NASA Ames Bestows Highest Honors on Four Fellows
The rank of Fellow is the highest recognition that NASA’s Ames Research Center, Moffett Field, Calif., can bestow upon one of its own and this year four past and present members of NASA Ames were honored. On June 2, 2012, Ames hosted an event to celebrate the life and work of four of the most extraordinary people to have worked at Moffett Field. Louis J. Allamandola, Wayne R. Johnson, Baruch S. Blumberg and Hans Mark were the honorees.
Center Director Pete Worden explained that “the Fellows are an elite group of Ames people who have built a global reputation for excellence in their scientific and engineering research and this ceremony will be a heartfelt opportunity for us to recognize them and to thank them.”
Louis J. Allamandola
is the founding director of the Ames Astrophysics and Astrochemisty Laboratory. He has revolutionized human understanding of the material make-up of the universe. In particular, his work served to dislodge the traditional physicists’ hydrogen-dominated view of the universe in the 1970s in favor of the chemically rich and diverse universe we know today. Allamandola was among the first to hypothesize that a common kind of infrared emission known to scientists as UIR bands were derived from molecules called polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs). He cultivated the experimental methods required to reproduce space in the laboratory. By developing new techniques that addressed a wider range of astrophysical problems, Allamandola established a worldwide reputation in the study of the composition, chemistry and spectroscopic properties of interstellar and solar system dust and ices. He has twice received the H. Julian Allen Award for the Best Paper by a NASA Ames Researcher.
tenure at Ames has coincided with the center’s elevation as a world leader in rotary wing technology. The software he has written – the Comprehensive Analytical Model of Rotorcraft Aerodynamics and Dynamics (CAMRAD) II and the NASA Design and Analysis of Rotorcraft (NDARC) – have become the principle design tools for rotorcraft worldwide. His research activities have covered a wide range of topics in rotorcraft aeromechanics that include dynamics, aerodynamics, controls, handling qualities, acoustics, computational fluid dynamics, aeroelasticity, data acquisition and analysis and test techniques associated with helicopter rotor testing in wind tunnels. He led development of dynamics, aerodynamics, performance, whirl flutter stability and flight stability analysis for tilt rotor aircraft. He spawned a new area of research by coupling the computational fluid dynamics of rotors with their aeroelastic structural dynamics. Among the numerous awards he has received during his career are the 1986 Pendray Aerospace Literature Award from the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA) for his magisterial textbook, Helicopter Theory and the 2010 Alexander A. Nikolsky Honorary Lectureship for a distinguished career in vertical flight research – the highest honor awarded by the American Helicopter Society.
Baruch S. Blumberg
gained worldwide fame for his discovery of the virus that causes Hepatitis B and his subsequent development of its vaccine. He was later awarded the 1976 Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine. He became a member of the Fox Chase Cancer Center in 1964 and a professor at the University of Pennsylvania in 1977. Through his love of interdisciplinary research and his interest in the origins of life, Blumberg came to NASA Ames in 1999 as the founding director of the NASA Astrobiology Institute.
Blumberg died in 2011 at the age of 85, shortly after delivering the keynote address at a conference on lunar research at NASA Ames. He is especially remembered for the kindness and knowledge he directed towards the thousands of school and university students he loved teaching and engaging with. NASA Ames Director Pete Worden described him as “a leading light in the scientific community and a great humanitarian.”
Holding the position from 1969-1977, Hans Mark
was the longest-serving director of NASA Ames after its founding director, Smith DeFrance, and left only when named Undersecretary of the Air Force. Under his leadership, Ames became the world leader in tilt rotor design, a reputation it has maintained to this day, largely thanks to the close partnership in helicopter research he established with the U.S. Army. During his years at Ames, Pioneer 10 became the first spacecraft to fly past Jupiter and eventually the first human-made object to leave the solar system. Mark also oversaw the installation of the Illiac IV supercomputer, establishing Ames as a leading center for advanced supercomputing, particularly in fluid dynamics, a reputation Ames still holds today.
As President Jimmy Carter’s Secretary of Defense, Mark established the U.S. Air Force Space Command. He was appointed NASA Deputy Administrator in 1981; his three years in the position gave him the opportunity to oversee the first eleven space shuttle flights. Following his time at NASA, Mark served as Chancellor of the University of Texas System and from 1998 to 2001 worked at the Pentagon as Director of Defense Research and Engineering.
As part of the award, the inductees will each have their portraits painted and hung in the NASA Ames administration building on a wall occupied by all of those who previously were honored as fellows. Previous recipients include aerodynamicists Howard Goldstein and Robert T. Jones, nanotechnologist Charles Bauschlicher and computational fluid dynamics pioneer Harvard Lomax.
Ames Fellows are chosen by a specially appointed review committee, which judges nominees based on their international reputation, as well as the magnitude of their contribution to Ames over the course of their career.
The last appointment of an Ames Fellow was at the center’s 65th anniversary in 2004.
James Schalkwyk 650-604-4789
Ames Research Center, Moffett Field, Calif.