MINNEAPOLIS / ST. PAUL (02/19/2018) — Two University of Minnesota College of Science and Engineering alumni and two faculty have been elected to the National Academy of Engineering, one of the highest professional distinctions accorded to an engineer. Only 83 engineers nationwide were elected to the academy this year.
Raymond Gorte, a 1981 chemical engineering Ph.D. graduate, is currently the Russell Pearce and Elizabeth Crimian Heuer Professor at the University of Pennsylvania. He was recognized for fundamental contributions and their applications to heterogeneous catalysts and solid state electrochemical devices. Gorte has made pioneering contributions to the development of solid oxide fuel cells, which produce electricity from oxidizing a fuel. He has developed a novel process for making high-performance solid oxide cells that operate on hydrocarbon fuels. In the area of catalysis, Gorte has studied how changes in the thermodynamic properties of mixed oxides affect their ability to speed up chemical reactions of interest.
Chun Huh, a 1969 chemical engineering Ph.D. graduate, is a retired research professor in the Hildebrand Department of Petroleum and Geosystems Engineering at the University of Texas at Austin. Huh is recognized for enhancing the understanding of ultralow interfacial tensions of oil/surfactant/water systems. He served as a research professor at the University of Texas from 2004 to 2016. A Distinguished Member of the Society of Petroleum Engineers (SPE), Huh is a past winner of the SPE Improved Oil Recovery Pioneer Award.
Professor Emerita Efi Foufoula-Georgiou was a McKnight Distinguished Professor in the University of Minnesota’s Department of Civil, Environmental and Geo- Engineering from 1989-2016. She currently serves as a Distinguished Professor in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at the Henry Samueli School of Engineering, University of California, Irvine. Foufoula-Georgiou’s area of research is hydrology and geomorphology, with special interest on scaling theories, multiscale dynamics and space-time modeling of precipitation and landforms. Her work gives us new clues to better understand water, sediment and land processes in response to climate and human disturbances. While at the University of Minnesota, she served as director of the National Science Foundation’s Science and Technology Center National Center for Earth-surface Dynamics (NCED) and director of the St. Anthony Falls Laboratory.
John A.L. Napier, a University of Minnesota adjunct professor in the Department of Civil, Environmental and Geo- Engineering, was elected as a foreign member to the National Academy of Engineering for his “contributions to computational simulation of rock fracture around underground excavations.” Napier is a professor in the Department of Mining Engineering at the University of Pretoria, Hatfield, Pretoria, South Africa, with special expertise in rock engineering and numerical methods. He visits the University of Minnesota each year to collaborate with the geomechanics research group to model physical phenomena such as damage and fracture, wave propagation, and fluid transport.
Newly elected members of the National Academy of Engineering will be formally inducted during a ceremony at the NAE’s annual meeting in Washington, D.C., on Sept. 30, 2018. To see a full list of this year’s inductees, visit the National Academy of Engineering website.