In this issue: 2nd Tamasha date is scheduled (Memorial Weekend 2018, Cleveland Ohio), Take a Book, Guest Lecture, and more …
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CUFSAA Newsletter - Vol. 01 - No. 06
March 01, 2017

The TAMASHA-2018 get together and AGM!

SAVE THE DATE: Our 2nd TAMASHA get together is scheduled for Memorial Weekend (May 26-27) of 2018 and will be held in Cleveland, Ohio. Please save the date and be ready for Dinner/Dance and CUFSAA Annual Meeting. Hope to see many of our UofC Science Faculty Alumni, friends, families, and well-wishers!

You don't have to be a CUFSAA member or a UofC science Faculty Alumni to attend. All are welcome!
Details to follow and will be listed in our Website “”

01. CUFSAA-NA “Take a Book Program”


CUFSAA - President, Prof. LMV Tillekeratne visited Sri Lanka recently on a short and a private visit. He visited the Faculty of Science, University of Colombo and had discussions with the Dean/Science and also some faculty members. Seen in the photograph is Prof. Tillekeratne  handing over a GRE book requested by the faculty to Prof. Mahanama, Dean/Science.


CUFSAA committee members Saliya de Silva and Chandana Goonetilleke on their recent visit to the  Science Faculty donated three books to the mathematics department. They were handed over to Dr. Thilan Hewage, the head of the department. Seen in the picture are Dean Science, Prof. Mahanama with Drs. Hewage, de Silva, and Goonetilleke. This completes the mathematics book requests for the year 2016. (There are still a few book requests outstanding from other departments. Anyone interested in making a donation can look up the list of book requests at


Yes! under the initiative taken by CUFSAA-NA, a number of alumni who visited Sri Lanka in the recent past were so magnanimous as to carry textbooks with them and donate to the science faculty libraries. In addition, we have collected a large number of textbooks donated by our alumni and we plan to ship them to Sri Lanka in the near future. If you have any textbooks that you would like to donate to the faculty, please ship them to:
Dr. Saliya de Silva
393 Valley Road
River Edge, NJ 07661
Arrangements are being made to ship them to Sri Lanka by mid-March 2017.

02. The 40th Anniversary of 1976 Science Batch

The 40th anniversary of 1976 Science batch of University of Colombo was celebrated in Sri Lanka on Dec. 23 2016. The celebrations began by touring the university in the morning guided by the present faculty members from 1976 batch and concluded with a snack at the open canteen.

Later that day a dinner was held at Grand Monarch reception hall, which included teacher felicitations. Dean, Science Prof, Ranjith Mahanama, Senior Assistant Registrar and past faculty and staff members from the era joined the celebration dinner. Click on the link below to watch the speech made by Prof. Mahanama at this event, where he gives a good update on the Science Faculty.

03. US Visit by Science Faculty Members

The Sri Lankan delegation of scientists and intellectual property experts recently invited to visit the United States included the science faculty dean Professor Ranjith Mahanama and also Professor Thusitha Abeytunga from the department of Chemistry. The visit was arranged by the US government and was customized to provide scientific exchange, training, and exposure so that the members could help bring science and Sri Lankan industry together.
The delegation took part in events in Washington D.C., Princeton, Pittsburgh, and Chicago and several science faculty alumni living in those areas had the opportunity of meeting with their old colleagues, acquaintances, and batchmates.

 Delegation Visit

The delegation was headed by Prof. Mohan de Silva, the Chairman of the University Grant Commission. The other members of the delegation were Prof. K.R. Ranjith Mahanama (Dean, Science), Prof. Thusitha U. Abeytunga (Chemistry Dept.), Dr. Mahesh Edirisinghe (Commissioner, Sri Lanka Inventors Commission), Prof Ajith de Alwis (Director, Coordinating Secretariat for Science, Technology and Innovation - COSTI), Ms Geethanjali Ranawake (Director, General National Intellectual Property Office), Prof. J.A.K.S. Jayasinghe (University of Moratuwa), Dr. W.P.S. Boteju (University of Moratuwa), Prof. Manjula Sandirigama (University of Peradeniya), Dr. B.D.R. Prasantha (University of Peradeniya) and Mr. Harin de Silva (CEO, Sri Lanka Institute of Nanotechnology - SLINTEC).

04. Visit to the Science Faculty by CUFSAA Committee Members

In January, CUFSAA committee members Saliya de Silva and Chandana Goonetilleke visited the Science Faculty. They had the opportunity of meeting the dean, Professor Ranjith Mahanama, as well as several other faculty members, and had a firsthand glimpse into how several current CUFSAA projects will help the faculty.


The renovations of the chemistry and physics lecture theaters had begun and are expected to be ready for the students around June of this year. The audio visual unit that CUFSAA plans to donate will be available by then, which will greatly benefit the faculty and the students who will start using the lecture theaters after a long period of disuse due to safety concerns.
 Innovation Project

Saliya and Chandana also had a discussion with Professors Upul Sonnadara and Chandana Jayaratne of the physics department regarding another CUFSAA project. Many of our members would remember the telescope that was housed in a dome in the campus grounds. Unfortunately, the dome had been empty since the late eighties when the telescope was stolen, allegedly for the value of its brass. Now, a dedicated group of North American alumni led by Dr. Nalin Samarasinghe are working on a replacement. Needless to say it would be of great use for the physics students and faculty alike. Professor Jayaratne will be working with Dr. Samarasinghe to setup the technical specifications of the telescope that would best benefit our students and the faculty.

05. UofC Alumni, Ranga Dias with Isaac Silvera create Metallic Hydrogen

Two scientists from Harvard University recently produced “metallic hydrogen” which is the most recent important breakthrough in physics. Dr. Ranga Dias was one of them and he is an alumni of Faculty of Science, University of Colombo, Sri Lanka.

Dr. Dias finished his undergraduate degree in Physics in 2007 and moved to United States to peruse his PhD at Washington State University. He graduated with his PhD in Physics in the field of Extreme Condensed Matter Physics in 2013. Dr. Dias studied superconductivity and insulator metal transition in simple molecular systems during his doctoral work. After that, he joined Silvera Laboratory at Harvard University as a Postdoctoral Fellow.

Dr. Silvera and Dr. Dias have carried out a tremendous amount of work for this discovery and they pressurized the solid hydrogen at 495 Giga Pascals (around 1.4 times of the pressure at earth’s core or 5 million atmosphere) and at 5 Kelvin in order to achieve this. They have used specialized etched diamonds to remove surface and sub surface defects and vacuum annealed the diamonds at high temperature to remove residual stresses. Also, they have coated the diamonds along with the mounted rhenium (Re) gasket with a 50 nm thick layer of amorphous alumina through the process of atomic layer deposition. One of the most important things is the meta stability of the metallic hydrogen which means even after the release of extreme conditions, the material remains unchanged and it can be used for applications.
Since predictions suggest metallic hydrogen could act as a superconductor at room temperatures, according to Dr. Dias, it can be used for revolutionized applications such as power transmission without any energy loss, high efficient rocket fuels, super conductors based high speed trains etc.

On behalf of CUFSAA, we would like to congratulate Dr. Dias and wish all the very best for his future endeavors.
Here is the link for more details about this discovery:

06. CUFSAA Programs

Guest Lecture Program

If you plan to visit Sri Lanka in the near future and like to present your research and scientific work to an enthusiastic audience at the Science Faculty of Colombo University, please let us know. We will arrange it for you. Contact us via or inform a member of the Executive Committee.

CUFSAA Mentoring Program

CUFSAA-NA has created a mentor list of our alumni who live in different localities in North America to help UoC graduates arriving in North America for graduate studies to settle down in their new environment. If you are willing to help out the next generation of UoC alumni arriving in North America, please send your name, location, and contact information to us at or contact Dr. Kirthi Premadasa directly at “” to become a North American Mentor to a new University of Colombo Graduate.

07. Special Projects

At the request of the Faculty of Science, CUFSAA-NA has undertaken three special projects for funding.
A. To install AC and sound systems for the three lecture theaters in the renovated chemistry building (expanded CLT, PLT and new lecture theater by converting the upstairs lab).
We are sure most of you have had the opportunity of listening to lectures delivered by our beloved teachers in the old Chemistry Lecture Theatre (CLT) and the Physics Lecture Theatre (PLT). Time has taken a toll on this elegant and iconic building and it is now in a very dilapidated condition, not fit for occupation. Fortunately, funds have been received to renovate this building and restore it to its original glory. In addition to the CLT and the PLT, an additional lecture theatre is to be made by converting the chemistry laboratory overlooking the Botany Department to a new lecture theatre. The faculty has requested our help to install AC and sound systems for these three lecture theatres. The approximate estimated cost of this project is Rs. 1.5 – 2 millions.
B. To install a drinking water system in the faculty.

The faculty is soliciting our support to install a new drinking water system consisting of four water coolers for use by students. At an approximate cost of Rs. 81,549.08 per water cooler, the estimated total cost of this project is Rs. 326,196.32.
C. To purchase of a Telescope for the faculty

CUFSAA-NA plans to purchase a telescope for the faculty to be used for research and public outreach programs. Details are being worked out and will be announced shortly.

08. Please Contribute to CUFSAA Funds

01. Science Faculty Emergency Fund
We have established a general fund to meet the urgent needs of students, faculty and staff of the Faculty of Science, University of Colombo in emergency situations. This is done in coordination with the Dean of the Science Faculty. We helped a number of science faculty students who were affected by recent floods/landslides in Sri Lanka under this program.

02. CUFSAA General Fund
We have established a general fund to be used for Science Faculty related projects, including the above mentioned projects, as the need arises. As proud products of the Faculty of Science, University of Colombo, it is our turn to help our Alma Mater, which molded us into successful citizens we are today. We hope you will contribute generously so that our Alma Mater can continue to produce scientists of the highest caliber as it has done since its inception.

09. CUFSAA-NA Office Bearers

In accordance with the Bylaws of the CUFSAA-NA Constitution, the following members were elected unopposed to serve as the Office Bearers for the first term of the association at the AGM, 4th of September, 2016.

Executive Committee:
President:                  L.M.V. Tillekeratne
President Elect:          L.C. Goonetilleke
Vice Presidents:         Sumedha Jayasena, Vicumpriya Perera, Kirthi Premadasa
Joint Secretaries:        Harshani Munidasa, Chandrasiri Jayakody
Treasurer:                   Saliya De Silva
Committee Members:          
Lakmal Boteju, Reshan Fernando, Waruna Fernando, Sampath Galappatty, Angelo Gunasekera, Asanthi Pieris Gunatilaka, Asoka Perera, Lalith Perera, Thushara Chey Perera, Randara Pulukkody, Oshadha K. Ranasingha, Priyantha Sugathapala, Gomika Udugamasooriya, Karl Uduman, Ajith Waidyaratne, Gajaka Weerasinghe, and Chandika Wijesundara
Colombo University Faculty of Science Alumni Association – North America (CUFSAA-NA), a non-profit organization incorporated in the state of New Jersey, is formed exclusively for social, charitable, and educational purposes to foster, maintain and support a mutually beneficial relationship between the alumni of the Colombo University, Faculty of Science living in North America, The University of Colombo, and the community at large.  Join us and support these worthy causes. Send an email to
Copyright © 2017 Colombo University Science Faculty Alumni Association, All rights reserved.

CUFSAA Newsletter Committee
Colombo University Science Faculty Alumni Association
2740 Timberline Drive
Cortland, OH 44410

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