Four Sandia scientists elected AIAA associate fellows

By Michael J. Baker

Photography By Lonnie Anderson

Thursday, January 30, 2020

Sandia scientists Jacqueline Chen, Tucker Lavin, Humberto Silva III and Justin Smith have been elected associate fellows of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics.

The designation of associate fellow recognizes those “who have accomplished or been in charge of important engineering or scientific work, or who have done original work of outstanding merit, or who have otherwise made outstanding contributions to the arts, sciences, or technology of aeronautics or astronautics,” according to an institute news release.

To be selected as an associate fellow, an AIAA senior member must be in good standing, with at least 12 years’ professional experience, and be recommended by a minimum of three other associate fellows.

Jackie, Tucker, Humberto and Justin were formally honored and inducted as associate fellows along with 129 others at the AIAA SciTech Forum in Orlando, Florida, in January.

Jacqueline Chen

Jacqueline Chen
Jacqueline Chen (Photo by Randy Wong)

Jackie is a computational combustion scientist who performs first principles numerical simulations of turbulent reacting flows on peta-scale supercomputers, examining fundamental interactions between turbulence and the chemistry of combustion processes relevant to engines for transportation, power generation and propulsion.

She has a doctorate in mechanical engineering from Stanford University and has spent her entire career working in Sandia’s Combustion Research Facility. Jackie was elected a fellow of the American Physical Society and the Combustion Institute in 2018, after being inducted earlier that year to the National Academy of Engineering.

She is a past recipient of a DOE INCITE Award, Society of Women Engineers Achievement Award, Combustion Institute Bernard Lewis Gold Medal Award, Asian American Engineer of the Year Award and Sandia's O.W. Adams Award.

Tucker Lavin

Tucker Lavin
Tucker Lavin

Tucker, an engineer whose focus is aerodynamics and flight mechanics, has made important contributions in all aerodynamic-related aspects of vehicle design, development and fielding of cutting-edge systems.

During Tucker’s time at Sandia, he has had key responsibilities in the development of the aerodynamic models for several flight systems and has led flight safety analysis efforts to ensure safe test execution.

Tucker also serves as a subject matter expert, providing development support to other government agencies and to Sandia’s mission-level assessments of aerospace systems. He has a master’s degree in aerospace engineering from Texas A&M University.

Humberto Silva III

Humberto Silva III
Humberto Silva III

Humberto is a thermal scientist and engineer involved in both computational and experimental research and development. He specializes in conduction, convection, radiation, chemical kinetics, verification and validation, uncertainty quantification and design of experiments.

Humberto is also an Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology evaluator for aeronautics and astronautics engineering programs and an adjunct professor in the Mechanical Engineering Department at the University of New Mexico, where he has taught various courses and advised multiple theses.

He has a doctorate in aerospace engineering from Arizona State University and was previously a high school physics teacher in his hometown of El Paso, Texas.

Justin Smith

Justin Smith
Justin Smith

Justin is a Sandia aerosciences manager. He leads computational and experimental research and development spanning the incompressible to hypersonic regimes.

He was lauded for significant contributions to critical national security programs through experimental and computational research in compressible aerodynamics, hypersonic reentry, laminar-to-turbulent boundary layer transition and fluid and structure interactions.

Justin has a bachelor’s degree in physics from the University of Northern Iowa and a master’s degree in science from the Aeronautical and Astronautical Engineering Department at Purdue University.