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Ten Years of Excellence at the UT Space Institute

In his tenth year at UTSI, Professor Joseph C. (Joe) Majdalani (at right in photo) is honored with the Abe M. Zarem Educator Award at the banquet ceremony of the 51st Aerospace Sciences Meeting (ASM’13). With over 2300 participants, ASM’13 remains the largest revenue generator and most heavily attended conference of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA). The Zarem Educator Award is conferred by the AIAA Foundation to faculty members who showcase a visible degree of effectiveness in their mentorship and guidance efforts toward advising graduate students.

In the past three years, Majdalani has advised five graduate students who became recipients of six best paper awards. In addition to Charles T. Haddad, who won the Zarem Award for Distinguished Achievement in Astronautics, Majdalani’s group at UTSI has been successful at securing five Best Papers at the 61st–63rd Southeastern Student Conferences. These were successively held in Destin, FL (2010), Tuscaloosa, AL (2011), and Cape Canaveral, FL (2012), in April of each year. Majdalani’s team so far has entered these conferences with only five papers, and yet has returned with one national and five regional awards. “This is very impressive,” Hamel and UT Department Head remarked, when learning of this achievement. Such unprecedented winning streak is a testimony to the exceptional talent of students and faculty that UTSI attracts. The five papers in question focus on advanced propulsion concepts that pertain to chemical rockets in which the flow is driven by either wall-normal or wall-tangential injection. They are sponsored, in part, by the National Science Foundation and, in part, by the UT Space Institute. “We are truly blessed,” Majdalani added, “because it literally takes an act of God to repeatedly win at these highly contested paper championships. I also wish to thank my outstanding students, Charles, Tim, Georges, Michel, and Nadim, who will certainly be a hard act to follow. Finally, we must not forget the AIAA judges, who have clearly displayed a discerning eye for quality.”

Majdalani joined UTSI in 2003 as the Jack D. Whitfield Professor of High Speed Flows. In 2007, he was selected to fill the H. H. Arnold Chair of Excellence in Advanced Propulsion. His interests span the areas of internal aerodynamics, acoustic instability, high-speed gas dynamics, swirl-dominated engine technology, and singular perturbation theory. In the past ten years, Majdalani’s research activities have materialized in approximately 140 publications in first-rate journals and conference proceedings. These have attracted 12 external awards while contributing to the fulfillment of 14 M.S. and 6 Ph.D. degrees. Majdalani and his students are well regarded within the propulsion community by virtue of the quality of their scholarly output. Moreover, many view them as the record holders of ‘most papers’ at a single conference, with 15 and 16 Joint Propulsion Conference papers at JPC’04 and JPC’10, where they also won special awards and nominations.