The Royal Aeronautical Society (RAeS) (UK) presented its 2009 Gold Medal Award to Dr. Henry McDonald, UTC Distinguished Professor and Chair of Excellence in Engineering. The award was presented by RAeS President Dr. M.F. Steeden at the 98th Wilber & Orville Wright Lecture on December 10, 2009, in London, England.
The RAeS Gold Medal is conferred for work of an outstanding nature in aerospace. McDonald, who also holds the title of Director, THEC Center of Excellence in Applied Computational Science and Engineering, is widely known for his leadership in aerospace engineering and expertise in computational fluid dynamics, supercomputing and information technology, artificial intelligence applications, and bio/information nanotechnologies.
“With this exceptional international honor, Dr. McDonald continues to bring distinction to the University,” said Chancellor Roger Brown.
McDonald is especially well known for his national leadership while Director of NASA Ames Research Center in Mountain View, California. From 1996 to 2002, McDonald led a transformation of the Center Mission. He was Chair of the Space Shuttle Independent Assessment Team in 2000 and also chaired a Review of Aerodynamic Issues on the V-22 Osprey in 2001. He received the NASA Outstanding Leadership Medal in 1997 and 2000, and the Distinguished Service Medal in 2001.
His career includes high-level positions in business, government and academic sectors, including 16 years as founder, president, and CEO of Scientific Research Associates, Inc. in Glastonbury Connecticut. He holds an Honorary Doctor of Engineering Degree from the University of Glasgow and is a member of the US National Academy of Engineering and Fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering. He is also Fellow and Honorary Member of both the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics and the American Society of Mechanical Engineers.
According to the RAeS website, “the Royal Aeronautical Society has been honouring outstanding achievers in the global aerospace industry since 1908, when Wilbur and Orville Wright came to London to receive the Society’s first Gold Medal. In the years that have followed, honouring world aerospace achievers has become a permanent tradition of the Society.”