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Liou named Distinguished Faculty Scholar

Sept. 10, 2009

KALAMAZOO--Dr. William W. Liou, an internationally known expert in fluid dynamics, vehicle simulation, computational mechanics and propulsion, will be honored by Western Michigan University as a Distinguished Faculty Scholar during a campuswide awards ceremony set for Thursday, Sept. 10.

Liou, professor of mechanical and aeronautical engineering, will be honored during WMU's Academic Convocation ceremonies at 3:30 p.m. in the Dalton Center Recital Hall. The event will feature WMU President John M. Dunn's State of the University address as well as the presentation of several other campuswide awards including Emerging Scholar, Distinguished Teaching and Distinguished Service awards.

The Distinguished Faculty Scholar award is the highest honor the University bestows on its faculty members. Established in 1978, it recognizes those whose work is widely recognized beyond the University and constitutes a significant body of achievement, most of which has been accomplished while a faculty member at WMU. The award goes to scholars nominated for consideration through a campuswide selection process and carries a $2,000 cash prize.

Liou has been a faculty member at WMU since 1997, when he came to the University after serving for four years as senior research associate at the Ohio Aerospace Institute in Cleveland. Since 2006, he has been director of the University's Center for Advanced Vehicle Design and Simulation--CAViDS--which is a consortium of public and private sector organizations focused on enhancing product development in the motor vehicle industry.

For the past three years, as director of CAViDS, Liou has directed externally funded research efforts funded with some $2.5 million from such entities as the Department of Defense, the U.S. Army and various private sector firms. That research has focused on the development of computer simulation technology that could be customized to manufacturers' needs. In the defense realm, much of the research has focused on using simulation to improve the structural reliability and battlefield safety of multi-wheeled combat vehicles and tanks.

In 2007, in recognition of his leadership effort in that groundbreaking research unit, Business Review West Michigan selected Liou as one of the Innovation Michigan Award winners.

In addition to vehicle design and simulation, Liou has a long history of conducting research for such federal agencies as the National Aeronautics and Space Administration. He has:

  • Studied high-speed flow over NASA's reusable launch vehicles.

  • Studied the natural flying capabilities of birds and insects to understand how wing flexibility can control air flow for the Air Force Office of Scientific Research.

  • Conducted aerodynamics research aimed at improving flight safety for NASA's Langley Research Center.

  • Developed software to predict wave phenomena for Sandia National Laboratories.

Liou's ability to attract research funding--especially from federal agencies--has helped enhance his department's reputation as well as support both doctoral students and post-doctoral research, his departmental colleagues say.

He is the author of more than 50 journal articles and a forthcoming graduate textbook on microelelctricalmechanical systems--MEMS. He also has served as an editorial advisory board member of the Journal of Aircraft and is an associate fellow of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics.

Liou earned his bachelor's degree from National Cheng-Kung University in Taiwan and his master's and doctoral degrees in aerospace engineering from Pennsylvania State University.

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Media contact: Cheryl Roland, (269) 387-8400, cheryl.roland@wmich.edu

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