Public Release: 

'Top flight' mathematician receives presidential early career award

Virginia Tech

BLACKSBURG, April 12, 2000--Jeffrey Borggaard, assistant professor of mathematics at Virginia Tech, whose research is sponsored by the Air Force Office of Scientific Research, received the prestigious Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers (PECASE) today (April 12) in a ceremony at the White House.

This award is the highest honor bestowed by the U.S. government on young professionals who are at the outset of their independent research careers. The award includes a five-year, $500,000 research grant. Borggaard was one of two researchers from Virginia Tech to receive the award, which recognizes the researchers' efforts in conducting top-quality research in areas of critical importance to the Air Force.

"These researchers have made important contributions to the science and technology needs of the Air Force," said Joe Janni, director of the Air Force Office of Scientific Research.

"Dr. Borggaard's work on continuous sensitivity equation methods for nonlinear partial differential equations has produced new and powerful computational tools with wide applications to the design, control, and optimization of aerospace systems," said Marc Jacobs, program manager in AFOSR's Directorate of Mathematics and Space Sciences. "For the Air Force, this work provides the foundation for new software that can reduce design cycle times from years to weeks. The payoffs are exciting applications to the design of aerospace vehicles, optimization of propulsion systems, and the control of aerodynamic flows."

Borggaard, who received his doctorate in mathematics from Virginia Tech in 1995, studies problems such as how to develop wind tunnels to test aircraft engines for safety and performance under flight conditions. Wind tunnels simulate these conditions by directing air flow toward the engine. Borggaard's mathematical "shape optimization" work helps make the wind tunnel simulation as close to the real thing as possible.

Borggaard will use the PECASE award for his research called "Control and Optimization Tools for Systems Governed by Nonlinear Partial Differential Equations." He will look at ways to control turbulent flows; this could be used to reduce the drag force on planes. A potential benefit would be that planes may feel less drag force, allowing them to travel farther and use less fuel.

These presidential awards, established by President Clinton in 1996, embody the high priority the administration places on producing outstanding scientists and engineers and nurturing their continued development. Eight federal departments join together annually to nominate the most meritorious young scientists and engineers who will advance science and technology that will be of the greatest benefit to the participating government agencies.

Borggaard received a B.S. and an M.S. in mechanical engineering and a M.S. in applied mathematics, all from Worcester Polytechnic Institute, before coming to Virginia Tech to earn the Ph.D. He has served as a mechanical engineer with the Naval Underwater Systems Center, a research assistant professor at Virginia Tech, and an NSF post-doctoral associate at Cornell University.

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The media contact at the NSF is Charles Drum 703-306-1070 cdrum@nsf.gov

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