Research impacts of three faculty earn early career professorships

April 4, 2018

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. – Three assistant professors in the Department of Mechanical and Nuclear Engineering (MNE), Alexander Rattner, Rui Ni, and Stephen Lynch, have all been recognized with early career professorships resulting from their research impacts. 

Early career professorships both recognize and enable  faculty in their beginning years to continue to build their teaching and research efforts.  The early career professorships are endowed through the generous support of Penn State’s alumni.

Alexander Rattner, assistant professor of mechanical engineering, was named the Dorothy Quiggle Professor in Engineering. “This appointment will help support my research group's work in developing new efficient thermal energy technologies for waste heat recovery, power production, and water desalination,” said Rattner.  All these areas are important to the quality of our lives.

“Alex has already had many early successes in his career, particularly given his most recent win of a National Science Foundation Faculty Early Career Development Program Award,” said Karen Thole, distinguished professor and department head of mechanical and nuclear engineering. “Alex’s approach to understanding components that lead to more efficient energy systems has already attracted the attention and support of other agencies as well. He is advising a strongteam of student researchers to pave the way for improving the lives of many.”

Stephen Lynch, assistant professor of mechanical engineering and director of the Experimental and Computational Convection Laboratory, was recently named the Shuman Professor of Mechanical and Nuclear Engineering through the endowed gift from Clyde Shuman (‘68, BSME).

“Dr. Lynch has successfully received support from industry and was recently chosen for the Office of Naval Research Young Investigator Program award,” said Thole. “In addition, he is quite active in the gas turbine community through his service efforts, and students speak highly of his teaching methods.”

While Lynch says it is a significant honor for him, he also credits his research group for his achievement.

He explains, “My group works on advanced cooling technologies for jet engines and power applications, including advanced manufacturing technologies – specifically 3D metal printing – for next generation heat exchangers. This professorship will enable us to try novel ideas, and help to support undergraduate researchers to encourage them to consider graduate school.”

Rui Ni, assistant professor of mechanical engineering, was awarded the Kenneth Kuan-Yun Kuo Early Career Professorship. Established in 2010 through the endowed gift made by Emeritus Professor Kenneth Kuo, the professorship is designed to foster the success of faculty members whose research focuses on thermal sciences with application to propulsion, energy, combustion, and the environment.

Originally trained as a physicist, Ni’s research focuses on multiphase fluids and their larger implications in energy systems. “For most natural environments and industrial applications, the energy systems are never single-phased,” he explained.

A common example is power plants, especially nuclear power systems where coolant, usually water, maintains a safe reactor temperature at all times. “Two-phase heat transfer is ubiquitous in many power plants,” he said. “That’s where my research would come in; you really need to understand the complex flow physics in different regimes to design the power plant that is inherently safe in different scenarios.”

Reflecting on the early successes of the faculty members, Thole explained, “Early career professorships are an important way to help faculty in their initial years achieve new heights in their career.”

 

Share this story:

facebook linked in twitter email
Alexander Rattner

Alexander Rattner, assistant professor of mechanical engineering, was named the Dorothy Quiggle Professor in Engineering.

Headshot of Rui Ni

Rui Ni, assistant professor of mechanical engineering, was awarded the Kenneth Kuan-Yun Kuo Early Career Professorship.

Stephen Lynch

Stephen Lynch, assistant professor of mechanical engineering and director of the Experimental and Computational Convection Laboratory, was named the Shuman Professor of Mechanical and Nuclear Engineering.

 
 

About

The Department of Mechanical and Nuclear Engineering at Penn State is one of the nation’s largest and most successful engineering departments. We serve more than 1,000 undergraduate students and more than 330 graduate students

We offer B.S. degrees in mechanical engineering and nuclear engineering as well as resident (M.S., Ph.D.) and online (M.S., M.Eng.) graduate degrees in nuclear engineering and mechanical engineering. MNE's strength is in offering hands-on experience in highly relevant research areas, such as energy, homeland security, biomedical devices, and transportation systems.

Department of Mechanical and Nuclear Engineering

137 Reber Building

The Pennsylvania State University

University Park, PA 16802-4400

Phone: 814-865-2519