Erik K. Antonsson, Ph.D., P.E.

Engineering Design Research Laboratory
Department of Mechanical Engineering
Division of Engineering and Applied Science
California Institute of Technology
Mail Code: 104-44
1200 East California Blvd.
Pasadena, CA, 91125, U.S.A.
626/583-4963 FAX

Erik [dot] Antonsson [at] caltech [dot] edu
Erik K. Antonsson, September, 2002.
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Dr. Erik Antonsson holds the position of Corporate Director of Technology at the Northrop Grumman Corporation (NYSE:NOC). In this role, he serves as the corporate focal point for technology customers, research labs, university research, key boards and technology forums, and chairs the Corporate Technology Council. He integrates cross-company technology planning activities, helps position the company to proactively address future customer needs, and develops corporate technology strategy in line with Northrop Grumman's businesses, emphasizing potential new and emerging technology discriminators and trends. He also provides the technical interface for the company's university research efforts, providing coordination, collaboration, communication and assessment of activities and support associated with the university community to ensure alignment with the company's strategic business objectives for university research.

In 2014 and 2015 he served as a member of the project committee formed by the National Academy of Engineering that produced the report entitled Making Value for America.

In 2012 he served as the Director of Technology Strategy & Planning for the Aerospace Systems Sector of Northrop Grumman. In this role, he had responsibility for establishing and prioritizing the strategic R&D directions for the Technology Development organization which addresses the mid- to long-range R&D needs of the business areas that comprise the Aerospace Systems Sector. He also had responsibility for strategic University research relations, and in this role established and fosterd R&D relationships with faculty and graduate students at leading research universities in areas of interest to the Aerospace Systems Sector of Northrop Grumman.

From 2007 to 2011 he served as the Director of Research at Northrop Grumman Aerospace Systems, where he established and led the Aerospace Research Laboratories. A short video describing a collection of "Technology Game Changers" developed, in part, by the staff of the Aerospace Research Laboratories can be viewed here.

From 1984 to 2009 he held the position of Professor of Mechanical Engineering at the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, CA, U.S.A., where he organized the Engineering Design Research Laboratory. As of 2009 he is a Faculty Associate in the Department of Mechanical Engineering.

From September, 2002 through January, 2006 Dr. Antonsson was on leave from Caltech and served as the Chief Technologist at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL). (JPL Press Release | Pasadena Star News article)  The Chief Technologist reports directly to the Director of JPL and has responsibility for planning, implementing, and leading JPL's advanced technology R&D strategy. Dr. Antonsson provided intellectual leadership for the Laboratory in the strategic planning of advanced technology; guidance and direction for approximately 550 technology researchers (approximately $350M per year in NASA and non-NASA R&D funding); and served as a member of JPL's Executive Council, Strategic Management Council (SMC), Project & Engineering Management Council (PEMC), and as the senior representative to NASA Headquarters and other NASA centers and other government agencies for JPL basic technology research. He also had responsibilty for top-level coordination and assessment of technology work and infusion into flight activities; policies and procedures relating to intellectual property and technology transfer; strategic university research partnerships and strategic technology partnerships with industry and government laboratories; managed approximately 30 technology and support personnel; served as co-chair of the JPL's Science and Technology Management Council (STMC); coordinated with Chief Scientist on allocation of the Laboratory's Research & Technology Development (R&TD) Fund, the Director's Research Discretionary Fund (DRDF) the Human Resources Development Fund (HRDF) for strategic hires in Science & Technology R&D, and other internal funds related to science and technology research and development (totaling approximately $50M per year). In this position he also had responsibility for organizational structure and succession planning for technology R&D leadership, policies and procedures relating to ITAR and export control, and for developing metrics for earned value management.

Dr. Antonsson continued to hold his Professorial position at Caltech while on leave at JPL, and spent one day/week on campus directing his research group.

From 2006 through 2007 Dr. Antonsson was appointed a Distinguished Visiting Scientist at JPL.

He earned a Ph.D. in Mechanical Engineering from Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1982 under the supervision of Prof. Robert W. Mann, and a B.S. degree in Mechanical Engineering with distinction from Cornell University in 1976.

In 1983 he joined the Mechanical Engineering faculty at the University of Utah, as an Assistant Professor.

In 1984 he founded and was appointed the Technical Director of the Pediatric Mobility and Gait Laboratory, and an Assistant in Bioengineering (Orthopaedic Surgery), at the Massachusetts General Hospital.  He also simultaneously joined the faculty of the Harvard University Medical School as an Assistant Professor of Orthopaedics (Bioengineering). 

In 1984 he joined the Mechanical Engineering faculty at the California Institute of Technology.

He was an NSF Presidential Young Investigator (1986-1992), and won the 1995 Richard P. Feynman Prize for Excellence in Teaching, and is a co-winner of the 2001 TRW Distinguished Patent Award.

Dr. Antonsson is a Fellow of the ASME, and a member of the IEEE, and ACM.

From 1984 through 2007 he taught courses in engineering design, computer aided engineering design, machine design, mechanical systems, and kinematics.  In 1985 he originated, and taught (through 2007), the highly popular ME72 engineering design contest class at Caltech, an active learning experience where students get a real-world opportunity to learn how to design new devices.  His research accomplishments include the development of formal methods for engineering decisions and trade-offs and for representing and manipulating imprecision and preferences in engineering design, set-based engineering design (research on these topics was initiated in 1984), automated methods for synthesis of engineering designs, structured engineering design synthesis of micro-electro-mechanical systems (MEMS) using evolutionary methods (including genetic algorithms), and the invention and development of digital micropropulsion microthrusters.

Dr. Antonsson is currently on the editorial board of the International Journal: Research in Engineering Design, and from 1998 to 2004 served on the editorial board of the International Journal: Fuzzy Sets and Systems, and from 1989 to 1993 served as an Associate Technical Editor of the ASME Journal of Mechanical Design, (formerly the Journal of Mechanisms, Transmissions and Automation in Design), with responsibility for the Design Research and the Design Theory and Methodology area. 

He served Executive Officer (Chair) of Mechanical Engineering at the California Institute of Technology from 1998 to 2002.  He served as a member of the Faculty Board of the California Institute of Technology (2001-2003), and as a member of the Engineering and Applied Science Division Steering Committee (DSC, 2001-2002) and Division Advisory Group (DAG, 2000-2002), and served as Director of the Engineering Computing Facility (ECF) at Caltech (1995-2002), and as a member of the Caltech/MIT Voting Technology Project (2001-2002).  He was a member of the Caltech Faculty Committee on Patents and Relations with Industry (1992-1999), and since 1990 has been a member of the WestStart - CALSTART Technical Advisory Committee. 

He has published over 130 scholarly papers in the engineering design research literature, has edited three books, and holds eight U.S. Patents He is a Registered Professional Engineer in California, and serves as an engineering design consultant to industry, research laboratories (including NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory and the 10 meter W. M. Keck Telescope), and to the Intellectual Property bar.

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Last Updated: 2013 August 13, Tuesday, 19:17:43 PDT (UTC-0700)