Two faculty members elected AAAS fellows

Two Vanderbilt Engineering faculty members – Peter T. Cummings and Thomas A. Cruse – have been elected as fellows of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), an honor bestowed upon them by their peers.

They are among 471 scientists from around the country who have been elevated to this rank because of their efforts to advance science or its applications that are deemed scientifically or socially distinguished. New fellows will be presented with an official certificate and a gold and blue rosette pin on Saturday, Feb. 16, at the 2008 AAAS Annual Meeting in Boston.

Cummings, the John R. Hall Professor of Chemical Engineering, was honored for “outstanding contributions in research, for extraordinary service in his profession, and for national leadership in the emerging field of theoretical and computational nanoscience.”

As principal scientist at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory’s Center for Nanophase Materials Sciences and director of the laboratory’s Nanomaterials Theory Institute, Cummings oversees a team of scientists and engineers working to develop new materials to be used in medicine, electronics and a wide variety of industrial applications. Since joining the Vanderbilt engineering faculty in 2002, his achievements include developing the leading model for water used in molecular-level computer simulations and participation in computer modeling to predict how individual cancer cells are likely to spread through the body.

Cruse, the H. Fort Flowers Professor of Mechanical Engineering, Emeritus, is a noted pioneer in the development of a computer simulation method called boundary element methods that has significantly improved predictions of fatigue cracking in gas turbine engines and other aerospace applications. He also contributed to the development of new methods to assess the strength of the advanced composite materials that are gradually replacing metal in aircraft structures. From 2004 through August 2007, Cruse served as the chief technologist of the Air Force Research Laboratory. He is currently working as an independent consultant to the Defense Advanced Research Project Agency and the U.S. Air Force focusing on reliability issues.

Founded in 1848, the AAAS is the world’s largest federation of scientists and includes some 262 affiliated societies and academies, serving 10 million individuals. The Association works to advance science for human well-being through its projects, programs and publications. It conducts many programs in the areas of science policy, science education and international scientific cooperation.