Two MechSE professors receive significant ASME awards


Meredith Staub

Assistant Professor Randy Ewoldt (left) and Bliss Professor William King.
Assistant Professor Randy Ewoldt (left) and Bliss Professor William King.
Assistant Professor Randy Ewoldt (left) and Bliss Professor William King.
On November 17, 2013, Engineering at Illinois had an incredible day, as two MechSE faculty members received prestigious awards from the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME).

Assistant Professor Randy Ewoldt and Bliss Professor William King were honored at the ASME 2013 International Mechanical Engineering Congress and Exposition in San Diego. ASME is a professional association that advances, disseminates, and applies engineering knowledge for improving the quality of life and communicating the excitement of engineering. It grants awards for service, for literature, and for achievement. Both Ewoldt and King received their awards for achievement, as well as a monetary prize of $1,000 each.

ASME grants three separate achievement awards with the National Mechanical Engineering Honor Society, Pi Tau Sigma, which are identical except for the period of recognized achievement; Ewoldt and King took two of the three. Ewoldt was granted the Gold Medal for outstanding achievement in mechanical engineering within ten years after graduation. King was granted the Gustus L. Larson Memorial Award for outstanding achievement in mechanical engineering 10 to 20 years after graduation.

"I feel honored and extremely grateful to receive this national award," Ewoldt said. "The list of past recipients is simply outstanding, and to be considered in such company is a strong motivation to set high expectations for future work. My contributions to the field of mechanical engineering would not have been possible without the encouragement and guidance of important mentors, as well as fruitful interactions with many collaborators."

Ewoldt, who joined Illinois in 2011, received his B.S. in mechanical engineering from Iowa State University in 2004 and M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in mechanical engineering from Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He completed a postdoctoral fellowship at the prestigious Institute for Mathematics and its Applications at the University of Minnesota. Ewoldt’s research focuses on rheology, non-Newtonian fluid mechanics, mathematical modeling, and design involving soft materials and reverse engineering techniques for complex fluids. He has established several successful interdisciplinary collaborations and his research has potential real applications in both energy and biomedicine.

King has been a faculty member in MechSE since 2006 after starting his career at the Georgia Institute of Technology in 2002. He earned his B.S. in mechanical engineering in 1996 from the University of Dayton and M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in mechanical engineering from Stanford University.

"I am very grateful to ASME for this award," King said. "The previous winners of this award are such impressive people with extraordinary accomplishments; it is an honor to be included among them."

King is a leader in the engineering of micrometer and nanometer-scale thermal systems. His work using these kinds of probing techniques is changing the way new pharmaceuticals are developed, and could have implications for distribution in underdeveloped parts of the world. He has also developed new tools for nanometer-scale thermal property characterization of materials used in solar cells and batteries—an important contribution to the development of technologies for renewable energy. Additionally, King’s work between 1997 and 2002 at IBM Research aided in the understanding of heat transfer in the cantilever and cantilever tip of the atomic force microscope (AFM), still the most widely used tool for nanotechnology. His contributions are at the core of the present design of IBM’s heated AFM research. More recently, he has pioneered the use of heated cantilever tips for studying nanometer-scale heat flows and extended his technique to thermoelectric measurements, an important aspect of electronics and energy conversion materials. His expertise in nanometer-scale heat and mass transport has also led to the development of micro-manufacturing capabilities and other intellectual property for Hoowaki, LLC, the company King co-founded in 2008.