I Give

2000-2001

Seven Faculty Members Tenured, Nine Promoted at WPI

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE/April 6, 2001
Contact: WPI Media Relations, 508-831-5616

WORCESTER, Mass. - The designer of an experiment for the International Space Station, an expert on American Freemasonry, and a fractal analysis expert who is also a world-class skier are among the faculty members at Worcester Polytechnic Institute who were recently promoted and tenured.

Jonathan R. Barnett of Auburn, Mass., has been promoted to professor of fire protection engineering. A mainstay of the Fire Protection Engineering program at WPI for many years, he has created courses now taught internationally and has pioneered new teaching methods involving instructional technology and distance learning. His research on computer fire modeling and computational methods has contributed to science-based approaches to fire protection engineering design and analysis. He earned a B.S. and an M.S. civil engineering from WPI, in 1974 and 1976, respectively, and received a Ph.D. in mechanical engineering from the University in 1989. He joined the faculty in 1979 and was promoted to associate professor in 1995.

Isa Bar-On of Newton Center, Mass., has been promoted to professor of mechanical engineering. Her research focuses on fractal and fatigue behavior of advanced materials with a special emphasis on material development and design with brittle materials. She has been recognized by the American Society for Testing and Materials for her work to establish a scientific groundwork for national and international standards to determine fracture toughness of advanced ceramics. An assistant professor at WPI since 1985, she was named associate professor in 1990. She earned a Ph.D. and an M.S. in materials science in 1984 and 1977, respectively, and a B.S. in mathematics and physics in 1974, all from Hebrew University of Jerusalem.

Christopher A. Brown of Norwich, Vt., has been promoted to professor of mechanical engineering. Director of WPI's Manufacturing Engineering Program since last year, he joined the faculty in 1989 as an assistant professor and was named associate professor in 1993. His expertise in fractal analysis has been applied to such diverse problems as the interaction of space shuttle tires and runways, and potato chips and the human tongue. A world-class skier, he teaches a course on the technology of alpine skiing. He received a Ph.D. and an M.S. in mechanical engineering from the University of Vermont in 1983 and 1979, respectively, and a B.A. in political science from the same university in 1975. He was with the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology from 1983 to 1988, and was a senior research engineer with the European Research Centre for Atlas Copco from 1988 to 1989.

Steven C. Bullock of Holden, Mass., has been promoted to professor of history. A scholar of American history, he is an international authority on colonial and revolutionary North America. His research examines Freemasonry and its place in the development of American society and politics. He is currently lecturing on American history at Ryukyus University in Japan on a Fulbright grant. He earned a Ph.D. and an A.M. in history from Brown University in 1986 and 1982, respectively, and received an M.A. in history from SUNY-Binghamton in 1980 and a B.A. in history from Houghton College in 1978.

Peter R. Christopher of Shrewsbury, Mass., has been promoted to professor of mathematical sciences. A faculty member at WPI for 37 years, he has been actively involved in WPI's global program, having advised more than 100 students in project centers around the world. He was named assistant professor in 1969 and associate professor in 1983. He earned his Ph.D, M.A. and B.A. degrees in mathematics at Clark University in 1982, 1963 and 1959, respectively. From 1992 and 1993, he investigated the state of mathematics in Albania (where his parents were born) under a grant from the International Research and Exchanges Board (IREX).

Nicholas A. Dembsey of Shrewsbury, Mass., has received tenure and has been promoted to associate professor of fire protection engineering. Developer of WPI's fire science laboratory, he investigates the fire characteristics of composite materials and identifies risk in performance-based building codes. An assistant professor at WPI since 1995, he earned a Ph.D. and an M.S. in civil engineering from University of California at Berkeley in 1995 and 1988 respectively, and a B.S. in civil engineering from the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor in 1986.

Michael B. Elmes of Holden, Mass., has been promoted to professor of management. He joined the faculty as an assistant professor in 1990 and was named associate professor in 1995. His research interests examine the intersection of organizational change, strategy and information systems. He received his Ph.D. in business administration from Syracuse University in 1989, an M.A. in counseling from Colgate University in 1979, and a B.S. in biology and psychology from Union College in 1975. From 1979 to 1984, he worked as a career counselor.

James C. Hermanson of Paxton, Mass., has received tenure as an associate professor of mechanical engineering, a position he has held since 1997. Prior to joining the faculty as an assistant professor in 1995, he was a research scientist at United Technologies Research Center and an engineer at Boeing Aerospace. His expertise in heat transfer, fluid mechanics and combustion has earned him funding from NASA, the National Science Foundation and United Technologies Corp. An experiment he designed will be one of the first to be conducted on the International Space Station. He received M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in aeronautics from California Institute of Technology in 1980 and 1985, respectively, and a B.S. in aeronautics and astronautics from University of Washington in 1977.

Hamid Johari of Worcester, Mass., has been promoted to professor of mechanical engineering. An assistant professor at WPI since 1989, he was named associate professor in 1995 and has served as director of WPI's Aerospace Program. His work is internationally recognized and supported by grants from NASA and the National Science Foundation. He received his Ph.D. and M.S. degrees in aeronautics and astronautics from the University of Washington in 1989 and 1984, respectively, and a B.S. in engineering and applied science from California Institute of Technology in 1983.

Lok C. Lew Yan Voon of Holden, Mass., has been granted tenure and promoted to associate professor of physics. An assistant professor at WPI since 1997, he was previously a visiting assistant professor and visiting scholar at WPI, a post-doctoral research fellow at the Max Planck Institut fur Festkorperforschung, and a consulting physicist at Quantum Semiconductor Algorithms. He recently received a prestigious CAREER Award from the National Science Foundation and has received grant support from the Air Force Office of Scientific Research. He holds a Ph.D. in theoretical physics from WPI (1993), an M.A. and a B.A. in natural sciences from the University of Cambridge (1991 and 1987, respectively), and an M.Sc. in theoretical physics from the University of British Columbia in 1989.

Makhlouf M. Makhlouf of Shrewsbury, Mass., has received tenure as an associate professor of mechanical engineering. He has an international reputation for his materials science scholarship and has served as director of the Aluminum Casting Research Laboratory, part of WPI's Metal Processing Institute, since 1992. He was named associate professor in 1998. He earned a Ph.D. in materials science and engineering at WPI in 1990, an M.S. in mechanical engineering from New Mexico State University in 1980, and a B.S. in materials science and engineering from American University in Cairo in 1980. He was a senior research engineer for Dresser Industries from 1980 to 1986.

Christof Paar of North Hampton, Mass., has received tenure and has been promoted to associate professor of electrical and computer engineering. An assistant professor at WPI since 1995, he also has been a research fellow at the Institute for Experimental Mathematics since 1991. A recipient of the National Science Foundation CAREER Award and other NSF and corporate grants, he has organized and conducted two international workshops on cryptographic hardware and embedded systems. He received a Ph.D. in electrical engineering from the University of Essen in Germany in 1994, an M.S. in electrical engineering from the University of Sigen in 1991, and a B.S. in electrical engineering from Fachhochschule Koln in 1988.

Stephen W. Pierson of Worcester, Mass., has been granted tenure and has been promoted to associate professor of physics. An assistant professor at WPI since 1996, he is the first recipient of the Romeo L. Moruzzi Young Faculty Award for innovation in undergraduate education. A postdoctoral fellow in the electronic materials branch of the Naval Research Laboratory from 1993 to 1996, he earned a Ph.D. in physics at the University of Minnesota in 1993 and received a B.A. in physics from Concordia College in 1988.

Gabor N. Sarkozy of Sterling, Mass., has been promoted to associate professor of computer science. He joined the WPI faculty as assistant professor at WPI in 1996 after serving as a visiting professor at University of California, Berkeley, and a lecturer at the University of Pennsylvania. His research in graph theory and combinatorics has been published widely in leading journals. He received both his Ph.D. and M.S. degrees in computer science from Rutgers University in 1994, and a Diploma in mathematics from Budapest Eotvos Lorand University in Hungary in 1990.

Kristin N. Wobbe of Lexington, Mass., has received tenure and has been promoted to associate professor of chemistry and biochemistry. An assistant professor at WPI since 1995, she was previously an NSF postdoctoral fellow at Rutgers University for three years and a postdoctoral supervisor at Harvard Medical School from 1990 to 1991. Largely responsible for securing more than $300,000 in support from the National Science Foundation to renovate teaching and research laboratories at WPI, she has submitted 19 proposals for federal funding in her years at WPI. She received a Ph.D. in biochemistry from Harvard University in 1991 and a B.A. in chemistry from St. Olaf College in 1983.

Alex A. Zozulya of Ashland, Mass., has been promoted to associate professor of physics. Considered one of his generation's top 10 optical physicists in the world, he has been an assistant professor at WPI since 1998. He previously served in several postdoctoral positions at the Joint Institute for Laboratory Astrophysics at the University of Colorado, Boulder, and the Lebedev Physics Institute, originally part of the Academy of Sciences of the USSR. He received a Ph.D. in theoretical and mathematical physics from the Lebedev Physics Institute in 1984 and a B.Sc. from Moscow Engineering Physical Institute in 1978.

Founded in 1865, WPI was a pioneer in technological higher education. Early on, it developed an influential curriculum that balanced theory and practice. Since 1970, that philosophy has been embodied in an innovative outcomes-oriented undergraduate program. With a network of project centers that spans the globe, WPI is also the leader in globalizing technological education. WPI awarded its first advanced degree in 1898. Today, most of WPI's academic departments offer master's and doctoral programs and support leading edge research in a broad range of areas.