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ASU professor inducted into European Academy of Sciences and Art

ASU Professor Samuel Ariaratnam at smiles next to a sign reading "European Academy of Sciences and Arts."

Samuel Ariaratnam was inducted into the European Academy of Sciences and Art, an interdisciplinary and transnational network that promotes scientific and societal progress. Photo courtesy Samuel Ariaratnam

July 27, 2023

This spring, the European Academy of Sciences and Arts, or EASA, inducted Arizona State University Professor Samuel Ariaratnam to its ranks for his exceptional contributions to the technical and environmental sciences field. As a member of EASA, Ariaratnam, the construction engineering program chair in the School of Sustainable Engineering and the Built Environment, part of the Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering at ASU, joins 2,000 leading scientists, artists and executive professionals honored by the academy.

“I feel very honored to have been elected,” says Ariaratnam, the Sunstate Chair of Construction Management and Engineering in the Fulton Schools. “The interdisciplinary aspect of the academy gives me a lot of connections with accomplished researchers in Europe and other parts of the world. If I'm looking at transnational work across a variety of engineering, arts and science fields, those contacts will be beneficial.”

The academy, which includes 37 Nobel Prize laureates, extends membership to those who have achieved and sustained academic excellence in a specific field. As a member of EASA, Ariaratnam consults, conducts research and raises awareness of underground utility infrastructure issues with other learned society members across Europe.

"In Dr. Ariaratnam, the School of Sustainable Engineering and the Built Environment has a global ambassador whose reputation and impactful work transcends geographical boundaries,” says Ram Pendyala, a professor of civil engineering and the school's director. “Sam has worked tirelessly to break down barriers and connect scholars and industry across the world. It is absolutely fitting that his body of work and professional leadership is recognized through induction into the EASA. The School of Sustainable Engineering and the Built Environment is fortunate to have Sam in its midst and congratulates him on this well-deserved honor.”

Drawing on more than 30 years of construction industry and academic experience, Ariaratnam says he strives to better society through underground utility infrastructure engineering. He names the installation and rehabilitation of sewer and water pipelines as a pressing problem.

For example, Ariaratnam emphasizes the need to replace septic systems with gravity sewers in regions of North America. However, he acknowledges that there are even greater engineering needs abroad.

“Think about developing countries and their need for roads and utility infrastructure,” Ariaratnam says. “We take it for granted that we can just turn on our tap and have clean water.”

In addition to his EASA membership, Ariaratnam is also part of the National Academy of Construction and the Canadian Academy of Engineering, as well as a distinguished member of the American Society of Civil Engineers, a fellow of the Canadian Society for Civil Engineering and a fellow of the International Society for Trenchless Technology. In March 2022, he was appointed to the U.S. Department of Transportation Gas Pipeline Advisory Committee by Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg. He has also served on two U.S. National Academies study committees.

“As engineers, our charter is to help advance society,” Ariaratnam says. “It doesn't matter what type of engineer you are — we should strive for the betterment of all.”

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