Dr. B. Jayant Baliga, Distinguished University Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering and director of the Power Semiconductor Research Center (PSRC) at North Carolina State University, has been inducted into the 2010 class of the Electronic Design Engineering Hall of Fame.
Baliga was honored for inventing the Insulated Gate Bipolar Transistor (IGBT), an energy-saving semiconductor switch that controls the flow of power from an energy source to the application that needs energy.
The device, which Baliga developed while working at General Electric in the 1970s, is used in everything from light bulbs to washing machines to automobiles. The energy saved by the use of IGBTs for running electric motors and in energy-efficient compact fluorescent light bulbs alone equals 100 gigawatts, and due to its use in compact heart defibrillators, the IGBT is also estimated to save 100,000 lives annually.
Baliga’s various power device innovations, including the IGBT, have produced a cumulative carbon emission reduction of more than 30 trillion pounds over the past 20 years, a reduction that effectively canceled out two years’ worth of worldwide human emissions and saved consumers $3 trillion in gasoline and electricity costs.
Electronic Design created its Hall of Fame in 2002 to honor individuals for their landmark career achievements and contributions to electronic engineering. Past inductees have included Bill Gates, Thomas Edison and Steve Jobs. The magazine focuses on electronic design solutions and emerging technologies.
Baliga’s other honors include his 1993 induction into the National Academy of Engineering and receiving the IEEE Lamme Medal in 1999. He has started four companies, holds more than 100 US patents, and is the author of 14 books and more than 500 articles. In 1997, Scientific American named Baliga one of its eight heroes of the semiconductor revolution. He is a past recipient of the University of North Carolina system’s highest faculty honor, the O. Max Gardner Award, which is awarded annually to a faculty member who “has made the greatest contribution to the welfare of the human race.”
Baliga joined the NC State faculty in 1988 and is the founding director of the PSRC, which conducts research on power semiconductor devices and high voltage integrated circuits. He is also a leader within the FREEDM Systems Center, a National Science Foundation-sponsored Engineering Research Center led by NC State that seeks to improve the nation’s distribution and management of power.
He received his bachelor’s degree from the Indian Institute of Technology in 1969 and his master’s and doctoral degrees from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in 1971 and 1974, respectively.