D. Asoka Mendis is a Professor Emeritus of Electrical and Computer Engineering at the University of California at San Diego. He is a space physicist who is credited with ushering "dusty plasma research into mainstream science," according to editors of a 2001 issue of IEEE Transactions on Plasma Science dedicated to him on his 65th birthday. When micrometer-size particulates-in some cases dust-are introduced into a plasma, they become charged and are much heavier than usual electrons and ions. The study of dusty plasmas has opened up the possibility of modified or entirely new collective modes of oscillation, instabilities and linear or nonlinear waves. The IEEE journal noted that "dusty plasma research has become a truly interdisciplinary field during the last 20 years, applicable to diverse phenomena in nature, in the laboratory, and in industry."
D. Asoka Mendis joined the UCSD faculty in 1969, and retired from his full-time professorships in ECE and CSE in 1994. Since then, he has continued to do research and work in his campus office on a daily basis. Mendis earned his Ph.D. and DSc from the University of Manchester.