Dr. Elaine Oran Receives Presidential Rank Award for Senior Professional

6/28/2005 - 28-05r
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Dr. Elaine S. Oran, the Naval Research Laboratory's Senior Scientist for Reactive Flow Physics in the Laboratory for Computational Physics and Fluid Dynamics, is a recipient of the 2004 Presidential Rank Award for Meritorious Senior Professional. Each year, the President recognizes and celebrates a small group of career Senior Executives with the President's Rank Award for exceptional long-term accomplishments. The 2003 awards were the first to include the senior professional category, recognizing members of the Scientific and Professional Corps, as well as those from the Senior Executive Service. Winners of this prestigious award are strong leaders, professionals, and scientists who achieve results and consistently demonstrate strength, integrity, industry, and a relentless commitment to excellence in public service. Dr. Oran's nomination describes that her unique achievement "has been to develop a new computational approach, called numerical simulation of reactive flow." This approach combines mathematical and computer methods with scientific theory and engineering practice.

Dr. Oran is known for her pioneering applications of numerical simulation for solving problems in fluid dynamics and reacting flows. Her work is cited for not just revolutionizing a field, but as actually creating a new one. She has made pivotal contributions to a broad range of problems in combustion and propulsion, atmospheric physics, and solar physics and astrophysics. Her work has contributed to both basic science and to advanced engineering applications. She has well over 300 publications to her credit, and these have been published in a wide range of scientific journals, proceedings, and magazines. With Dr. Jay P. Boris, she has coauthored the book Numerical Simulation of Reactive Flow, whose second edition was published by Cambridge University Press in 2001. Her current areas of research include the design of micro-bio-sensors, micropropulsion, control of explosions and mitigation of explosion hazards, numerical methods for combining effects on highly disparate time and space scales ("multiphysics"), effects of fluctuations and noise in creating order and disorder, the simulation of astrophysical supernovae, and the physics of the transition from deflagration to detonation.

Dr. Oran is a Fellow of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA). She is a previous AIAA Vice President for Publications and a member of the AIAA Board of Directors. She is currently the Editor-in-Chief of the AIAA Journal. She is also a Fellow of the American Physical Society, one of the founders and previous chairs of the Society's Division of Computational Physics, and is active in the Division of Fluid Dynamics. Dr. Oran has recently finished two terms on the Board of Directors of the Combustion Institute. Previously, she was Managing Editor of the journal Shock Waves and an Associate Editor of the Journal of Computational Physics. She is an adjunct professor of aerospace engineering at the University of Michigan and visiting professor at the University of Leeds.

In 1979, Dr. Oran received the Arthur S. Fleming Award and in 1988 the WISE Award in Science, given for achievement in science by Women in Science and Engineering. In 1999, she received the Oppenheim Prize for "outstanding contributions to the theory of the dynamics of explosions and reactive systems." And in 2000, she received the Ya. B. Zeldovich Gold Medal, prepared by the Russian Academy of Sciences for the Combustion Institute, and given for "outstanding contributions to the theory of combustion and detonations." In 2001 she became an Honorary Professor of the University of Wales. In 2002 she received the Dryden Lectureship in Research Award, presented by the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics. She was formally inducted into the Women In Technology International (WITI) Hall of Fame in June 2002. And in 2003, she was elected as a member of the National Academy of Engineering.

Dr. Oran received her A.B. degree in physics and chemistry from Bryn Mawr College in 1966. She earned her M.Ph. degree in physics in 1968 and her Ph.D. degree in engineering and applied science in 1972, both from Yale University. She has been at NRL since 1972.

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