As the Faculty of Engineering of the University of Jaffna is a newly emerging faculty, it is desirable for the Faculty to invite experienced teachers like Dr. Nihal Somaratna to provide the undergraduates an opportunity to interact with such teachers. Dr. Somaratna has been visiting the faculty on Fridays during the month of October 2014. During this period he conducted a part of the first year course “Engineering Mechanics”. Dr. Somaratna has also been serving as an external member of the Faculty Board since January 2014. His timely assistance to the faculty is much appreciated by the members of the faculty.
Nihal was graduated in 1978 with BScEng honours degree in civil engineering from the University of Peradeniya. He completed his MS (1982), and PhD (1985) at the University of Illinois at Chicago. After working in the US automotive industry in Detroit, Michigan for six years, he returned to Sri Lanka in 1991 to rejoin the department of civil engineering of the University of Peradeniya. He spent several months as a Fulbright Senior Research Fellow at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, in 2004. From 2005 to 2008 he served as the head of the department of civil engineering, University of Peradeniya. He has also served in professional capacities in several committees and organizations including a year as the chairman of the National Engineering Research and Development Centre (NERD Center) in 2001. Currently he is spending a period of sabbatical leave at the Faculty of Engineering of the Sri Lanka Institute of Information Technology (SLIIT).