Dr. Henry McDonald, Chair of Excellence in Computational Engineering at The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga, has been selected as one of only three 2008 Honorary Fellows by the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics. The American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA) advances the state of aerospace science, engineering, and technological leadership.
“Being named an Honorary Fellow is the highest honor given to scientists by the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics,” said Dr. David Whitfield, Director, Graduate School of Computational Engineering. “Dr. McDonald is now a member of an elite group of Honorary Fellows that includes names like Neil Armstrong and Orville Wright. This becomes very significant when we recruit researchers and students, because they know they will be rubbing shoulders with one of the world’s best scientists.”
McDonald has a distinguished track-record of research and service in the field of computational engineering.
In 2002 he completed two three-year terms as the Director of NASA Ames Research Center at Moffett Field in California, where he established the NASA Center of Excellence in Information Technology. Considered to be the premier expert of space shuttle safety, he was interviewed by news outlets worldwide after the shuttle Columbia disaster. McDonald wrote a report in 1999 that warned NASA of safety issues in the shuttle program, and he was asked to present testimony during the public hearing by the board investigating the incident.
McDonald has been inducted into the Royal Academy of Engineering. The Academy brings together over 1200 distinguished engineers from all engineering disciplines to promote excellence in engineering for the benefit of the people of the United Kingdom.
He was named a fellow by the Royal Aeronautical Society (UK). He has received numerous honors and awards for his work.
Earlier in his career, McDonald was founder, president and chief executive officer of Scientific Research Associates, Inc., Glastonbury, Conn., where he was also responsible for overall management of the company’s computational physics laboratory which specialized in aero-hydro- and gas dynamics, optical electronics and biomedical research.
During this time McDonald was co-inventor of a patented novel ultra-high frequency ventilator which provides life support to critically ill patients suffering from Adult Respiratory Distress Syndrome (ARDS). ARDS is a disease that affects over 300,000 people in the United States each year. McDonald and his co-inventors were awarded the Small Businessman of the Year Award for High Technology by the State of Connecticut for this achievement.
From 1965 to 1976 McDonald worked as a research engineer for United Technologies Research Center, East Hartford, Conn., where he investigated problems concerning heat transfer and gas dynamics relative to aircraft engine performance and design.
He earned his bachelor’s degree in aeronautical engineering and doctorate in engineering from the University of Glasgow, Scotland.
After graduating from the University of Glasgow, McDonald worked for the British Aircraft Corporation, Warton, England, where he supervised wind tunnel testing, as well as takeoff and landing characteristics of existing and theoretical aircraft designs.
McDonald has written and reviewed many papers on aeronautical research and development, has been a member of several aeronautical associations and has served on several advisory panels within the aeronautical community. He is an accomplished pilot, having trained in the Royal Air Force Reserve, and he is a sailing enthusiast.
The UTC Graduate School of Computational Engineering faculty includes three Fellows named by AIAA: Drs. Bob Melnik and Dave Whitfield. There are also two Associate Fellows: Drs. Kyle Anderson and Steve Karman.