Meet the Nigerian-American appointed by President Biden as Advisor on Science and Technology

John Dabiri, a Nigerian-American aeronautical engineer, has been appointed as a member of President Biden’s council of advisors on science and technology.

The council was revived in 2019 under the administration of President Trump after nearly two years without it. The purpose of the council is to provide recommendations to the presidency on policies that encourage innovations in science and technology in the US.

The council is made up of the brightest minds in diverse scientific fields.

“Drawing from the nation’s most talented and accomplished individuals, President Biden’s PCAST includes 20 elected members of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine, five MacArthur “Genius” Fellows, two former Cabinet secretaries, and two Nobel laureates.

Dabiri, 40, was born to Nigerian immigrant parents in 1980. He is currently a professor of Aeronautics and Mechanical Engineering at the California Institute of Technology (Caltech).

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He recently returned to Caltech after four years at Stanford University, where he was a professor of civil and environmental engineering and of mechanical engineering. He heads the Dabiri Lab, which conducts research at the intersections of fluid mechanics, energy and environment, and biology.

Dabiri holds a PhD in bioengineering and an MS in aeronautics from Caltech. He is a BSE in mechanical and aerospace engineering from Princeton University.

John’s scientific breakthrough is in form of an experimental wind farm that uses an array of intelligently arranged vertical wind turbines to maximize the efficiency of energy production. He achieved this by studying the movement of jellyfish.

The Nigerian-American is a recipient of diverse scientific awards. Among them is the MacArthur Foundation “Genius Grant” in 2010, a Young Investigator Award from the Office of Naval Research and a Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers in 2008.

He was also honoured with the National Science Foundation’s 2020 Alan T. Waterman Award for his exceptional discoveries. 

“John O. Dabiri, PhD, is an aeronautical engineer who designs next-generation wind turbines with the potential to reduce cost, size, and environmental impacts while maximizing the amount of electricity generated.”

White House

The youngest member appointed to the presidential council of advisors, Dabiri expressed honour and added that he will collaborate with other members of the council to make sure that the opportunities available in science and technology are fully optimized by the United States.

“The members of PCAST bring a diverse set of perspectives on how we can maximize the benefits of science and technology for the nation. I’m honoured to have the opportunity to work with them and to be able to offer my assistance to the president.”

John Dabiri


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