WPI Announces Endowed Professorships

Contact: WPI Media Relations, 508-831-5616

WORCESTER, Mass.-The following WPI faculty members were recently appointed to endowed professorships:

Ming-Hui Chen of Worcester, Mass., has been named the Harold J. Gay Assistant Professor of Mathematical Sciences. Chen, a native of the People's Republic of China, received a B.S. in mathematics from Hangzhou University, an M.S. in applied probability from Shanghai Jiao Tong University, and an M.S. in applied statistics and a Ph.D. in statistics from Purdue University. He joined the faculty in 1993. His research and teaching interests are in Bayesian statistical methodology, Bayesian computation, categorical data analysis, Monte Carlo methodology, prior elicitation, variable selection and survival models. He has had more than 30 papers published in refereed journals since he came to WPI.

The two-year professorship, established in 1971, honors Harold Gay, who taught mathematics at WPI from 1919 to 1947. The award recognizes younger faculty members who have demonstrated potential for achievement in mathematics.

Chrysanthe Demetry of Worcester, Mass., assistant professor of mechanical engineering, has been reappointed WPI's Norton Professor of Mechanical Engineering. The three-year professorship, which Demetry first received in 1995, was established by Norton Company in 1989 to honor a junior faculty member who has shown distinction and potential to be a leader in his or her field. It provides research support in areas of interest to the professor and to the company and encourages a close relationship between the honoree and Norton's research staff.

Demetry received her B.S. in mechanical engineering from WPI in 1988 and joined the faculty in 1993. She earned a Ph.D. in ceramics at MIT in 1993. Her research interests focus on structure and properties of interfaces in ceramics, metals and composites. As the Norton Professor she has advised undergraduate and graduate research on the topics of mix uniformity assessment, development of Ni-Sn-W composites, and diamond-metal-glass interfaces; these projects have resulted in several journal articles. Since joining the WPI faculty she has made course innovations in Introduction to Materials Science and Thermodynamics of Materials.

In 1997 she received the Teacher of the Year Award from the New England Section of the American Society for Engineering Education. In 1995, she received a four-year, $200,372 award from the National Science Foundation's Early Career Development (CAREER) Program for "Synthesis and Electrical Characterization of Ultrafine-Grained Ceramics." A major finding of that work has been the discovery of unique grain size-dependent electrical behavior and defect chemistry in titanium dioxide, which could have important technological applications for gas sensors as well as photocatalysts for hazardous waste remediation.

Demetry is a member of Tau Beta Pi, Pi Tau Sigma, Sigma Xi, the American Ceramic Society, the Materials Research Society, the American Society for Engineering Education, the American Society for Metals, and the Metals, Minerals and Materials Society.

Mohammad N. Noori of Westborough, Mass., professor and head of the Mechanical Engineering Department, has received the John Woodman Higgins Professorship. A native of Iran, Noori joined the faculty in 1984 and was appointed department head in 1991. He holds a B.S. in civil engineering from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, an M.S. in structural engineering from Oklahoma State University, and a Ph.D. with a specialty in engineering mechanics from the University of Virginia. His research is in the areas of stochastic mechanics, nonlinear and random vibrations and, most recently, in smart structures and health monitoring of mechanical and structural systems.

The three-year professorship was established in 1962 by a bequest from John Woodman Higgins, son of Milton Prince Higgins, first superintendent of the Washburn Shops. The younger Higgins graduated from WPI with a degree in electrical engineering in 1896. He developed the Worcester Pressed Steel Co. into one of the city's leading companies and was chairman of the firm at the time of his death in 1961.

Electrical and Computer Engineering Professor Peder C. Pedersen of Holden, Mass., has been named the Joseph Samuel Satin Distinguished Fellow for the 1998-99 academic year. The fellowship is awarded to a member of the ECE Department in recognition of the importance of encouraging excellence and supporting the exploration of new ideas and teaching approaches. It includes a substantial stipend to support these initiatives.

A native of Denmark, Pedersen received a B. S. in electrical engineering from Aalborg Engineering College and an M.E. and Ph.D. in bioengineering from the University of Utah and joined the Electrical and Computer Engineering Department faculty in 1987. He is a member of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers and the Acoustical Society of America.

Pedersen's research interests include modeling of acoustic measurement systems, ultrasound-based classification of atherosclerotic plaque and assessment of osteoporosis; characterization of rough surfaces based on scattered signals; and development of Doppler flow systems. He directs WPI's Ultrasound Research Laboratories.

The Satin fellowship was established in 1982 by Leonard Satin in memory of his father, Joseph Satin, and to recognize the outstanding teachers at the alma mater of Leonard's son, Joseph S. Satin II, who graduated from WPI in 1968. The award is also a tribute to the members of the Satin family, who built the Satin America Corp., a supplier of remanufactured circuit breakers, switchgear and unit substations for use in electric power distribution.

Mark W. Richman of Worcester, Mass., is the newest recipient of the Russell M. Searle Instructorship in Mechanical Engineering. An associate professor of mechanical engineering, Richman earned a B.S. in engineering science at the State University of New York at Buffalo, an M.S.E. in applied mechanics at the University of Michigan, and a Ph.D. in theoretical and applied mechanics at Cornell University. He joined the faculty in 1985. Richman's research interests are in constitutive modeling of particulate media. He has worked extensively on the modeling of industrial and geotechnical granular flows. As a member of the Powder Metallurgy Research Center in WPI's Metal Processing Institute, he is now developing theories that govern the compaction of inhomogeneous powders. Richman teaches a variety of courses, including statics, dynamics, stress analysis, elasticity, continuum mechanics, mathematical analysis for engineers and vibrations. He has recently affiliated himself with the Mechanical Engineering Department's aerospace research group and teaches a course on aerospace structures.

The Searle instructorship was established in 1978 by Achsa Brown Searle in memory of her husband, who graduated in 1915. The one-year instructorship recognizes and supports a young member of the mechanical engineering faculty.

Russell Searle, who grew up in Providence, R.I., majored in mechanical engineering. After graduation he went to work on fire-control equipment for the Army and Navy during World War I. After the war he worked for several companies, including Corning Glass Works. He was executive secretary of the Washington-based National Advertising Specialty Association for 20 years before his retirement. He died in 1968.

John M. Sullivan Jr. of Charlotte, Vt., has been awarded the Morgan-Worcester Distinguished Professorship. Sullivan is an associate professor of mechanical engineering and has been a member of the faculty since 1987. He holds a B.S. in zoology and a B.S. and an M.S. in mechanical engineering from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst. He received his doctorate from the Thayer School of Engineering at Dartmouth College. His research and teaching interests are in design of automated mesh generation systems, groundwater flow and contaminant fate and transport forecasting, and numerical solution of partial differential equations in engineering science.

The one-year professorship was established in 1974 through a gift from Morgan Construction Co., manufacturers of rolling mills and steel-making equipment. Morgan family members have been associated with the university since its founding in 1865. Charles Hill Morgan, a WPI trustee from 1866 to 1911, was chosen by WPI to oversee the construction of the Washburn Shops, one of the university's two original buildings. Charles' son Paul B. Morgan (who graduated in 1890), his grandson Philip M. Morgan, and his great-grandson Paul S. Morgan also served as WPI trustees. Morgan Hall, built in 1958, was named for the family.

WPI is an independent technological university founded in 1865. In 1997, U.S. News & World Report ranked WPI among the top 50 national universities in its Best Colleges Guide and 35th among the top national institutions in the magazine's Best College Values report.