Prabodh's scholarly focus includes fire science and firefighter safety research, online learning, heat transfer, nanotechnology, and microfluidics.
His research group has received several grants (more than $6 million) from U.S. Department of Homeland Security for fire prevention and safety research. He led a team of NYU researchers on the "Wind-Driven High-Rise Fires" project with Fire Department of New York (FDNY) and National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), which produced revolutionary changes in many of FDNY’s long-established tactics. The new firefighting procedures developed through this research have been implemented by FDNY in several real-life fires in New York City. This research was featured on the cover page of ASME (American Society of Mechanical Engineering) Magazine.
He also led the research that developed an innovative training methodology to disseminate firefighter safety research and to educate firefighters in a most effective manner. This training has been used by more than 80,000 firefighters from all 50 U.S. states and officially adopted by more than 1000 fire departments nationwide. He has been featured on more than 1000 newswires across the globe that include Yahoo, Reuters, United Press International, National Volunteer Fire Council, just to name a few.
Dr. Richard Thorsen is a Mechanical Engineer with a Ph. D. from New York University and is a member of the mechanical engineering faculty. He served as Head of the Department of Mechanical Engineering and then Chair of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering at Polytechnic Institute of New York (now New York University Tandon School of Engineering) from 1974 -1983. During his tenure enrollment in the department increased from 400 undergraduates to 700 and graduate enrollment grew from 200 to 400. Sponsored research increased from $25,000 to more than $2 million annually. He introduced Polytechnic’s first computer-based instructional laboratory.
In 1983 he became Associate Provost for Computing and Information Systems. During the early stages of the PC and Workstation explosion he worked closely with Aerospace and Architectural and Engineering Design companies to lead the University's development of Interactive Computer Graphics and Computer Aided Design (CAD) laboratories and curricula. He won a $3.2 million IBM CAD/CAM grant which enabled introduction of CAD/CAM and VLSI instruction at Polytechnic.
He served as Dean Graduate Studies 1986 - 1992, a position in which he had responsibility for recruiting graduate students and establishing and implementing graduate student policies. The university’s high water mark in graduate enrollment until 2009 (2659) was achieved during this period. In 1992 he became Vice President for Research and Advanced Programs, a position in which he had overall responsibility for the University's research programs and government relations while leading the University's expansion in sponsored research from $6 to $12 million annually. He also had responsibility for maintaining the quality of the University's graduate programs and New York State accreditation of its doctoral programs.
As Vice President for Development and University Relations from 1995 -2006 he had responsibility for representing Polytechnic to its various constituencies for the purpose of enhancing support for the University. He was the director of all major fund raising activities and led the successful $275 million Campaign for Polytechnic - Fulfilling the American Dream, which raised $100 million in addition to the extraordinary Othmer gifts of $175 million.
Dr. Thorsen led Polytechnic’s development of its Strategic Plan for 2004-2007, Securing the Future and had responsibility for its implementation. He also led the University’s brand marketing initiative which led to PolyThinking® and The Power of PolyThinking® and became the foundation of our recent branding and marketing initiative. He led the University’s year long sesquicentennial celebration in 2004 and 2005, raising $700,000 to cover the cost of all events and publications.
As Vice President for Academic Affairs he coordinated the development of the University’s Strategic Plan for 2007-2010, through its adoption by the Board of Trustees in May, 2007. He has been engaged in implementing the transformation of the University’s academic operations, under the leadership of the Provost. Recently he has developed a set of key metrics and indicators regarding critical academic and administrative operations and initiatives. These provide constructive performance feedback and inform management’s strategic decision making.
He is widely published in heat transfer and solar energy literature and has led major government and industry sponsored research projects in these areas. He has been principal Investigator on more than $25 million of sponsored research programs.
He was instrumental in the negotiations which led to the 1973 merger of Polytechnic Institute of Brooklyn and the New York University School of Engineering and Science, and its subsequent successful implementation. In 2007-2008 he played a leading role in the negotiations that led to Polytechnic’s affiliate relationship with NYU and eventual merger as NYU’s school of engineering. He is currently Chair of the Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering Department
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