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William Sirignano
Sirignano ’59 Elected to NAE

William Sirignano ’59, a professor at the University of California, Irvine, whose work has helped to conserve energy and minimize pollution emitted by combustion engines, was elected to the National Academy of Engineering in February. He was cited for “contributions to the science and technology of spray combustion systems for propulsion.”

Sirignano is professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering, and chemical engineering and materials science, in the Henry Samueli School of Engineering at UC Irvine.

Sirignano’s research employs mathematical and computational methods to better understand the behavior of liquid fuels in a variety of engine types, including rocket, turbojet, diesel, and stationary gas turbine engines. He has studied the dynamics of minute fuel droplets in order to better understand the macroscale workings of the combustion engine. Sirignano’s fundamental research findings appeared in his most recent book, Fluid Dynamics and Transport of Droplets and Sprays, published in 1999 by Cambridge University.

Sirignano joined UC Irvine in 1985 as dean of the engineering school, a role he held until 1994. He previously served as the George Tallman Ladd Professor and head of the Department of Mechanical Engineering at Carnegie-Mellon University, and as professor at Princeton University. He earned his bachelor’s degree in aeronautical engineering at Rensselaer and a doctorate in aerospace and mechanical sciences from Princeton.

Sirignano’s research has been recognized by numerous professional societies. He is a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, American Physical Society, American Society for Mechanical Engineering, and the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics.

Sirignano’s election brings to three the number of Class of ’59 members elected to the NAE. Sheldon Weinbaum shared the same undergraduate major as Sirignano. Weinbaum noted: “We were both in the old aerospace department. It is quite unusual for two to be elected from the same class and same department, which had less than 50 graduates.” Stephen Harris, the third member of the Class of ’59 elected to the NAE, earned his degree in electrical engineering.

Rensselaer Magazine: September 2002
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