2023 AIAA Durand Lectureship for Public Service Awarded to MIT’s Wesley Harris Written 12 December 2022


Lecture will be Delivered on 25 January, During 2023 AIAA SciTech Forum


Wesley L. Harris, Charles Stark Draper Professor of Aeronautics and Astronautics, MIT

December 12, 2022 – Reston, Va. – The American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA) is pleased to announce the 2023 AIAA Durand Lectureship for Public Service is awarded to Wesley Harris, Charles Stark Draper Professor of Aeronautics and Astronautics, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Harris will deliver his lecture, “A Half Century of Research in Fluid Dynamics,” Wednesday, 25 January, 1800 hrs ET, during the 2023 AIAA SciTech Forum, National Harbor, Maryland. Registration is open to attend in person or online. Journalists can request a Press Pass here.

The Durand Lectureship for Public Service, named in honor of William F. Durand, Ph.D., is presented for notable achievements by a scientific or technical leader whose contributions have led directly to the understanding and application of the science and technology of aeronautics and astronautics for the betterment of humanity. Durand was a United States naval officer and a pioneer in mechanical engineering. During his remarkable 99-year life, Durand contributed significantly to the development of aircraft propellers. He was the first civilian chair of the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics (NACA), the forerunner of NASA.

The Institute’s Public Policy Committee takes pride in selecting accomplished leaders in aeronautics and astronautics for this honor who can share their knowledge through the Durand Lecture for Public Service.

Harris is currently the Charles Stark Draper Professor of Aeronautics and Astronautics at MIT. From 2003 to 2008, he served as MIT’s Head of the Department of Aeronautics and Astronautics. He also held several faculty and administrative positions at MIT between 1972 and 1985, including Professor of Aeronautics and Astronautics. Harris’s research areas have included unsteady aerodynamics, aeroacoustics, rarefied gas dynamics, sustainment of capital assets, hypersonics, and chaos in sickle cell disease. He is credited with more than 130 technical papers. Harris also served as Associate Administrator for Aeronautics, NASA (1993–1995), Vice President and Chief Administrative Officer, University of Tennessee Space Institute (1990–1993), and Dean of the School of Engineering and Professor of Mechanical Engineering at the University of Connecticut (1985–1990). He received his Bachelor of Science degree (with Honors) in Aerospace Engineering from the University of Virginia (1964) and his Ph.D. in Aerospace and Mechanical Sciences from Princeton University (1968).

Among his many honors, Harris is an Honorary Fellow of AIAA and a member of the National Academy of Engineering (NAE). He was elected vice president of NAE in 2022.

This lecture will speak on the primary engineering challenges, related research hypotheses, relevant questions, appropriate research tools, and assessment of results in selected areas of hypersonics, helicopter rotor acoustics, unsteady nonlinear transonics, and hematology. This corpus of work is driven by seminal achievements of outstanding graduate students, often working in mutual critical groups. This diversity of research investigations is matched by the diversity of participating graduate students, including racially underrepresented, women, and international students. The supporting (sustainable) research ecosystem also contributed to the quality of the process and results.

For more information about the AIAA Honors and Awards program, contact Patricia A. Carr at patriciac@aiaa.org.

Media Contact: Rebecca B. Gray, APR, RebeccaG@aiaa.org, 804.397.5270 (cell)

About AIAA
The American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA) is the world’s largest aerospace technical society. With nearly 30,000 individual members from 91 countries, and 100 corporate members, AIAA brings together industry, academia, and government to advance engineering and science in aviation, space, and defense. For more information, visit www.aiaa.org, and follow AIAA on TwitterFacebook, LinkedIn, and Instagram.