Kurt Becker is the Vice Dean for Research, Innovation, and Entrepreneurship at the NYU Tandon School of Engineering and a Professor of Applied Physics and Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering. Prior to joining NYU in 2007, he was on the faculty of Lehigh University (1984-1988), the City College of CUNY (1988 – 1997) and Stevens Institute of Technology (1997 – 2007). At Stevens, he served as Head of the Department of Physics and Engineering Physics (2000 – 2007) and he was Associate Director of the Stevens Center for Environmental Systems (2003 – 2007). He earned a MS and PhD degree from the Universität des Saarlandes, Saarbrücken, Germany in 1978 and 1981, respectively.
As a physicist, Becker worked extensively in the area of low-temperature plasma physics and technology and published more than 230 papers in peer reviewed journals. He pioneered the field of microplasmas and holds numerous US and international patents on the stabilization of atmospheric-pressure plasma and their technological applications, particularly in the areas of environmental remediation and biomedicine. He was involved in two startup companies that commercialized this technology, one of which was acquired by Stryker Instruments in 2005.
Becker is a Fellow of the American Physical Society, a Fellow of the National Academy of Inventors, and the recipient of the Dr. Eduard-Martin Prize for Excellence in Research from the Universität des Saarlandes (1982), the Thomas Edison Patent Award (2001), the SASP Erwin Schrödinger Medal (2010), and the New York City & State Sustainability and Environmental Impact Award (2017). He also holds an honorary Professorship at the Leopold Franzens Universität Innsbruck, Austria.