Prof. Udaya Madawala who graduated from the University of Moratuwa in the late 1980s and is now an eminent Professor at the University of Auckland, New Zealand, an inventor, a Fellow of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE), among other achievements; was in Sri Lanka to deliver a keynote address at the IEEE conference and visited the University on 19th December 2018.
After being welcomed by the Vice Chancellor and Dean- Faculty of Engineering, Prof. Madawala addressed a group of staff and students and gave a very motivational seminar on his journey from a UOM student, who considered himself an average undergraduate, not interested in academics to go on to receiving a Commonwealth Doctoral Scholarship in New Zealand – a country he knew only as famous for its particular brand of milk powder and its cricket and rugby teams; and continuing to become an innovative researcher and IEEE Fellow.
He spoke of the difficulties faced by him in leaving his homeland and starting in completely new and unfamiliar surroundings and how he overcame the difficulties. Prof. Madawala also spoke of his PhD study on motors and power electronics – a “brushless, slotless, ironless, sensorless motor”, the models of his inventions, his innovative work on fast start electric lines, energy storage, fast transfer, taming energy, green energy systems and battery management. Patents on his inventions have been sold to world famous companies such as Qualcomm and Apple.
Prof. Madawala went on to give a very interesting presentation on the future of the electric vehicles, changing to wireless, inductive power transfer technology, bi-directional power transfer, dynamic charging – with future plans including an electric recharging lane for motorists, etc.
The University was honored to have one of its own past students, who has achieved so much in his field of academics and inventions, address the staff and students who were present; and appreciates his offer of Scholarships available for high achieving students: one at University of Auckland (UoA) and the other at University of Technology Sydney (UTS); details of which have been posted on the Intranet by Prof Gihan Dias, Director/International Relations.
Prof. Nalin Wickramaarachchi, Dean- Faculty of Engineering whilst thanking Prof Udaya Madawala for finding time to come to UOM, stated how inspired he was by his journey from an insecure PhD student to a eminent researcher.