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Sol Penner Wins National Academy’s ‘Founders Award’

Stanford S. "Sol" Penner won the National Academy of Engineering's 2007 Founders Award as recognition for "outstanding professional, educational, and personal achievement to the benefit of society." Penner, the founding chair of the Department of Aerospace and Mechanical Engineering Sciences at UCSD, has made important advances in thermophysics, applied spectroscopy, combustion, propulsion, and energy.

"We owe a huge debt of gratitude to Sol, not only for decades of his leadership, but also for his generosity in many ways, particularly in establishing an important lecture series in the Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering (MAE), and now an endowed chair, the Stanford S. & Beverly P. Penner Endowed Chair in Engineering or Applied Science," said Jacobs School dean Frieder Seible at February 2008 celebration honoring Penner and the inaugural holder of the Penner Chair, MAE professor Juan Lasheras.

Stanford S. 'Sol' Penner is the winner of the National Academy of Engineering's 2007 Founders Award. Juan Lasheras (right), a professor of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, is the inaugural holder of the Stanford S. and Beverly P. Penner Endowed Chair in Engineering or Applied Science.
Stanford S. "Sol" Penner is the winner of the National Academy of Engineering's 2007 Founders Award. Juan Lasheras (right), a professor of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, is the inaugural holder of the Stanford S. and Beverly P. Penner Endowed Chair in Engineering or Applied Science.

The National Academy particularly cited Penner "for pivotal studies on thermal radiation, directing government studies, founding a university department and energy center, and training future leaders."

Recognized worldwide for his expertise in thermophysics and his contributions to propulsion, combustion, and basic energy systems, Dr. Penner's theoretical and experimental work on relaxation processes during nozzle flow, propellant burning, laminar flames, droplet burning, and ablation has profoundly influenced the nozzle design, scaling, and stabilization of liquid rockets. Since 1972-1973, when he took an around-the-world sabbatical as a Guggenheim Fellow, he has devoted much of his time to energy conservation, fossil-fuel development, fuel-cell design, and environmental issues in the United States and abroad. In 1975, he founded Energy, the International Journal. He was editor of the journal until 1998.

In 1964, Dr. Penner was founding chair of the Department ofAerospace and Mechanical Engineering Sciences at the University of California, San Diego (UCSD), the first engineering department at that school, which has by now been divided into departments of mechanical and aerospace engineering, structural engineering, and bioengineering. In addition, chemical engineering will soon move to a new Department of NanoEngineering. UCSD now has the largest engineering enrollment of any UC campus. Dr. Penner has been UCSD vice chancellor of academic affairs, director of the Institute for Pure and Applied Physical Sciences, and founder and director (1973 to 1991) of the Center for Energy and Combustion Research. Prior to coming to UCSD, he was a research engineer at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, a professor of jet propulsion at the California Institute of Technology, and director of the Research and Engineering Division at the Institute for Defense Analyses in Washington, D.C. In 1960, he founded the Journal of Quantitative Spectroscopy and Radiative Transfer. He remained editor of the journal until 1992.

Dr. Penner received his B.S. in chemistry from Union College in 1942 and his M.S. and Ph.D. in June 1943 and January 1946, respectively, from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He spent 1944 and 1945 working at the U.S. Army Allegany Ballistics Laboratory, where his efforts were focused on radiative transfer in rockets powered by double-base propellants.

Among Dr. Penner's many national and international awards and honorary degrees are the prestigious Distinguished Associate Award from the U.S. Department of Energy and the Edward Teller Award for the Defense of Freedom. He is a member of the National Academy of Engineering and the International Academy of Astronautics and a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

Lasheras Awarded Penner Chair in Engineering and Applied Science

Juan Lasheras, a professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering, has been named the first holder of the Stanford S. and Beverly P. Penner Endowed Chair in Engineering and Applied Science at the Jacobs School. Lasheras, an international expert on the mechanics of blood flow, has won numerous "Teacher of the Year" awards and also is an outspoken champion of UCSD and the profession of engineering.

The new chair, the twenty-seventh at the Jacobs School, was made possible primarily by a gift from the Penners. Stanford S. "Sol" Penner, an emeritus professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering, launched the Department of Aerospace and Mechanical Engineering Sciences in 1964 as the first engineering department at UCSD.


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