Marilyn Smith Receives AIAA Aerodynamics Award

Marilyn Smith Receives AIAA Aerodynamics Award
Prof. Marilyn Smith

Professor Marilyn J. Smith has been selected to receive the 2022 American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA) Aerodynamics Award. Established in 1983, the award is presented to an individual with meritorious achievement in the field of applied aerodynamics, recognizing notable contributions in the development, application, and evaluation of aerodynamic concepts and methods. 

Smith’s citation reads, “for contributions to the computational and theoretical aerodynamic analysis of static and dynamic systems with separated flows, particularly for vertical takeoff and landing rotorcraft vehicles.”

“I am honored and humbled to receive this award for my contributions in computational unsteady aerodynamics and aerodynamics for aeroelasticity, particularly for rotating systems.  I am proud to represent Georgia Tech and the School of Aerospace Engineering,” said the triple Yellow Jacket.

Having received her degrees in aerospace engineering from Georgia Tech, Smith attributes her love of aerodynamics to her early undergraduate days. “I always loved aerodynamics from my first courses with professors. John Harper and Al Pierce at Georgia Tech as an undergraduate, and with Dr. Robin Gray in rotorcraft.  Dr. Pierce and Dr. Dave McGill encouraged me to go into unsteady aerodynamics and vibrations (aeroelasticity) from the classes I took with them,” said Smith. Through various research areas, including advanced or urban air mobility (AAM/UAM), unmanned air vehicles (UAV), and future vertical lift (FVL), there are more opportunities than ever for students to explore the field.

“The focus has shifted from military to civilian applications, which opens the door for more students.  In addition, wind and wave sustainable energy fields have very similar needs, and the use of rotorcraft for planetary exploration by NASA has ignited the imagination across the globe,” said the director of the Vertical Lift Research Center of Excellence (VLRCOE).

The VLRCOE is a multi-university team program that combines innovative research and education with collaborations across government, industry, and academia, to train the next generation of aerospace engineers and researchers. The Georgia Tech-led team includes the University of Michigan, Washington University at St. Louis, Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, Ohio State University, the University of Texas at Arlington and the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

“Georgia Tech is helping students prepare for the future of rotorcraft on a number of levels. We have formally begun revamping and updating vertical lift courses, updating the AE capstone design requirements, and in the future we hope to offer vertical lift certificates at both the undergraduate and graduate levels.”


Smith recently presented the Vertical Lift Society’s 42nd Annual Nikolsky Lecture, “Computational Vertical Lift Aeromechanics and Its Future in the Twenty-First Century,” which can be viewed here


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