It’s time to pop open the bottles of champagne for three University faculty members who will become the newest inductees of the National Academy of Engineering this fall.
The NAE announced Friday that Prof. Emeritus Richard Woods, chemical engineering Prof. Ronald Larson and civil and environmental engineering Prof. Linda Abriola, along with 74 other engineers, will be inducted into the academy on Oct. 12.
For the first time in University history, three engineering faculty members were elected to the academy in the same year, Engineering School Dean Stephen Director said. He added that two University engineering faculty were elected last year.
Engineers are nominated and elected to the NAE by members of the academy. “It’s a great, great honor – the NAE is about the highest honor an engineer can hope for,” Larson said.
“I think it’s the recognition by my peers that’s most significant,” Woods said.
Woods, who retired from the University last May after 35 years on the faculty, said the induction honors a lifetime of work. “It’s recognition that I’ve served my profession well and served the educational community well for 35 years at Michigan,” he said.
Woods worked on minimizing damage to bridges and tall buildings in earthquake zones. He also designed platforms that reduced vibrations caused by heavy machinery and created stable, vibration-free zones for delicate instruments.
Larson is the G. G. Brown chairman of Chemical Engineering Department. Before coming to the University in 1996, Larson worked on optical fibers and holographic storage materials at AT&T Bell Laboratory for 16 years. Larson said he came to the University to work on biotech uses of polymers and “complex fluids” – substances that have properties of both fluids and solids, such as plastics.
Abriola, a University faculty member since 1984, specializes in the study of groundwater contamination.
She won the Outstanding Educator Award from the Association for Women Geoscientists in 1996 and was designated the Darcy Distinguished Lecturer of the National Ground Water Association.
The NAE has 2,138 American members and 165 foreign associates. There are about 1.2 million engineers in the United States, Director said.
Academy nominations rely on an engineer’s contributions to engineering theory and practice and accomplishments in research and education, according to a written release sent out by the NAE.