Glumac career achievements recognized with Soo Professorship

3/23/2017 Christina Oehler, MechSE Communications

  Years ago, MechSE professor Nick Glumac traded in sunny California weather for the plains of Champaign.

Written by Christina Oehler, MechSE Communications

Years ago, MechSE professor Nick Glumac traded in sunny California weather for the plains of Champaign. While this trade-off may not seem traditional, Glumac’s drive was his passion for learning and his love for the study of mechanics. 
Glumac received his bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering with a minor in chemistry from the University of California, Santa Barbara in 1989. He received his master’s in aeronautics (1990), followed by his PhD in mechanical engineering (1994) at the California Institute of Technology. In 1994, he started his first job as an assistant professor at Rutgers University. 
Glumac moved to Champaign in 2000, when he was recruited as an associate professor of mechanical engineering at the University of Illinois. 
“My general area of work has always been reacting flows, with emphasis on combustion and materials synthesis,” he said. “Since coming to Illinois in 2000 and collaborating with Professor Herman Krier, I’ve transitioned my emphasis mostly into energetic materials.”
Through his work with Krier, an established figure in the field, Glumac found his niche in the study of fluid mechanics and thermal sciences. 
In 2007, he was promoted to full professor, and he has since focused his research on developing new energetic materials for advanced warheads and new technologies for taking measurements of explosive environments.
“Explosions involve both fluid mechanics and thermal science,” Glumac said of his research. “There are strong shock waves in this compressible flow, as well as tremendous releases of chemical energy into thermal modes. In some sense, these are some of the most extreme terrestrial environments that someone in fluids or thermal sciences can investigate.”
Last year, he was honored as a Shao Lee Soo Professor in Mechanical Science and Engineering. The professorship, created by Hermia Gungtai Dan-Soo, is in memory of her late husband Shao Lee Soo. It is granted in honor of his work in thermodynamics, direct energy conversion, combustion, and plasma physics.
“I’m greatly honored to receive the Soo Professorship. The Soo family has a strong legacy in the department, and I've heard many stories about Charlie Soo and how he affected the lives of many people and made great contributions to his fields of research,” said Glumac. “I was fortunate to have Charlie’s grandson Michael work with me as an undergraduate and later as a graduate student before I received the professorship. He is another exceptional researcher, following in the path of his grandfather. To receive a named appointment is always special, but this one was especially so because of the connections to the Soo family.”
Glumac said his research is a fundamental step in furthering the nation’s military capabilities by providing the future warfighter with the most advanced weapons possible.  
“I see my work as service to my country in support of the men and women who fight for our freedoms and way of life,” said Glumac.

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This story was published March 23, 2017.