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Sheldon Weinbaum
Weinbaum ’59 Adds Two Prestigious Honors to Distinguished Career

Sheldon Weinbaum ’59, a CUNY Distinguished Professor of Mechanical and Biomedical Engineering at The City College of New York, was awarded a 2002 Guggenheim Fellowship and was elected to the National Academy of Sciences in April.

Weinbaum was one of three engineers elected this year to the National Academy of Sciences—one of the highest honors a scientist, engineer, or medical professional can receive. Members of the NAS convene symposia on issues of national importance and advise the federal government on technology and science.

Guggenheim Fellows are selected on the basis of distinguished achievement and exceptional promise for future accomplishment. Previous fellows include Henry Kissinger, Langston Hughes, Linus Pauling, John Watson, Philip Roth, and Martha Graham.

Weinbaum is one of three Guggenheim Fellows in the molecular and cellular biology category this year. His selection in this field is unusual since he is an engineer with no formal training in biology. The Guggenheim award will help fund his current research on the role that the endothelial lining of blood vessels plays in the motion of red and white blood cells and the movement of water across capillaries.

Weinbaum is a founding director of City College’s Center for Biomedical Engineering. He earned his bachelor’s in aeronautical engineering at Rensselaer, and his master’s in applied physics and Ph.D. from Harvard. In 1967 he shifted his field of research from fluid flow and transport in space to fluid flow and transport in the human body.

In 1985 the National Science Foundation awarded him a “Special Creativity” grant for research that led to the discovery of the pore that allows LDL cholesterol to cross the thin gel-like structure that coats the surface of blood vessels known as the endothelial lining.

Among many additional prizes and awards, Weinbaum was inducted into the National Academy of Engineering in 1996. He also has dedicated himself to the recruitment of minority faculty and students into engineering.

Rensselaer Magazine: September 2002
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