Momentum Member Spotlight – October 2012
AIAA Congratulates Professor Jeongmin Ahn of Syracuse University
By Duane Hyland, AIAA Communications
The AIAA Member Spotlight for the month of December 2012 shines on Prof. Jeongmin Ahn, a newly selected AIAA Associate Fellow, and Assistant Professor, Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, Syracuse University, Syracuse, N.Y. Prof. Ahn has been an AIAA member since 2005. He became an AIAA Associate Fellow in 2013.
Prof. Ahn’s area of research interests are in the fields of combustion, power generation, propulsion and thermal management. He has performed an experimental investigation of catalytic and non-catalytic combustion in heat recirculating combustors, solid-oxide fuel cells, micro heat engines, thermoacoustic engines, and thermal transpiration based propulsion and power generation. He has worked on a Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) project to develop an integrated microscale power generator using a solid-oxide fuel cell (SOFC) in a microscale combustor, which was listed as one of six technologies that will “change the world” according to Business 2.0 magazine. Currently, his research is conducted at the Combustion and Energy Research Laboratory (COMER) at Syracuse University.
In addition to his membership with AIAA, Prof. Ahn is a member of several other professional technical societies. Prof. Ahn has published over 20 papers in peer-reviewed journals (including Nature and other high impact journals) and books, and made over 100 technical presentations (including over 20 invited seminars in Korea, Japan, China, Germany and United States).
“When I was young, I was crazy about the cars, airplanes, machines, etc. and have always been interested in ‘the way things work’. I also enjoyed fixing and building things. I knew that I wanted be an engineer,” said Prof. Ahn when asked what inspired him to become an engineer. He continued: “This passion led me to study mechanical and aerospace engineering, eventually earning me multiple engineering degrees.”
Like so many other AIAA Member Spotlight recipients, Prof. Ahn states that his favorite career moments are when he sees former and/or current students’ success in their careers.” Prof. Ahn also enjoys receiving “positive reports about my students from their recruiters, administrators, supervisors, bosses, etc.”
Turning to what he saw as the future of aerospace, Prof. Ahn discussed the need for aerospace to take a greater role in preserving Earth’s environment, pointing out: “Because of growing concerns over global climate change and national energy security, a reduction in the use of fossil fuels is imperative.” He went on to say that concerns about climate change and energy use will “be greatly impacting future aircraft design and commercial manufacturers for cleaner, quieter and more fuel-efficient airplanes.”
For students currently enrolled in college and seeking a degree in aerospace, Prof. Ahn has this advice: “Stimulate your scientific curiosity and imagination, and develop your technical skills based on the fundamental science and engineering knowledge, so that you have a strong technical background in the basic principles and fundamental knowledge behind how things work.” He continued: “In addition, they should start investing their time for the network with professional colleagues. Also, join professional societies in your field, like AIAA, as these societies will allow you to interact with your peers and other professionals, which can only reinforce your knowledge and skills, as well as to help you gain valuable insight into our community.”
To students still in high school but thinking of pursuing an aerospace degree, Prof. Ahn gave this advice: “As my mentor, former astronaut, Paul Ronney, always said: ‘‘Follow your dreams!’ I always bear this motto in my mind. I never gave up on my dream, and I did my best to make my dream come true.” He concluded by reminding today’s students, be they in college or high school that they should “never give up!”
Prof. Ahn concluded our interview by discussing the value of AIAA to aerospace professionals, stating: “It cannot be overstated how important being a member of AIAA is for their professional growth. Joining AIAA opens wide opportunities to connect and interact with other professionals; share research and educational ideas with them in many ways include AIAA meetings, conferences, and peer-reviewed journal publications; enrich their educational and career achievements; and inspire the next generation of engineers and help the engineering community.” Reinforcing the value of AIAA to its members, and the importance of technical societies in general, Ahn stated: “I have worked with our department chair on a greatly valuable investment for both our undergraduate and graduate students, which is the Department Students Membership Initiative. Our department pays the professional society membership fees for all of our students. The Department of Mechanical Aerospace Engineering at Syracuse University now became the first and only in the country, where all students are members of their professional societies!”
AIAA congratulates Prof. Jeongmin Ahn on his selection as an AIAA Associate Fellow and for being named the AIAA Member Spotlight for December 2012.