J. Iwan D. Alexander, professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering at Case Western Reserve University and director of the National Center for Space Exploration and Research, has been awarded the Exceptional Public Service Medal by the NASA Glenn Research Center. NASA Deputy Administrator Shana Dale and center director Woodrow Whitlow Jr. presented Alexander with the award at the annual Honor Awards ceremony August 7 at NASA Glenn in Cleveland.
"I'm thrilled, yet humbled to have received this great honor from NASA," said Alexander. "While it is surely a tribute to my work, it is also an award I proudly share with my colleagues at the Case School of Engineering and the university."
Alexander was recognized for his exceptional contributions to microgravity research and space exploration in multiple roles, including director of the National Center for Space Exploration and Research (NCSER), which is based at Case Western Reserve, chief scientist and research scientist.
"Iwan Alexander's research contributions, his skillful management of NCSER personnel and assets, and his use of the external research community to serve as effective advocates for microgravity research have immensely helped NASA and Glenn's Research Center," NASA Glenn said in a statement.
Alexander has been conducting research for NASA since 1985. His research interests cover a number of topics ranging from the physics and mechanics of fluid interfaces, vibrational g-jitter convection (the buoyant motion of fluids in a spacecraft in orbit) and transport, to crystal growth and solidification.
Alexander has supported NASA's microgravity program by serving on a number of national committees, including chairing two Gordon Research Conferences and making internationally recognized contributions to microgravity fluid processes. In addition, his expertise in microgravity fluid research garnered him an invitation from the National Research Council's Committee on Microgravity Research that included an assessment of NASA's research in the area in 2000 and provided direction for its future course.
As NCSER's chief scientist for fluids, he has been directly involved in implementing the center's vision to become a focal point for microgravity fluids and combustion research that has helped NASA and the NASA Glenn Research Center develop a knowledge base for the design and development of reliable, efficient and cost-effective space experiments.
"NCSER has positioned itself to be a major resource for NASA's New Exploration Vision," said Alexander. "I'm very proud to be active in bringing that vision to reality."
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