Honorary Doctorates of Technology 2016

The Aalto University schools of technology will confer honorary doctorates on eleven eminent persons in the fields of science, technology and society.

The persons to be awarded Honorary Doctorates in Technology are as follows:

  • Professor Pedro Echenique
  • Professor Nader Engheta
  • Academician Riitta Hari 
  • Professor Akira Isogai
  • Ilkka Kivimäki, MSc (Tech)
  • Vuorineuvos Matti Lievonen (Vuorineuvos is a Finnish honorary title)  
  • Professor Emeritus Yukitaka Murakami
  • Professor Pei Gang
  • Brigadier General (Engineering) Kari Renko
  • Professor Magdalena Salazar Palma
  • Professor Mirja Salkinoja-Salonen
  Professor Pedro Echenique, University of Basque Country

Professor Pedro Echenique is a scientist specialising in solid-state physics. He has been awarded several scientific prizes for his discoveries in the theoretical prediction of surface image electronic states of solids. He has served in several significant positions in the Basque Autonomous Community. Today, he is professor of condensed matter physics at the University of the Basque Country and chair of the Donostia International Physics Center. His contribution to the cooperation between Aalto University and the University of the Basque Country has been significant, and he has done a great deal to advance the research exchange between our universities over the past 30 years.

  Professor Nader Engheta, University of Pennsylvania

Professor Nader Engheta is the originator of optical metatronics, i.e. metamaterial-based optical nano-circuitry in which properly designed nanostructures function as "lumped” optical circuit elements, such as optical capacitors, optical inductors and optical resistors. These elements are the building blocks for the metatronic circuits, which operate with light. The concept, having been recently verified and realised experimentally by Engheta and his research group, provides a new circuit paradigm for information processing at the nanoscale. Professor Engheta has collaborated with the Helsinki University of Technology and Aalto University since the 1980s and has substantially promoted research cooperation between the universities.

  Academician Riitta Hari      

Aalto Distinguished Professor and Academician of Science Riitta Hari was director of the multidisciplinary of Low Temperature Laboratory’s (later the O.V. Lounasmaa Laboratory) Brain Research Unit at the Helsinki University of Technology and Aalto University from 1982 until 2014. She has pioneered the use of time-resolved magnetoencephalography, which has provided insights into different aspects of brain function in both healthy subjects and patient groups. Her research interests include systems-level human neuroscience and brain imaging, with a focus on dynamical aspects of perception and action. Recently, she introduced “two-person neuroscience” to the study of the brain as the basis for social interaction. Riitta Hari is also a foreign member of the US National Academy of Sciences.

  Professor Akira Isogai, University of Tokyo

Professor Akira Isogai from the University of Tokyo is currently one of the most prominent scientists in the field of cellulose chemistry. Based largely on his and his colleagues’ work, oxidized nanofibrillated cellulose (NFC) has become a hot topic in material research and has opened up great business opportunities for the forest industry. Professor Isogai has significantly contributed to NFC research at Aalto University, and in the last few years Helsinki (including Aalto University and VTT) has become a leading centre of nanocellulose research, with an annual output of more than 100 scientific papers on nanocellulose.  In his acceptance speech at the MWP Award Ceremony, Professor Isogai cited the mutual benefits of his group’s student exchanges and research collaboration with Aalto University, saying that it had opened the doors for broader levels of international exchange with his group at the University of Tokyo.

  Ilkka Kivimäki, MSc (Tech)

Ilkka Kivimäki, today chair of the board for several corporations, graduated from Helsinki University of Technology in 1994.  He is a serial entrepreneur with over 20 years of experience in running high-growth technology companies and one of the founding members and former chair of the Startup Foundation and the Slush Conference. The Startup Foundation, together with its Slush Conference, Startup Sauna and Startup Life programmes, was established for Aalto students, entrepreneurs and startup investors and has brought the visibility of Finnish entrepreneurship to a completely new level, leading to significant growth in entrepreneurial activities in Finland. As co-founder of Wicom Communications, Kivimäki ran the company as CEO until it was acquired by SAP AG in 2007. After serving as senior vice president at SAP AG for three years, he joined Startup Sauna as an angel investor and the head coach of the company. His present work as partner at the investment company Inventure focuses on the rapid growth and internationalisation of early-stage investment companies. Kivimäki is also one of the founding members and vice president of the growth group of medium-size companies as well as a member of the Team Finland steering group led by the prime minister.

  Vuorineuvos Matti Lievonen

Matti Lievonen, President of Neste Oil since 2008, earlier served for several years at Stracel in France as Technology Manager and at UPM-Kymmene Corporation as President of the Fine and Speciality Papers Division, as well as in a number of other senior positions 1986–2008. His work with Aalto University in promoting the development of pure transportation fuel and his work in the nationally important strategy of developing liquid transportation fuels as a source of renewable energy is of great importance.  The cooperation between Neste and Aalto University in developing renewable biofuels, which have proved competitive in both technology and business at the international level, is of high importance.

  Professor Emeritus Yukitaka Murakami, Kyushu University

Professor Emeritus Yukitaka Murakami’s research interests have involved strength of materials, metal fatigue, fracture mechanics, hydrogen embrittlement, stress analysis and tribology.  His contacts with Helsinki University of Technology dates back to 1992 when he visited Otaniemi for the first time. Since then he has lectured on numerous occasions at Aalto and served as host, advisor and examiner for numerous Aalto doctoral students as well as facilitating a significant number of exchanges between Aalto University and Kyushu University for MSc, DSc and post-doc researchers. Professor Emeritus Murakami retired from his position as the Special Advisor to the Director of the International Institute for Carbon-Neutral Energy Research at Kyushu University and the Director of the Research Center for Hydrogen Industrial Use and Storage at Japan’s National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology. Prof. Murakami was awarded the Wöhler Medal in 1998 by ESIS (European Structural Integrity Society) and the Paul Paris Gold Medal at ICF13 in Bejing in June 2013 in recognition of his outstanding contribution to the field of fatigue and fracture for the past several decades.

  Professor Pei Gang, Tongji University   

Professor Pei Gang took office as Tongji University’s 25th President in 2007. From May 2000 until then he had served as President of the Shanghai Institutes for Biological Sciences, of the Chinese Academy of Sciences.
Professor Pei’s research focuses mainly on the signal transduction of G-protein coupled receptors, their regulation mechanisms, and GPCS-related diseases. He has published more than 100 research papers in leading international journals, been invited to speak at many international conferences and symposia and received many academic honors. Professor Pei’s close cooperation with Aalto University has led to the development of a partner Design Factory at Tongji University, the Tongji on Tracks -student cooperation as well as establishment of the Tongji Lounge at Aalto University Campus. He has also been the initiator of the joint Aalto-Tongji training programme at the Shanghai International College of Design and Innovation.

  Brigadier General (engineering) Kari Renko

Brigadier General (Engineering), Chief Engineer of the Finnish Defence Forces and Deputy Chief of the Defence Forces Logistics Command, MSc Kari Renko, graduated from Helsinki University of Technology in 1987, where he continued as a researcher until 1992.  Throughout his career in the Finnish Defence Forces, he has been strongly engaged in the planning and management of research in aeronautical technology. His scientific work in managing the fatigue of military aircraft structures has resulted in cost savings to the Finnish Air Force of hundreds of millions. For over 20 years Renko has strongly promoted research collaboration between the Finnish Defence Forces, Helsinki University of Technology and Aalto University in the fields of aircraft structures, flight mechanics and fluid dynamics as well as in such areas as the application of operations analysis to the challenging problems of aeronautical engineering and to the modeling and simulation of flight. The ongoing collaboration has led so far to over 60 scientific publications and four doctoral degrees in the field of systems and operations research.

  Professor Magdalena Salazar Palma, Carlos III University of Madrid

Professor Magdalena Salazar Palma is at present Professor of the Department of Signal Theory and Communications at the Carlos III University of Madrid, Spain and Co-director of the Radiofrequency, Electromagnetics, Microwaves and Antennas Research Group. She has extensive research experience in a number of areas, including electromagnetic field theory, advanced computational and numerical methods for the analysis and design of microwave and millimeter-wave passive components and antennas. She has been an active player in cooperation with Helsinki University of Technology and Aalto University since 2001, giving numerous lectures and acting as opponent in several dissertations and as assessor in the recruitment process of professors of radio science and engineering. This close cooperation has led to several joint publications and research visits.

  Professor Mirja Salkinoja-Salonen

Professor of Microbiology, Mirja Salkinoja-Salonen, has been an active and successful member of the research group of Building Physics at Aalto University for several years. She has been very active in a research project that analyzes the quality of indoor air by developing new methods for detecting and measuring impurities, and in directing several master and doctoral thesis on the same theme. Together with the Building Physics group she has been developing a new device for sampling indoor air, which is now in the invention disclosure phase. Mirja Salkinoja-Salonen is also currently engaged in the planning and search for funding for several new national and international cooperation projects. Internationally renowned Salkinoja-Salonen has been nominated, as the only Finn, as a Fellow member of the American Academy of Microbiology.


Page content by: | Last updated: 21.09.2016.