Prof. Kuzhikkalail M. Abraham, a pioneer in the development of rechargeable lithium and lithium ion batteries, was honored with the Academic Excellence Award at New England Choice Award gala at Westin Hotel in Waltham, MA on Nov. 15, 2019.
Berklee College of Music President Roger Brown, who has promoted Indian music and encouraged Indian musicians through scholarships, was among the other seven Indian American achievers from a variety of fields and a non-profit organization who were awarded the prestigious New England Choice Awards 2019.
About 400 entrepreneurs, corporate executives, philanthropists, educators and community leaders attended the New England Choice Awards gala. INE received over 350 nominations for these awards. A jury of 12 individuals selected the final winners. Click here to meet the 2019 judging committee.
The work Prof. Kuzhikkalail M. Abraham and his research team carried out in late 1970s and early 1980s contributed to the demonstration of one of the first practical rechargeable lithium battery and helped transform Li-ion batteries from a laboratory curiosity to a technology indispensable for everyday life today.
He is also inventor of the ultrahigh energy density non-aqueous lithium-air battery which is under development in many laboratories around the world and has been subject of thousands of journal publications and many symposia in lithium battery meetings world-wide.
“When I started my career forty three years ago, rechargeable lithium battery was a mere laboratory curiosity,” Prof. Abraham said. “Fast forward four decades, they have become household items which we cannot live without as they power all the mobile devices essential for everyday life. I have the extreme satisfaction that I have been able to contribute to the practical realization of this very important technology. I also have the satisfaction of training and educating young colleagues and students in the lithium battery field, and they are now carrying on the work and contributing to the future growth of this important technical field.”
Recalling his past, Dr. Abraham said, he grew up in a modest middle class family in a village in Kerala as the oldest of nine children. College education was not something most young people in that part of the country thought about. “Two close family members inspired me in different ways to become successful. My maternal grandfather with whom I spent a lot of my early life encouraged me to study hard and achieve the highest education I could. Another person who was very important in my early life was my uncle (father’s younger brother) who provided financial assistance for me to attend college. I am pleased that I have been largely able to live up to their expectations.”
The simple principles he uses in his everyday life, Dr. Abraham said, “Firstly, whatever work I am involved with, try to do the best job I can. Secondly, success is not measured by the number of tasks a person starts, but by the number of tasks the person completes. These principles have allowed me to sustain a relatively long work life with enjoyment and with technical and financial success.”
The important thing is to recognize the mistake and figure out what has occurred, Dr. Abraham said. “This happened to me in an experiment my colleague and I were conducting. We recognized that the unexpected results were due to an error in the experimental procedure, but characterizing what had happened led to the invention of the Lithium-air battery, the highest energy density battery presently known.”
“New England Choice Awards has become one of the important platforms to showcase the rewarding work done by Indian Americans in New England and those who contribute to enrichment of our community. It is great to see the bar get raised every year,” INE MultiMedia, a non-profit organization, that organized the event, said