics community. They often extend welcome with open arms to guests from overseas visiting Alfred University making them feel comfortable.
John C. Mauro, The Pennsylvania State University, USA, firstname.lastname@example.org
Vijay Jain, Savannah River Remediation, USA, Vijay.Jain@srs.gov