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Two engineering professors named American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics fellows


Vanderbilt's Pitz and Mahadevan are AIAA fellows

Robert W. Pitz and Sankaran Mahadevan are members of the 2018 class of American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics fellows. They join 20 other members from academia, industry and government honored by the AIAA.

AIAA confers the distinction of Fellow in recognition of an individual’s notable and valuable contributions to the arts, sciences or technology of aeronautics and astronautics. The induction ceremony is May 2 at the AIAA Aerospace Spotlight Awards Gala in Washington, D.C.

Pitz, professor and former chair of the Department of Mechanical Engineering, was recognized by the AIAA for the development and application of advanced laser diagnostics for the analysis of high-speed flows and combustion.”

Robert Pitz

He explores ways to make aircraft and rocket engines burn more efficiently, safely and powerfully for clients that include NASA and the United States Air Force. In his current research, Pitz and his colleagues work on fueling what could potentially be the next generation of jet engines: hypersonic engines for space and air flight.

Pitz is a fellow of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers and formerly an associate fellow of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics. He has received the National Science Foundation Presidential Young Investigator Award in recognition of his achievements in combustion and laser diagnostics, as well as a GE Star Award. Pitz also was named a Summer Faculty Fellow by the American Society for Engineering Education and the National Research Council.

To support his internationally recognized research, Pitz has received funding from the National Science Foundation, the U.S. Department of Energy, and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, as well as NASA and the USAF. His commercial clients include Air Products and Chemicals Inc., Gas Research Institute and MetroLaser Inc.

Mahadevan, John R. Murray Professor of Engineering and professor of civil and environmental engineering and mechanical engineering, was recognized by the AIAA for outstanding contributions, leadership and impact in non-deterministic approaches through excellence in research, teaching and service in reliability analysis, uncertainty quantification, model validation, and optimization.

Sankaran Mahadevan

His research interests are in reliability and uncertainty analysis methods, material degradation, structural health monitoring, design optimization, and model uncertainty. The methods have been applied to civil, mechanical and aerospace systems. He will direct the engineering school’s recently announced professional master’s degree program in risk, reliability and resilience.

Mahadevan’s research has been funded by NSF, NASA (Glen, Marshall, Langley, Ames), FAA, U.S. DOE, U.S. DOT, Nuclear Regulatory Commission, U.S. Army Research Office, U.S. Air Force, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, General Motors, Chrysler, Union Pacific, Transportation Technology Center, and the U.S. National Laboratories at Sandia, Los Alamos, Idaho and Oak Ridge.

He is a fellow of the Engineering Mechanics Institute and formerly an associate fellow of the AIAA. Mahadevan has served the AIAA, ASCE and ASME in a number of capacities, most recently as technical chair and general chair of numerous conferences. He is a 2016 recipient of a SEC Faculty Achievement Award.

Contact: Brenda Ellis, (615) 343-6314