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SUNY names Oswego’s Alok Kumar a Distinguished Teaching Professor

OSWEGO — The State University of New York has recognized Oswego physics professor Alok Kumar as a Distinguished Teaching Professor, one of the SUNY system’s highest honors.

Alok Kumar
Alok Kumar

Kumar was one of only eight faculty in the system approved by the SUNY Board of Trustees as earning a distinguished honor in professorship, teaching or service announced by SUNY on Nov. 10.

Kumar is an internationally recognized scholar and teacher, a distinguished translator of ancient texts and a historian of the evolution of medieval science.

He has been honored internationally by peers for his numerous contributions to teaching, and has served as a principal investigator on many research projects that have advanced the science of physics.

He has been an ardent advocate for the inclusion of non-Western perspectives on science in the teaching of all sciences, not just physics. He is considered a world-class authority on the development of science and mathematics throughout antiquity, particularly among the ancient Hindus.

Kumar and co-author Scott L. Montgomery’s 2015 book, “A History of Science in World Cultures: Voices of Knowledge,” published by Routledge, traces the origins of European scientific “discoveries,” demonstrating that many derived, at least in part, from much earlier work in China, India, Persia, Babylonia and other cultures.

That work followed his 2014 book, “Sciences of the Ancient Hindus: Unlocking Nature in the Pursuit of Salvation.”

His effective approach to teaching consistently challenges and engages students, and he has received superlative reviews from current and former students. Kumar is known as an extraordinarily productive member of the SUNY Oswego faculty who regularly teaches full course loads that include as many as four unique preparations, often for courses in the first iteration.

Kumar joined the SUNY Oswego family in 1992. He holds a Ph.D. from Kanpur University in India, with his master’s and bachelor’s degrees from India’s Meerut University.

“He sets a fine example for others through tireless service, award-winning performance as a master teacher, advisor and mentor,” SUNY wrote in its release. “He truly contributes to the ongoing success of the SUNY Oswego mission.”

Since the program’s inception in 1963, SUNY has appointed 1,070 faculty to the distinguished ranks, as follows, including these most recent appointments: 375 Distinguished Professorships; 311 Distinguished Service Professorships; 379 Distinguished Teaching Professorships; and 5 Distinguished Librarian Professorships.

“For each distinguished faculty member, there is a story of an individual who pushes the boundaries of what was thought possible in research, or of someone who has influenced greater thought leadership on a national or international level,” said SUNY Chancellor Nancy L. Zimpher. “These are some of our brightest minds, and they are also some of our greatest teachers. I am proud they are a part of the SUNY family. My congratulations to this year’s honorees.”