Army researchers to serve in aerospace professional society leadership roles

March 27, 2018

By Jenna Brady, ARL Public Affairs

Story Highlights

  • Two Army researchers from the U.S. Army Research Laboratory have been elected to leadership roles within the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics.
  • AIAA is one of a small number of professional societies with a robust community of academic, industry and government researchers in fluid dynamics and applied aerodynamics.

ADELPHI, Md. (March 27, 2018) -- The American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics recently elected two Army researchers to leadership roles.

Dr. Sidra Silton of the U.S. Army Research Laboratory was elected as chair of the Fluid Dynamics Technical Committee and will take over leadership in May 2019 after a transition year as chair-elect.

AIAA is one of a small number of professional societies with a robust community of academic, industry and government researchers focused on fluid dynamics and applied aerodynamics, to name a few.

The FDTC is the primary body within AIAA that leads the fluid dynamics community and provides both tactical support as well as strategic support to the organization in this field of study.

The committee accomplishes this mission largely through the efforts of three subcommittees, including the Fundamentals of Flow Phenomena, Flow Control and Fluid Applications, and Computational Fluid Dynamics Methods.

Silton is currently the acting chief of the Ceramic and Transparent Armor Branch within the laboratory's Weapons and Materials Research Directorate, where one of the primary research goals is to reduce the weight, while increasing the effectiveness, of the body armor that Soldiers wear.

Prior to this temporary assignment, she was a researcher in the Flight Sciences Branch within the same directorate.

"I'm honored that my colleagues elected me to this position within the technical community and hope that I live up to their expectations," Silton said. "ARL is typically underrepresented within the basic research community due to the Soldier centered nature of our research. I believe that my election to this position indicates that Army research is important to the fluid dynamics' community."

In this chair position, Silton hopes to be able to have a positive impact on how the larger aerospace community perceives the FDTC.

"The FDTC has a large technical footprint on the two AIAA conferences in which it participates," Silton said. "The technical committee has not been as active in educating the community on what we do as we have in the past due to recent changes in the organizational structure. With the new organizational structure now in place, I hope to rebuild the FDTC position within the community."

Silton noted that while the committee accomplishes its mission through its three subcommittees, they all must work together for the success of the fluid dynamics community as a whole.

"Each subcommittee has its own focus, but must also work together for the betterment of the fluid dynamics' community, including those at ARL," Silton said. "I must find a way to ensure that the fundamental fluids problems are investigated and properly transferred to the application, both in experiments and computations. This is the same that must be achieved here at ARL – our computationalists and our experimentalists must work on complementary research, both basic and applied."

In addition to Silton, ARL's Dr. Matthew Munson was selected as chair of the Fundamentals of Flow Phenomena Subcommittee, which is responsible for providing leadership and support for theoretical and fundamental flow physics efforts underway within the AIAA community.

"ARL leadership in this space provides key opportunities for ARL to guide and leverage research efforts and identify new directions for basic and applied research from across the international aerospace research community," Munson said.

Munson's primary function at ARL is to manage the laboratory's extramural basic research investment in the field of fluid dynamics.

The program is concerned with discovering novel flow physics that have great potential to enhance the Army's capabilities in vertical lift, projectile maneuverability and precision airdrop.

"Being selected chair for this group is one of the ways in which ARL gains influence over the emphasis and direction of the research community towards those scientific endeavors of significant interest to the Army," Munson said. "In addition, it provides an opportunity for me to identify, support and leverage real possibilities for scientific breakthrough for the Army. Personally, I am excited for the opportunity for the leadership challenge as a part of my professional development."

Munson's hope is to really drive this part of the organization towards foundational and fundamental research, as there's always a temptation in these communities to drive straight to application, even in a subcommittee with the word "fundamentals" in the name.

"There are still a number of extremely challenging scientific questions left in the field of fluid dynamics," Munson said. "My goal is to attract researchers from other fields, to include applied mathematics, physics, computational mathematics, dynamical systems, etc., who don't typically engage with AIAA to join our group and provide a multi-disciplinary approach to tackling some of these perennial problems."

The U.S. Army Research Laboratory is part of the U.S. Army Research, Development and Engineering Command, which has the mission to ensure decisive overmatch for unified land operations to empower the Army, the joint warfighter and our nation. RDECOM is a major subordinate command of the U.S. Army Materiel Command.


Last Update / Reviewed: March 27, 2018