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Affiliated Department or Office
PhD Aeronautics and Astronautics Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) 1991
MS Aeronautics and Astronautics Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) 1987
MS Atmospheric Sciences University of Michigan 1986
BS Physics Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, Thessaloniki, Greece 1983

Nikolaos A. Gatsonis received an undergraduate degree in Physics at the Aristotelian University of Thessaloniki, Greece (1983), an M.S. in Atmospheric Science at the University of Michigan (1996), an M.S. (1987) and a Ph.D. (1991) in the Aeronautics and Astronautics department of MIT. From 1991 to 1993 he was a Postdoctoral Fellow at the Space Department of the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory. In 1994 he joined the Mechanical Engineering faculty at WPI, promoted to Associate Professor in 2000 and to Professor in 2005. He is the Founding Director of the B.S. (2005), M.S. (2014) and Ph.D. (2014) programs in Aerospace Engineering at WPI and was Associate Department Head of Mechanical Engineering from 2007 to 2010. He was named inaugural Head of the Aerospace Engineering Department in 2020.

computational methods for fluids, gases and plasmas in regimes that range from nanoscale to macroscale and low- speed to hypersonic. He applies these methods to areas of spacecraft micropropulsion, plasma devices and diagnostics, spacecraft-environment interactions, rarefied gasdynamics, complex flows under microgravity, and materials processing, nanospacecraft attitude dynamics and control, real-time control/estimation applications of UAVs, and modeling of biofluids under microgravity. He has participated in spacecraft propulsion development programs such as the NASA GRC EO-1 Pulsed Plasma Thruster, the JHU APL micro-liquid-fed PPT, the BUSEK Inc. Advanced micro Pulsed Plasma Thruster which flew onboard the FalconSat-3, the BUSEK Compact Induced Current Hall Thruster, and the BUSEK High Current Hollow Cathode Tungsten Emitter. He participated in mission design of the Nuclear Electric Propulsion Space Test Program (NEPSTP) satellite and in space flight programs such as the Active Geophysical Rocket Experiment (AGRE), the Active Plasma Experiment (APEX), the Vehicle Interactions Program (VIP), and the Environmental Monitor Package (EMP). Funding for his research has been sponsored by AFOSR’s Computational Mathematics Program, AFOSR’s Dynamics and Controls Program, the Army Research Laboratory, DARPA, NSF’s Nanotechnology and Interdisciplinary Research Initiative, DOE, NSF’s Nanoscale Exploratory Research, NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory, the NASA John H. Glenn Research Center, the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory, NASA’s Microgravity Materials Program, NASA PSI Program, ONR NEEC Program, and NASA’s Massachusetts Space Grant Consortium. He has established a strong record of industrial collaborations and support through numerous STTR and SBIR programs. He has advised more than 30 graduate students pursuing Ph.D. dissertations and Masters theses, supervised more than 10 Postdoctoral Fellows, and has over 125 publications.

Professor Gatsonis has developed and taught at WPI numerous undergraduate and graduate courses in fluid dynamics, aerodynamics, plasmas, propulsion, and computational methods. He advised more than fifty senior design theses (Major Qualifying Projects). He also taught several graduate courses at industrial settings. He has been involved in the development and delivery of a variety of K-12 STEM outreach programs funded by NASA’s Space Grant Consortium.

Scholarly Work

N. A. Gatsonis, X. Tian, M. Demetriou, J. Burns, ”A heterogeneous non-overlapping domain decomposition explicit finite volume method for a real-time hybrid process-state estimator of 3D unsteady advection-diffusion fields,” Journal of Computational Physics, Vol. 464,  Issue C, 111257, Sept. 2022,

W. Hu, M. A. Demetriou, X. Tian, N. A. Gatsonis, “Hybrid domain decomposition filters for advection-diffusion PDEs with mobile sensors,” Automatica, Vol. 138, April 2022, 110109.

A.K. Moorthy, J. J Blandino, M.A. Demetriou, and N. A. Gatsonis "Extended orbital flight of a CubeSat in the lower thermosphere with active attitude control," AIAA Journal of Spacecraft and Rockets, Vol. 58, Issue 6, pp 1876-1892, Dec. 2021, doi: 10.2514/1.A34975 

J. Yang and N. A. Gatsonis, “A Smooth Dissipative Particle Dynamics method for nonisothermal liquid and gas flows in bounded domains,” Journal of Computational Physics, Vol. 394, pp. 679-699, Oct. 2019, doi: 10.1016/

S. Averkin and N. A. Gatsonis, “A parallel electrostatic Particle-in-Cell method on unstructured tetrahedral grids for large-scale bounded collisionless plasma simulations,” Journal of Computational Physics, Vol. 363, pp. 178-199, June 2018, doi: 10.1016/

S. Averkin, N. A. Gatsonis, and L. Olson, “Investigation of the radio frequency discharge in a high current negative hydrogen ion source with a global enhanced vibrational kinetic model,” IEEE Transactions on Plasma Science, Vol. 45, No. 9, pp. 2460 – 2471, Sept.  2017, doi: 10.1109/TPS.2017.2738920.

Professional Highlights & Honors
John Woodman Higgins Professor, 2013

George I. Alden Chair in Engineering, 2007

WPI Trustees Award for Outstanding Research and Creative Scholarship, 2004

Norton/Saint Cobain Award in Recognition of Leadership in Integrated Graduate and Undergraduate Research, 1998

Morgan Distinguished Instructorship in Mechanical Engineering, 1995


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