Neil Armstrong Distinguished Visiting Fellows

The prestigious Neil Armstrong Distinguished Visiting Fellows program brings highly accomplished and recognized scholars and practitioners to the college to catalyze collaborations with faculty and students.

Fellows are individuals who have been eminently recognized for their impact and achievements in engineering or related disciplines, who collaborate with Purdue Engineering faculty members on research projects and initiatives including new research directions, industry engagement, on-campus and online educational efforts, increasing diversity and inclusion, as well as entrepreneurship. Their selections are based on nominations made by faculty and the proposed impact of their research and visit on Purdue Engineering.

2019 marked 50 years since Purdue Engineering alumnus Neil Armstrong’s “one small step” inspired the world toward seemingly limitless human and technological achievement. On that historic occasion, Purdue Engineering launched the Neil Armstrong Distinguished Visiting Fellows program.

Upcoming Events

Wind Damage of Solar Power Arrays and Required Repairs
Randall W. Poston, PhD, PE, SE, NAE

Date — October 5, 2021
Time — 4:30 p.m. EDT
Location — HAMP 1144

In 2017 a wind event resulted in the failure of a numerous panels of a newly installed solar power generating facility outside of Buckeye, AZ. The solar array featured a popular single-axis tracker system purportedly designed for wind speeds well above those measured during the failure. Through a combination of onsite observations, document review, and an analysis of local weather data, Pivot was able to quickly identify a coupling element between a pair of square HSS tubes as the weak link in the structural system.

Once the issue causing the failure was identified, Pivot reviewed a retrofit designed by the manufacturer of the tracker system and developed its own independent retrofit for the tube coupler. Each design was developed to the point that the contractor, who had installed the system, could provide a cost estimate associated with installation of either design. Pivot’s retrofit design centered on the idea of providing a combination of torsional and flexural stiffness and strength equivalent to either tube member being coupled, such that relative twist or displacement between the two coupled members did not occur.

To validate assumptions made in either design, and to develop a comparison of design performance, Pivot recommended that the two coupler designs be tested, and compared to tests of the original coupler. Pivot designed a method to test each coupler retrofit and the original coupler. This test design included a loading protocol, a monitoring system, and a unique test setup which allowed torque, bending and a combination of each to be tested.

Once testing was complete Pivot was able to rapidly process and discuss testing results. Upon completion of the tests, Pivot reported the test results to the client leading to the selection of our coupler design being selected for installation.

News

Faculty share research, ideas in new distinguished visiting fellows program

The Neil Armstrong Distinguished Visiting Fellows program began in March 2019, bringing highly accomplished and recognized scholars and practitioners to collaborate on work with engineering faculty and students. These professionals visit for several weeks a year over the course of three years.

This year marks the 50th anniversary of Armstrong becoming the first man to walk on the moon as commander of Apollo 11. He earned a bachelor’s degree from Purdue in aeronautical engineering in 1955 and was awarded an honorary doctorate in engineering from Purdue in 1970.

Arvind Raman, senior associate dean of the faculty, said the inaugural cohort of visiting fellows is highly recognized and represents expertise in diverse areas ranging from heterogeneous catalysis, jet fighter design, remote sensing, construction and hydrology.

“Purdue Engineering is proud to launch this program to bring highly accomplished and recognized scholars and practitioners to Purdue Engineering to catalyze collaborations that can lead to increased impact and visibility for our visitors and their faculty hosts, schools/divisions, and college,” said Raman, the Robert V. Adams Professor in Mechanical Engineering.

The visitors in the first cohort are all National Academy of Engineering members and include:

  • Enrique Iglesia, of the University of California, Berkeley, researches catalysts — compounds that speed up or facilitate specific chemical reactions. His work involves synthesizing inorganic solids that are useful as catalysts for transforming molecules into chemicals and fuels.
  • Dara Entekhabi, of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, is an expert in hydrological remote sensing and serves as science team leader for the NASA Soil Moisture Active Passive satellite mission.
  • Paul Bevilaqua, formerly at Lockheed Martin, is renowned for inventing the vertical lift concept in the F-35 Joint-Strike Fighter during his time there.
  • Randall Poston, of Pivot Engineers consulting firm in Austin, Texas, has championed the repair of existing structures for upward of 30 years and is one of the preeminent structural consultants in the U.S.
  • Andrea Rinaldo, of Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne, is renowned as co-founder of the field of Ecohydrology (interactions between water and ecosystems) and for his theory of self-organized fractal river networks and efficient transport networks.

A College of Engineering alumnus famous for his “one small step” will be honored through a new program intended to bolster Purdue University’s impactful engineering research, engagement and education.

Suresh Rao, the Lee A. Rieth Distinguished Professor in Environmental and Ecological Engineering, said collaborations with Rinaldo will entail areas related to sustainability of natural resources, and influences of socio-economic systems on eco-hydrological processes.

“As an alum of Purdue Civil Engineering, we are excited to have Dr. Rinaldo return and re-engage with faculty and students in the College of Engineering and across the campus,” said Rao, who is hosting Rinaldo. “The range of his intellectual contributions to general theories of scaling and networks in natural systems would be of interest to a broad spectrum of Purdue colleagues.”

Julio Ramirez, the Karl H. Kettlehut Professor of Civil Engineering, said he looks forward to hosting Poston and the benefits he will bring to the Lyles School of Civil Engineering.

“Dr. Poston’s visit will energize and challenge our students, while simultaneously serve as a catalyst for innovation with our faculty and professional staff,” he said.

James Garrison, a professor of aeronautics and astronautics at Purdue, said he will host Entekhabi with the intent on researching new satellite mission concepts for globally mapping sub-surface soil moisture and snow. Entekhabi also will be involved with a two-part course for undergraduate and graduate students in fall 2019 and spring 2020, Earth Observation Mission Design – the definition of a venture class NASA Earth science mission.

Tom Shih, the J. William Uhrig and Anastasia Vournas Head of the School of Aeronautics and Astronautics, plans to collaborate with Bevilaqua on aerodynamics, aeroacoustics and new concepts in aircraft design. Bevilaqua also will review undergraduate design projects and participate as a panel member on ethics for undergraduate students.

Iglesia will work with faculty and students involved with the Center for Innovative and Strategic Transformation of Alkane Resources (CISTAR). He will be hosted by Fabio Ribeiro, the Norris and Eleanor Shreve Professor of Chemical Engineering and director of CISTAR.

“Professor Iglesia’s unerring ability to reduce complex problems to their most fundamental aspects, use quantitative relations between those underlying features to solve the problem at hand, and then to generalize the solution to provide predictive design principles has provided an unprecedented breadth of field-defining concepts in heterogeneous catalysis and practical solutions to grand challenge problems related to energy and the environment,” Ribeiro said.

Participants were nominated from College of Engineering faculty as well as endorsements by Engineering school heads and Mung Chiang, the John A. Edwardson Dean of Engineering. They were selected, in part, based on the likelihood of impact of the nominee’s visit on research and education at Purdue.

Program coordinators anticipate as many as three new visiting fellows to be announced each year.

During their visits, the scholars will collaborate with Purdue Engineering faculty on research projects, and/or on broader school or college priorities including new research directions, industry engagement, on-campus and online educational efforts, increasing diversity and inclusion, as well as entrepreneurship.

The visits are expected to begin in March with Rinaldo.

The visiting scholars will stay a total of up to three months through 2021. The time can be taken in multiple visits.

The host is expected to organize events such as workshops during the visit.

Mordechai Segev

Class of 2021 Fellow

Mordechai “Moti” Segev is the Robert J. Shillman Distinguished Professor of Physics and Electrical Engineering, at the Technion, Israel. He received his BSc and PhD from the Technion in 1985 and 1990. After postdoc at Caltech, he joined Princeton as Assistant Professor (1994), becoming Associate Professor in 1997, and Professor in 1999. Subsequently, Moti went back to Israel, and in 2009 was appointed as Distinguished Professor.

Moti’s interests are mainly in photonics, solitons, lasers, and quantum optics. He won numerous international awards, among them the 2007 Quantum Electronics Prize of the European Physics Society, the 2009 Max Born Award of the Optical Society of America, and the 2014 Arthur Schawlow Prize of the American Physical Society. In 2011, he was elected to the Israel Academy of Sciences, in 2015 to the National Academy of Science (USA), and in 2021 to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. In 2014 Moti Segev won the Israel Prize (highest honor in Israel) and in 2019 he has won the EMET Prize.

Above all his achievements, Moti takes pride in the success of his graduate students and postdocs, among them are currently 23 professors in the USA, Germany, Taiwan, Croatia, Italy, India, China and Israel, and many holding senior R&D positions in the industry.

Paul Bevilaqua

Class of 2019 Fellow

Paul Bevilaqua is an aeronautical engineer who is well known for his work in aerodynamics and aircraft design. He worked for Lockheed Martin from 1985 to 2011, and is world-renowned for inventing the vertical lift concept in the F-35 Joint-Strike Fighter during his time there. He is a member of the National Academy of Engineering and a fellow of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA). He is a recipient of several awards, including AIAA’s F. E. Newbold V/STOL and Aircraft Design awards and Daniel Guggenheim Medal; Lockheed Martin’s Kelly Johnson Inventors, Aerostar, and NOVA award; the Society of Automotive Engineering’s Aerospace Vehicle Design and Development Award; and the American Helicopter Society’s Paul E. Haueter Award. He was recognized as Engineer of the Year by Design News magazine in 2004.

Dr. Bevilaqua will work with faculty in the School of Aeronautics and Astronautics and the School of Mechanical Engineering. Potential topics of collaboration include aerodynamics, flow control, aeroacoustics, and new concepts in aircraft design.

Dara Entekhabi

Class of 2019 Fellow

Dr. Dara Entekhabi is a Neil Armstrong Distinguished Visiting Fellow member at Purdue Engineering. An expert in hydrological remote sensing, he is currently the science team leader for the NASA Soil Moisture Active Passive (SMAP). Dr. Entekhabi is the Bacardi and Stockholm Water Foundation Professor in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering and Professor in the Department of Earth, Atmospheric and Planetary Sciences at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He works in the areas of hydrology, hydroclimatology, and remote sensing. An expert in hydrological remote sensing, he is currently the science team leader for the NASA Soil Moisture Active Passive (SMAP) Mission. He is a member of the National Academy of Engineering, and a Fellow in the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, American Geophysical Union, and the American Meteorological Society.

Potential exists for Dr. Entekhabi’s collaboration with multiple groups across the colleges of Engineering and Science. Research topics will focus on new remote sensing techniques for soil and water, in particular the use of “signals of opportunity” in P-band (below 400 MHz), as well as broader applications of data from SMAP. This work is expected to impact the next generation of Earth remote sensing mission concepts, and the broader hydrology and agriculture communities.

Enrique Iglesia

Class of 2019 Fellow

Enrique Iglesia is the Theodore Vermeulen Professor in Chemical Engineering at the University of California at Berkeley. His research addresses the design, synthesis, and structural and mechanistic characterization of inorganic solids useful as catalysts for chemical reactions important in the production, conversion and use of energy carriers, in sustainable petrochemical syntheses, and in the protection of the environment. He is a member of the National Academy of Engineering, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the National Academy of Inventors. He has received several awards for his contributions to chemistry and chemical engineering. Most recently, he received the 2019 Michel Boudart Award for Advancement in Catalysis and the American Institute of Chemical Engineers’ William H. Walker Award for Excellence in Contributions to Chemical Engineering Literature.

Dr. Iglesia will work with faculty and students involved with the Center for Innovative and Strategic Transformation of Alkane Resources (CISTAR). He will engage CISTAR in research, industry innovation, entrepreneurship, and educational activities.

Randall Poston

Class of 2019 Fellow

Dr. Randall Poston is Sr. Principal at Pivot Engineers, a structural engineering consulting firm in Austin, TX. An internationally recognized expert in structural engineering and member to the National Academy of Engineering, Randall Poston has established himself as one of the preeminent structural consultants in the United States. Dr. Poston has authored and delivered hundreds of papers and presentations related to the structural engineering industry, championed the repair of existing structures for upwards of 30 years, and dedicated his career to advancing the state of structural engineering knowledge. As past Chair of the American Concrete Institute (ACI) Committee 318 Structural Building Code (2008-2014), he oversaw a monumental effort to completely reorganize the concrete code, the first undertaking of its kind in the history of ACI. Engineering News-Record (ENR) named him a “Top 25 Newsmaker” of 2014 for his code reorganization leadership and ACI bestowed him with the Henry L. Kennedy Award for this work. Dr. Poston became the 96th President of the American Concrete Institute at the conclusion of the ACI Convention in Quebec City on March 28, 2019.

Dr. Poston will work alongside faculty in the Lyles School of Civil Engineering in research focused on structural engineering. At the recently held Spring 2019 Convention of the American Concrete Institute (ACI) in Quebec City, Dr. Poston gave his acceptance speech as the next President of ACI.

Andrea Rinaldo

Class of 2019 Fellow

Andrea Rinaldo is the Professor of Hydrology and Water Resources and the Director of the Laboratory of Ecohydrology at Ecole Polytechnique Federale de Lausanne, Switzerland, as well Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering at the University of Padova, Italy. He received his PhD (1983) in civil engineering at Purdue University. He is world-renowned as an authority and co-founder of the field of Ecohydrology and for his theory of self-organized fractal river networks and efficient transport networks. He is a member of the US National Academy of Engineering, the US National Academy of Science, and the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences, and the recipient of the Horton Award from the American Geophysical Union, and the Dalton Medal from the European Geoscience Unions.