Ukwatte Indika Perera
Thesis Presentation Video

Aditi Govil
Thesis Presentation Video

Congratulations to the 2016 Thesis Prizes Recipients:
Ukwatte L. Indika U. Perera from the Lighting Research Center, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
and Aditi Govil from Parsons

May 19, 2016

The IESNYC Thesis Prize is an annual $1,000 award given to two graduating students whose thesis projects demonstrate excellence in design and/or research and best represent the intellectual insight, rigor and quality standards as set forth by the respective school department and the student’s thesis committee.

Ukwatte L. Indika U. Perera
Lighting Research Center at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute

Ukwatte L. Indika U. Perera holds a Ph.D. in architectural sciences with a concentration in lighting from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute; a M.S. in lighting from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute; and his M.S. in mechanical engineering from Purdue University. Dr. Perera earned his B.S. in engineering from University of Moratuwa (Sri Lanka) in 2004.

In 2016, he joined the Lighting Research Center at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute as a research scientist. His current research interests include thermal management and application of additive manufacturing in solid-state lighting systems and applications. He is a member of the Illuminating Engineering Society of North America, the American Institute of Mechanical Engineers, the International Society for Optics and Photonics, and the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics.

He was awarded the National Development Bank Award for the Best Mechanical Engineering Candidate for 2003/2004, the Robert J. Besal Fund Scholarship in 2012, the Rensselaer's Founders Award of Excellence in 2012, the Architectural Research Centers Consortium’s King Student Medal in 2014, and the Joules Horton International Student Achievement Award in 2014.

Thermal Analysis of LED Phosphor Layer

At present light-emitting diode (LED) products are either on par or better than their traditional lighting technology counterparts with respect to efficacy and lifetime. The most common method to creating “white” light from LEDs is by using the LED primary radiation and combining it with the re-emission from a phosphor material excited by the LED primary radiation. Heat is generated as a result of conversion inefficiencies and other loss mechanisms in the LED and the phosphor. This generated heat, if not properly dissipated, increases the operating temperature, thereby increasing the light output degradation of the system over both the short and long term.

As per the goal of this dissertation a theoretical model was developed which modeled both light propagation and heat transfer in the phosphor layer for identifying the factors influencing heat generation. This theoretical model included temperature-dependent phosphor efficiency and light absorption in the phosphor layer geometry. The model indicated good agreement with the experimental results. Using the developed model an effectiveness of a dedicated heat dissipation method in reducing the operating temperature of the phosphor layer was investigated.

In addition to these short-term studies, an experiment was conducted to validate the effectiveness of the dedicated phosphor layer heat sink design to improve system lifetime by reducing phosphor layer operating temperature. Finally, this dissertation investigated the potential of the developed theoretical model being used as a tool for prioritizing research tasks and as a design tool during the material selection and system configuration phases.


Aditi Govil
Parsons School of Design

After receiving her Bachelor’s in Architecture in 2014 from the Sushant School of Art and Architecture in Gurgaon, India, Aditi Govil became interested in the power of light to influence and instigate social change beyond the tectonics of architectural form.  She has since earned her MFA in Lighting Design from Parsons, The New School for Design. Her experience in the program has only strengthened her passion for light and the possibilities it holds in reshaping not just our perceptions of the world, but the world itself.

Aditi has been working with Cooley Monato Studio in New York City since June of 2015, and will begin working at the Studio as a full-time designer in June of this year.

"With her MFA thesis, Aditi Govil makes a critical contribution to the field of lighting design, synthesizing her extensive and multi-disciplinary research into a subtle yet powerful design that improves the nighttime experience for all. There is a true vacuum of scholarship around issues of gender and equity in lighting the city, though much attention has been paid to the urban nightscape in general. Aditi's project sets a standard from which further research and contributions will be made." – Thesis Advisor, Alexa Griffith Winton

A Walk in A Woman’s Shoes: Re-thinking Lighting in Urban Nightscapes

"The street is the scene of her writing, with her body following the role that she is given in the evaluation of her body as merchandise. The street is the scene of architectural writing. The private realm is the scene of the institutions, where woman and her body have an assigned place: the house. Wife in the kitchen. Whore in the street." —Diana I. Agrest, "Architecture from Without: Body, Logic and Sex," 1993

A woman’s place has historically been confined to the home. Consciously and unconsciously, this confinement became one of the principles of architectural design and urban planning of the last century.

For a woman, a simple act of walking back home at the end of the night involves being always on the look out, where the feeling of fear is a part of her everyday routine. Men on the other hand, due to physical and cultural differences, often have the privilege to be ignorant to such scenarios. This thesis recognizes that danger cannot be eliminated by just trying to change one factor. It does, however, argue that the perception of fear can be influenced by lighting.

The advent of artificial light diminished the darkness of the night, but did not influence the anxieties and social boundaries tied to accessibility of the urban environments for women. Today, street lighting consists of a number of pole lights spaced according to prescribed standards, creating pools of light that contribute to non- uniformity in lighting, high contrast levels and issues of glare.

This thesis attempts to understand, what the specific factors influencing women’s perception of safety in the night are and addresses two connected questions relating specifically to the field of lighting design: firstly, are there gender specific conditions that people perceive within lighting in the urban night environments? And secondly, is there a quality of light specific to women that help diminish the perception of fear of the nighttime?

The aim of this thesis is to enable women to claim space in urban environments at night by re-thinking the qualities of lighting that will help transform the way they experience space and help create equilibrium.


Parsons School of Design Thesis Prize – M.F.A. Lighting Program

The thesis project is the culmination of study in the program and is a year-long self-guided project which includes research, a written essay, and a studio based design problem in which the student completes a comprehensive analysis of a chosen topic that questions conventions, standards and applications associated with the practice of lighting design.


Lighting Research Center at RPI Thesis Prize – M.S. Lighting, M.S. Architectural Sciences with a concentration in lighting, PhD, Architectural Sciences Programs

The thesis project is an intensive student-initiated project using original research or design evaluations to test hypotheses. Each student works closely with a faculty advisor and committee on the development and execution of his or her thesis project. The results are presented in a thesis and demonstrate the student’s mastery of an area of lighting. The LRC has both the facilities and the faculty to support a wide range of thesis topics. Students are encouraged to develop their own interests and build on their previous academic or professional experience. Thesis topics can be geared toward a research or a design aspect of lighting. Each year the LRC has seen more unusual and imaginative thesis topics introduced, reflecting the students’ diverse backgrounds.