Moriba Jah, Karen Willcox Elected Fellows of AIAA

Moriba Jah (left) and Karen Willcox were elected 2019 AIAA Fellows.

Two ICES faculty, Moriba Jah and Karen Willcox, have been elected to the prestigious title of Fellow of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA) for their notable contributions to the aerospace engineering community. Founded in 1963 with over 30,000 members across 88 countries, AIAA is the world’s largest technical society dedicated to the profession of aerospace engineering, with the mission of assisting aerospace professionals and their organizations succeed in their field.

AIAA Fellows are “persons of distinction in aeronautics or astronautics, who have made notable and valuable contributions to the arts, sciences, or technology thereof.” Only one AIAA member for every 1,000 members is elected an esteemed Fellow each year by the institute’s board of trustees, making this one of the highest forms of recognition among aerospace professionals.

Jah, associate professor of aerospace engineering, was elected “for thought leadership and innovative technical contributions in the fields of space situational awareness, space traffic management, and astrodynamics.” His research expertise includes tracking and identifying space objects orbiting earth, space traffic management, and spacecraft navigation. His research group, ICES Computational Astronautical Sciences and Technologies (CAST), developed ASTRIAGraph, the first searchable knowledge graph for space traffic monitoring which combines multiple sources of information about space debris orbiting the Earth. He was also recently selected a TED Fellow.

Willcox, director of ICES and professor of aerospace engineering, was elected “for outstanding contributions to the development and use of computational methods for aerospace design, and to engineering education and outreach.” She focuses her research on future aerospace technologies and design, uncertainty quantification, design optimization, reduced order modeling and data-driven modeling. Some of her recent research projects include developing methods and algorithms that enable on-board dynamic decision-making for UAVs, modeling rocket combustor dynamics, and developing new design under uncertainty methods for Blended-Wing-Body aircraft design. She joined the ASE/EM faculty in Fall 2018 and was named the director ICES. She holds the W.A. "Tex" Moncrief Jr. Endowment in Simulation-Based Engineering and Sciences Chair No. 5 and the Peter O'Donnell, Jr. Centennial Chair in Computing Systems.

The two faculty will be officially inducted to the title of Fellow at an honorary dinner held May 14 in Crystal City, VA and at a black-tie gala in Washington D.C. the following evening. Chair of UT's Department of Aerospace Engineering and Engineering Mechanics Noel Clemens was also elected to the prestigious title.

Posted: Feb. 5, 2019