Sirignano Recognized with Spirit of St. Louis Medal

Wiilian Sirignano will receive ASME's Spirit of St. Louis Medal, the society's highest recognition.

Feb. 6, 2024 - The American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) will honor UC Irvine Distinguished Professor William Sirignano with the 2024 Spirit of St. Louis Medal for notable achievements in the advancement of aeronautics and astronautics. This recognition is one of the most prestigious honors in the field of aerospace.

Sirignano was selected for “pioneering and impactful research in rocket engine combustion dynamics, atomization and spray; development of innovative concepts for propulsion and power; and outstanding educational leadership and professional service.”

Sirignano began his academic career on the faculty at Princeton University (1967-79) after receiving his doctorate there in 1964. He was the George Tallman Ladd Professor and department head at Carnegie-Mellon University (1979-84) before becoming the dean of engineering at UCI (1985-94). He is currently a Distinguished Professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering at the Samueli School. His research and teaching interests include jet and rocket propulsion, spray dynamics and atomization, combustion dynamics, fluid dynamics and applied mathematics.

Sirignano has many notable accomplishments including the scientific explanations of nonlinear rocket-combustor oscillations; nonlinear behavior of Helmholtz resonators; turbulent flames in internal combustion engines; Abramzon-Sirignano model for droplet vaporization; computational methods for spray flows; development of turbine-burner concept and combustion in high-acceleration flows; vorticity dynamics perspective on liquid-stream instability and breakup; real fluid flow at near-critical and supercritical conditions; and effects of stretched vorticity on flamelets.  

“Professor Sirignano’s groundbreaking contributions have not only advanced our understanding and capabilities within the realm of aeronautics and astronautics but have also inspired generations of engineers and scientists,” said Julián Rimoli, the Henry Samueli Faculty Excellence Professor and chair of the Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering.

Sirignano is a member of the National Academy of Engineering and an Honorary Fellow of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA). He is also a fellow of numerous professional societies and has many awards; for a full listing, see here.

ASME will present the medal at its Aerospace Structures, Structural Dynamics and Materials Conference in April 29-May 1, 2024, in Renton, Washington, where Sirignano has been invited to give a lecture.

The ASME Spirit of St. Louis Medal was established in 1929. Past honorees include James (Jimmy) Doolittle (1938), John E. Northrup (1947), Neil Armstrong (1972) and UCI Adjunct Professor Robert Liebeck (2005).

This award from ASME, together with the AIAA Honorary Fellow selection, means that Sirignano has now received the two highest designations in aerospace, joining an impressive list of pioneering industrialists, national heroes in flight ventures, premier inventors and leading academicians.

– Lori Brandt