The Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering Department's 2016 Outstanding Alumni Awards

The inaugural recipient of the MAE Distinguished Alumnus Award is Professor Carlos Fernandez-Pello (UC Berkeley) for contributions to advancing fire safety and combustion fundamentals. The inaugural recipients of the MAE Alumni Awards for Impact are Professor Mohammed Zikry (North Carolina State University) for contributions to computational mechanics and modeling and Dr. Bernhard Knigge for contributions to the increase in performance and storage density of hard disk drives. Awards will be presented at the MAE Alumni Awards Ceremony on Thursday, April 14, 2016.

Carlos Fernandez-Pello, recipient of the 2016 MAE Distinguished Alumnus Award, is Professor in the Department of Mechanical Engineering at the University of California, Berkeley. He received a Ph.D. in Engineering Sciences (1975) from the University of California, San Diego, and a Doctor Aeronautical Engineer (1979) from the University of Madrid, Spain. From 1975 to 1977 he was a Postdoctoral Fellow at Harvard University, and from 1977 to 1980 a Research Fellow at Princeton University. He joined the University of California, Berkeley in 1980, where he has been a Full Professor since 1986. From July 2003 to December 2013 he was also Associate Dean of the U.C. Berkeley Graduate Division, where he supervised several units related to university wide graduate studies. In 2009 he was named the Almy C. Maynard and Agnes Offield Maynard Endowed Chair of Mechanical Engineering. Dr. Fernandez-Pello is also a member of the Royal Academy of Engineering in Spain. In 2006 he co-founded Reax Engineering to serve the fire litigation and fire protection community. Dr. Fernandez-Pello teaches courses in thermal-sciences with emphasis on combustion. His research emphasizes spot ignition of wildfires by hot metal particles, sparks and embers, wildland fire development, and material flammability in spacecraft and special earth environments. He is co-author of the book “Fundamental of Combustion Processes” and of four book chapters on material flammability. He has published over 200 papers in archival technical journals and over 250 hundred non-archival papers. His research is or has been funded by NASA, NSF, NIST, DARPA, DOE and ARO. He is, or has been, in the editorial board of several technical journals, and a consultant for government and industry in the USA and abroad.

 Bernhard Knigge, recipient of the 2016 MAE Alumnus Award for Impact, grew up in Germany and studied Physics at the TU Munich and then moved to San Diego to attend graduate school at UCSD.  After he finished his PhD in Engineering Sciences in the year 2000, Bernhard started his career at IBM Almaden Research Center.  His research focused on computer disk drive interface tribology.  Bernhard invented the slider-disk Kelvin Probe measurement which allows increased reliability at sub-nanometer head disk clearances.  This technology is now shipping in many disk drives from HGST and Western Digital.  In 2009 Bernhard joined Western Digital where he has lead a R&D team focusing on head disk spacing control and heat assisted magnetic recording. He is now Director of product integration.  Bernhard wrote over 50 patents covering slider disk touchdown detection, active and passive slider vibration control, disk lubricant design and head disk spacing control.  He authored and co-authored over 40 publications and he mentored many UCSD students.  He is a volunteering board member of the South Bay German School in San Jose.

Mohammed A. Zikry, recipient of the 2016 MAE Alumnus Award for Impact, is the Zan Prevost Smith Professor at North Carolina State University in the Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering. He has received the Jefferson Science Fellowship (U.S. State Department), Senior Research Fulbright Award, the RJ Reynolds Award, the ALCOA Distinguished Research Award, Research Excellence AWARD (NCSU), and the Ralph Teetor Research Award from the Society of Automotive Engineering. He has been awarded a Professeur, Premiere Classe, Strasbourg University, and is a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), the American Society of Mechanical Engineering (ASME), the editor in Chief of the ASME Journal of Engineering Materials and Technology, the Regional Editor for Mechanics of Materials, and was Chair of the Executive Committee of ASME’s Material’s Division. He has been a senior research advisor to the Army Research Office and a consultant to numerous industries. He received his Ph.D. from the University of California, San Diego, his M.S. from the Johns Hopkins University, and his B.S. from the University of Kansas.  

Thursday, March 3, 2016