Antarctic trench named for professor, researcher

Wed, 04/02/2014


Jill Hummels
School of Engineering

Distinguished Professor Prasad Gogineni, Director of the NSF Center for Remote Sensing of Ice Sheets, headquartered at KULAWRENCE — A section of Antarctica now bears the name of a University of Kansas professor and alumnus.

The U.S. Board on Geographic Names announced it has registered the “Gogineni Subglacial Trench,” which acknowledges the contributions of School of Engineering Distinguished Professor Prasad Gogineni. The subglacial trench sits in proximity to landmarks with highly recognized names such as the Darwin Mountains and the Queen Elizabeth Mountain Range.

Gogineni leads the NSF Center for Remote Sensing of Ice Sheets, headquartered at KU. The center develops new technologies, such as ice-penetrating radars, and computer models to measure and predict the response of sea level change to the mass balance of ice sheets in Greenland and Antarctica. Gogineni and his research team identified the characteristics of the trench, hidden by ice approximately 3 kilometers thick, that now bears his name.

“Dr. Gogineni is a truly distinguished researcher who has advanced the boundaries of human knowledge,” Chancellor Bernadette Gray-Little said. “One of KU’s missions is to make discoveries that change the world, and Professor Gogineni has been key to advancing that mission. His work is providing new insights in fields vital to understanding our planet, so it is a unique and fitting honor that his achievements will be recognized in this way.”

Gogineni earned his doctorate in electrical engineering from KU in 1984 and after working as a research engineer at KU was hired as a professor in the Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science in 1986. He said he has been involved in research that develops radars and remote-sensing tools to measure various conditions of polar ice since his student days.

“This recognition of Professor Gogineni’s accomplishments is particularly well-deserved,” said Joe Heppert, associate vice chancellor for the KU Office of Research. “Data on ice sheet dynamics collected by the KU Center for Remote Sensing of Ice Sheets research team, which Dr. Gogineni leads, has been instrumental in re-writing our understanding of our polar regions. His years of hard work and innovative research are worthy of a tribute of this magnitude.”

This isn’t the first major honor for Gogineni, who received NASA’s Terra Award in 1998 for exceptional scientific and technical service to the agency and KU’s Louise Byrd Graduate Educator Award in 2002. Later that year, he spent several months in Tasmania on loan as a Fulbright Senior Scholar.

“All of us in the School of Engineering are so proud to hear about this new accolade,” said Dean of Engineering Michael Branicky. “Dr. Gogineni’s legacy isn’t just that his pioneering research has changed what people know about polar ice, but that he’s also led so many KU students to new levels of achievement. As both a KU faculty member and a School of Engineering alumnus, he’s a great example of the excellence KU shares with the world.”

One of the students he advised, Carl Leuschen, now teaches as an associate professor in the EECS department and works closely with Gogineni as deputy director at CReSIS.

“One thing I remember was his willingness to spend long nights in the laboratory to get projects working correctly, whether it be a radar system or a computer simulation,” Leuschen said. “Prasad has been instrumental in advancing radar technology and optimizing systems for remote sensing of ice sheets. His dedication to his work, students and colleagues has enabled us to sound and detect this trench. I am very pleased with him being honored by having the trench named after him as he has made significant contributions to his field.”

CReSIS, which was established in 2005, has made great strides in research and fieldwork concerning changes in ice sheets and their effect on sea level rise. Data collected by the center were instrumental in developing a new highly detailed map of the bedrock of Antarctica. CReSIS data were also instrumental in identifying a mega-canyon buried under miles of ice in Greenland. Portions of the canyon are twice as deep at the Grand Canyon.

KU serves as the lead institution of CReSIS, which is composed of six additional partner institutions: Elizabeth City State University, Indiana University, University of Washington, Pennsylvania State University, Los Alamos National Laboratory, and the Association of Computer and Information Science Engineering Departments at Minority Institutions. CReSIS researchers collaborate with scientists, engineers and institutions around the world.

Learn More

Gogineni Subglacial Trench can be found at 80°41’49”S 155°44’13”E

The KU Center for Remote Sensing of Ice Sheets (CReSIS)


Visit the US Board on Geographic Names's Antarctica Query Form and type: Gogineni Subglacial Trench.

KU in the news
Christian Science MonitorThu, 08/21/2014
Columbia Journalism ReviewThu, 08/21/2014
Did you know the Spooner-Thayer Art Museum was KU’s first art museum? It opened more than 50 years before the Spencer Museum of Art that we know today. Learn more here: Tags: Spencer Museum of Art #KUtbt #TBT #KUdiscoveries #Art #Museum #Gallery #VisualArt Photo credit: University Archives in Spencer Research Library.

#KUstudents : It's time for Rock-A-Hawk! Come out to the Ellsworth/McCollum parking lot. #HawkWeek #ROCKchalk
Poet offers insights to Jayhawk experience through wordplay "Welcome to KU. Where questions rest, in stacks of answers from the past. …" Listen to Topher Enneking, a spoken word poet and former KU football player, as he weaves the experience of KU and its traditions through this storytelling and wordplay performance. Learn more about KU traditions at Welcome to KU. Where questions rest in stacks of answers from the past. Where dreams crawl out of bed And learn to walk Uphill both ways. Where freshmen stand on stilts And hang from the rafters, While the wheat waves In a fieldhouse Where the Phog rolls in Helping us to see Through the past into the future. Haunting hosts giving handouts in a heritage Too heavy to grasp til you add to it. So it may be born anew, Allowing our boots to stand in the ash of oppression’s hate But shine bright as the sun While war cries of warriors past Ring in our ears long after their battles are won. Memorials telling time, “you don’t have to stand still.” Because the top of the world Is just up that Hill. Where our natural history is an awe-struck echo Of world’s fair and equal Past, present and future, prelude and sequel. Where our flags fly above planes. Where we build in chalks that can’t be erased. Stone edifices made to last So you would walk Past their doors, down their halls And let your voice fill their room. Because only in empty silence can destruction loom. So stand tall. Wrap your arms around this crowd Sing our alma mater and sing it out loud. Let your voice sing in chorus and reach other nations Beckoning new Jayhawks to spark new collaborations Because you are the mortar that will hold these walls upright. Your future Your dreams are why Jayhawks did fight For the tradition before you Was merely prelude For what will come next now that you’re at KU.

One of 34 U.S. public institutions in the prestigious Association of American Universities
26 prestigious Rhodes Scholars — more than all other Kansas colleges combined
Nearly $290 million in financial aid annually
1 of 9 public universities with outstanding study abroad programs.
—U.S. News & World Report
46 nationally ranked graduate programs.
—U.S. News & World Report
Top 50 nationwide for size of library collection.
$260.5 million in externally funded research expenditures
23rd nationwide for service to veterans —"Best for Vets," Military Times