The Chair of the
Mechanical Engineering Department at the California Institute
of Technology in Pasadena, Dr. Erik Antonsson, has been named
Chief Technologist of NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, also
The appointment was
announced by JPL Director Dr. Charles Elachi.
search was led by Dr. Richard Murray, Chair of the Engineering
and Applied Science Division at Caltech. Murray and his
committee interviewed a number of nationally recognized
"Based on their input,
other inputs from our stakeholders, and my interviews with the
candidates, I determined that Dr. Antonsson's expertise and
experience are an outstanding match for the position," Elachi
Antonsson has been a
Caltech professor and researcher since 1984. He organized the
Engineering Design Research Laboratory at Caltech and has made
major research contributions in the area of formal methods for
engineering design. He is perhaps best known on campus for his
unique course, the ME72 Engineering Design Laboratory, where
students get a real-world opportunity to learn how to design
new devices. He serves on the Caltech Faculty Board and the
Engineering Division Steering Committee. Antonsson has been
Chair of Mechanical Engineering since 1998.
"I am excited to have
the opportunity to join JPL, and to contribute to the
development of new technologies," said Antonsson.
He earned his Bachelor
of Science degree in Mechanical Engineering, with distinction,
from Cornell University, Ithaca, N.Y., in 1976, and a Ph.D. in
Mechanical Engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of
Technology, Cambridge, Mass., in 1982.
Antonsson has won a
variety of prestigious awards, including a National Science
Foundation Presidential Young Investigator Award, the Richard
P. Feynman Prize for Excellence in Teaching and the TRW
Distinguished Patent Award. He is a Fellow of the American
Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME). He has published over 100
scholarly papers in the engineering design research literature, has edited
two books and holds five U.S. Patents.
Antonsson, who lives
in Pasadena with his wife and three children, will join JPL in
early September, and will also remain at Caltech as a
professor of mechanical engineering. Until Antonsson begins at
JPL, Dr. Leslie Deutsch will continue as the acting Chief
Technologist to ensure a smooth transition.
JPL is a division of Caltech.