Cemalettin Basaran, professor of Civil, Structural and Environmental Engineering and director of the Electronics Packaging Laboratory, aspires to win the Nobel Prize in Physics. What will earn him this recognition is his cutting-edge research that seeks to make electronic packages (the bundles of circuits, connections and bonds in electronic devices) smaller and more efficient. His work demonstrates that, unlike traditional metals, when exposed to higher current density – such as in compact microchips that power small and powerful electronic devices – nano-materials like graphene do not experience friction or heating, which lead to device failure. This research paves the way for smaller, faster, and more powerful electronic devices.
In 1994, Professor Basaran moved to Buffalo, NY, to join UB’s School of Engineering and Applied Sciences. At UB he values the intellectual freedom and administrative support. He also appreciates the student and faculty diversity, which has increased since he began at the university. During his time at the university, Basaran has advised 21 PhD students, all of whom he completely funded and placed in prestigious jobs – a record of which he is proud.
Basaran was drawn to Buffalo by the city’s low cost of living and proximity to the lakes and rural life, of which he takes full advantage. Though surrounded by cutting-edge technology in his laboratory and research, he enjoys spending his free time on either his 117-acre, 19th-century farm – which still uses well water and a wood-burning stove for heat – or in his Lake Ontario cottage with his wife, teenage daughter, rabbit, canary, and chickens.
Basaran was born in Turkey to Libyan parents. A first-generation college student, he came to the United States to pursue graduate studies at MIT on scholarship when he was 25. In a recent interview with The Buffalo News, Basaran explains that he came to the U.S. with $500, “and broken luggage. And one blue jean, one pair of shoes and three shirts.” He was struck by the freedom and opportunity offered by the US, and notes that, as an immigrant, he is able to appreciate this more than a U.S. citizen because “it’s very, very difficult to appreciate the United States if you were born and grew up here. My daughter cannot appreciate it, for example, because she takes it for granted.”