AIAA Member Spotlight – August 2012
AIAA Congratulates Dr. John P. Sullivan
By: Duane Hyland, AIAA Communications
AIAA’s Member Spotlight shines on Dr. John P. Sullivan, AIAA Fellow, Professor, and Director of the Center for Advanced Manufacturing, at Purdue University in West Lafayette, IN, for the month of August. Sullivan is the 2012 winner of the AIAA Aerodynamic Measurement Technology Award.
Sullivan’s research interests include experimental aerodynamics, laser instrumentation, and molecular sensors including temperature and pressure sensitive paints. His current research is in experimental aerodynamics, comparing experimental data with computational analysis for various wind tunnel models, gas turbine engines, and flight tests. In addition, he is working to develop wall shear sensors with the necessary space and time resolutions for high Reynolds number turbulent flows.
Sullivan’s desire to enter the aerospace profession stemmed from one of his earliest classroom experiences – taking model aircraft to his first grade class for show-and-tell. Much later on, in high school, Sullivan stated that “a teacher was a strong influence through all four years – from receiving the early Sputnik signals to visiting the NASA Lewis Research Center, now the John H. Glenn Research Center at Lewis Field. Sullivan also credits his many flights in general aviation aircraft to firing his passion for aerospace.
Like so many other oustanding educators, Sullivan said that his favorite career moments have been “seeing the success of former students in aerospace leadership, teaching and research roles.”
Sullivan reported that his recent work with NASA’s Fundamental Aeronautics Program was a “grand opportunity” to gain a birds-eye view of the future of aerospace, noting that “the vision of NASA, industry, and academia for new subsonic and supersonic aircraft and their integration into the NextGen airspace is particularly inspiring.”
When asked what advice he had for students still in college, working on their aerospace degrees, Sullivan issued very simple advice: “Dream, try your best, and do “it” now!”For those students still in high school and who are thinking about pursuing an aerospace degree once they are in college, Sullivan advised: “That they too should dream, try your best and do it now, but they should realize that there are many good jobs in aerospace.” Sullivan continued “Over the past forty years I have seen the ups and downs of the aerospace industry, but the younger students need to remember that it has always been true that good students, with a high degree of passion for aerospace have always found good jobs.”
Sullivan concluded our interview by talking about the value of AIAA to the aerospace community. Sullivan feels that “the ability, through AIAA, to interact with world class educators and researchers, is the primary value of AIAA.”
AIAA congratulates Dr. Sullivan for his winning the AIAA Aerodynamic Measurement Technology Award, and for his selection as the AIAA Member Spotlight for August 2012. We wish him the best on his continuation of his research, and on his work with NASA to usher in the next generation of flight.