Anil Virkar, University of Utah Distinguished Professor of Materials Science and Engineering, will receive a career award from his alma mater, Northwestern University, for his contributions in developing ceramic materials for use in energy conversion and storage applications.

Virkar, who has been with the U for 42 years, will receive the Distinguished Career Achievement Award for Alumni of Materials Science and Engineering at Northwestern University during a ceremony on May 20 in Evanston, Ill.

“I’m very excited about it and very honored,” he said about the award.

Virkar received a degree in metallurgical engineering from the Indian Institute of Technology in Mumbai in 1967 and a master’s in engineering mechanics from Louisiana State University. He earned a doctorate in materials science at Northwestern in 1973. It was shortly after that he arrived at the University of Utah as a post-doctoral fellow. He has remained in Utah since.

“This is what I wanted to do,” he said about eventually becoming a U professor and staying in Utah. “The university and our department had a great reputation. I had a good job and the weather was good too. It’s amazing how things work out the way they do.”

Virkar’s research focuses on fuel cells, batteries, multi-species transport as well as past work on the fabrication of ceramics. He has published more than 250 papers and has more than 40 patents to his credit. He also has co-founded several companies, including Salt Lake City-based Materials and Systems Research Inc., and Colorado-based Versa Power Systems, which produces solid oxide fuel cells.