Praveen then embarked on a 37-year career at IBM Research in Yorktown Heights, New York. He quickly became a source of inspiration to researchers there in many areas of thin-film physics. He was a crucial contributor to IBM’s product development activities. During the 1970s, while working with others, he developed the amorphous gadolinium cobalt films that were integrated into IBM’s magnetic bubble devices and later served as the basis for read-write media for the magneto-optic disk industry. In recognition of that development, he and his coinvestigators were awarded the National Medal of Technology in 1995.
Appointed vice president of science in 1982, Praveen shaped the evolution of IBM’s science research programs in the 1980s while continuing his own productive research career. During the early years following the high-temperature superconductivity discovery, he carried out his executive duties during the day while working in his laboratory in the evenings. His team made a number of important contributions to the field, including the growing of yttrium barium copper oxide crystals with current densities two orders of magnitude greater than those previously obtained.
In 2003, Praveen retired from IBM and became director of Brookhaven National Laboratory. He put the laboratory on a firm foundation of stability and growth. His vision led to new initiatives for the laboratory, including establishment of its Center for Functional Nanomaterials. Praveen stepped down as laboratory director in 2003, joined Columbia University as adjunct professor, and returned to his old laboratory at IBM in Yorktown, where he could often be found running experiments. He remained active in his research until a few months before his death.
Praveen was deeply involved in science and technology policy. He was elected to the National Academy of Engineering in 1988. He was co-chairman of the National Research Council Committee on Materials Science and Engineering (1985–1989). This study was the basis of a presidential initiative in advanced materials and processing programs, announced by the White House in January 1992. He served on the U.S. National Critical