UH Engineering Professor Receives High Honor From Caltech


Erin D. McKenzie

A longtime Cullen College of Engineering professor was recently named a Moore Distinguished Scholar by the California Institute of Technology.

Fazle Hussain, Hugh Roy & Lillie Cranz Cullen Distinguished Professor of Mechanical Engineering, is the sole recipient of the award for the 2008-09 year in the division of engineering and applied sciences.

The Gordon and Betty Moore Distinguished Scholar Program was established in 2000 by Gordon and Betty Moore to invite researchers of exceptional quality, who are distinguished at both the national and international level, to visit Caltech for three to six months.

“There are no teaching or other obligations during the appointment, allowing the Moore Scholars to focus on research,” said Marlys Murray, the executive assistant for academic affairs in the division of engineering and applied sciences. “The program is unique and brings exceptional researchers to Caltech to infuse our community with vigorous, inspired discussions and share the details through seminars and lectures.”

Beginning in January, Hussain, a celebrated researcher in the areas of fluid dynamics and vortex mechanics, will start his six-month visit to the Pasadena, Calif. university. Here, he will interact with students and faculty—collaborating on research with Professor Mory Gharib, Hans W. Liepmann Professor of Aeronautics and Bioengineering. He will work alongside Gharib whose research is focused on everything from bioinspired design and mechanics to nano fluid mechanics.

“Fazle Hussain is a world-renowned authority in fluid mechanics,” Gharib said. “The Gordon Moore award brings high-quality scientists to campus so we have the chance to experience research and academics alongside them. I’m looking forward for his time here. We hope this experience will be as rewarding for him as it will be for us.”

Hussain shares Gharib’s excitement for the opportunity.

“I was thrilled to learn of the selection, and readily accepted the invitation,” said Hussain of the honor. “I am looking forward to having exciting discussion and collaboration with Caltech faculty and students who are among the best in the world.”

In addition to collaborating on research, Hussain said he will also give several seminars for which titles include The Looming Crisis of Air Traffic Capacity: What Can Vortex Dynamics do?, Regeneration Mechanism in Turbulent Layers and Drag Reduction and An Institute of Advanced Studies for Solving the Problems Facing Humanity.

Hussain holds a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering from Bangladesh University of Engineering & Technology. He received a master’s and Ph.D. in mechanical engineering from Stanford University in 1966 and 1969, respectively.

Following a post-doc at Johns Hopkins University, he joined the UH faculty in 1971, six years after coming to the United States from Bangladesh. Throughout his career he has received more than $10 million in research funding from state and federal organizations as well as published more than 250 scientific papers. He’s received four coveted awards in fluid dynamics from the American Physical Society, the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics and the American Society of Mechanical Engineers. Hussain, a member of the National Academy of Engineering, was awarded the University of Houston’s highest faculty honor, the Esther Farfel Award in 2007.

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