Hall of Fame Member Biographies

Ramachandra (Rama) Ramakumar, Ph.D.

Dr. Rama Ramakumar was born in India and received his undergraduate degree in Electrical Engineering in 1956 at the age of 19 from Madras University, India, securing the first rank in the state with three prizes and two medals. He went on to finish his master's degree in 1957 from the Indian Institute of Technology, Kharagpur, India. He immediately started his teaching career at age 20, but in 1959 left to pursue a Ph.D. Degree at Cornell University, Ithaca, New York which he received in 1962 on a Technical Cooperation Mission (TCM) scholarship. Subsequently he traveled back to India to resume his teaching career at the Coimbatore Institute of Technology, Coimbatore, affiliated to the University of Madras.

In January 1967, he was offered a position at Oklahoma State University, Stillwater, Oklahoma. What started as a 16-month visiting appointment turned into 52 years of successful continuous service at OSU's School of Electrical and Computer Engineering. Dr. Ramakumar was elevated to the rank of Professor in 1976, and in 1987 was appointed as Director of the OSU Engineering Energy Laboratory, in addition to being a Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering. In October 1991, he was named the PSO/Albrecht Naeter Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering. He served as the Interim Head of the school twice—1994-95 and 1996-97. In 2008, he was honored as a Regents Professor for his academic accomplishments in the field of renewable energy, alternate energy sources, energy conversion and system reliability.

Over the past 103 semesters and 51 summers at OSU, Dr. Ramakumar has taught over 4000 undergraduate and graduate students in 30 different courses, mentored 18 Ph.D. and numerous MS level students. During his tenure at OSU, he received over two million dollars in grants and contracts for his research work and other activities associated with the Engineering Energy Laboratory.

Dr. Ramakumar's research interests are in renewable energy, energy conversion, power engineering, energy storage, engineering reliability and the utilization of alternate energy sources to improve the human living environment in developing countries. His work has been documented in over 250 technical papers in various technical journals, transactions, and national and international conference proceedings. He is a co-awardee of 4 U.S. Patents, and has contributed chapters in four books and sections in eleven handbooks in the areas of energy and power. His textbook entitled Engineering Reliability: Fundamentals and Applications was published by Prentice Hall in 1993. It has been adopted by more than 20 institutions around the world. He co-authored a monograph entitled Control and Operation of Grid-Connected Wind Farms–Major Issues, Contemporary Solutions and Open Challenges, published by Springer in 2016.

As the Director of the OSU Engineering Energy Laboratory, Dr. Ramakumar hosts the annual Frontiers of Power Conference in Stillwater which is now in its 51st year. He also organizes Energy Information Dissemination Programs and the 49th edition was conducted in May 2018. These two outreach programs bring together academics and practicing engineers from around the world to discuss the challenges and solutions for the electric utility industry.

Dr. Ramakumar contributes actively to the Power and Energy Society (PES) of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) with affiliation dating back to 1962. He served as the Chairman of the Awards Committee for the PES Technical Council until 2011. He is the past Chairman of the Energy Development Subcommittee of the Energy Development and Power Generation Committee (EDPG) of the IEEE/PES. Dr. Ramakumar is the Chairman and Organizer of the IEEE Working Group on Renewable Technologies which was elevated to a Subcommittee in 2010. As a member of the Power Engineering Education Committee, he chaired its Awards Subcommittee and the Fellows Working Group. In addition, he is a member of several Committees and Subcommittees. At present, he is serving as the Chairman of the Renewable Technologies Subcommittee of the EDPG. His other affiliations include the American Society for Engineering Education, American Solar Energy Society, International Solar Energy Society and Oklahoma Society of Professional Engineers. He was an editor of the IEEE Transactions on Energy Conversion and co-edited the special issue on Wind Energy is 2006. Dr. Ramakumar was elevated to the rank of IEEE Fellow in 1994 for contributions to renewable energy systems and leadership in power engineering education. Presently he is a Life Fellow of IEEE and member of the honorary societies Sigma Xi and Eta Kappa Nu. He is listed in Who's Who in America and several other listings.

He was the recipient of the Halliburton Outstanding Faculty Award from the OSU College of Engineering, Architecture and Technology in 1992 and the university-wide Burlington Northern Foundation Faculty Achievement Award in 1993. He was elected as the Outstanding Electrical Engineering Professor by the Omega Chapter of Eta Kappa Nu in 1975 and received the Oklahoma Society of Professional Engineers' Outstanding Engineering Achievement Award for the development of the Field Modulated Alternator in 1972. Dr. Ramakumar received the Distinguished Service Award from the EDPG Committee of the IEEE/PES twice – in 1999 and 2008 and the Distinguished Service Award from the Tulsa Section of the IEEE in 2016.

Representing OSU, Dr. Ramakumar co-organized and served as the International Coordinator and presented Keynote Addresses for 9 different International Conferences in 4 institutions in India over a period of 10 years (2009-2018). He was the only expert from the US invited to present a talk entitled "Integrated Renewable Energy Systems–Microgrid (IRES-MG) for Sustainable Development" at the Expert Group Meeting (EGM) on "Potential of renewable energy options in off-grid areas in Africa: Importance of mini-grid energy systems" organized by the International Center for Science and High Technology of the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (ICS-UNIDO) in Trieste, Italy, in 2012.

At OSU, he established the Frontiers of Power–Bill Hughes Scholarships and the Ramakumar Family Energy Scholarshipearmarked for students passionate about renewable energy and plan to dedicate his or her work for the advancement of the energy industry. In IEEE-PES, he established the IEEE Power and Energy Society Ramakumar Family Renewable Energy Excellence Award in 2011 to be presented annually to an outstanding member of the IEEE community who is dedicated to renewable energy.