Published: Feb. 19, 2004

Two engineering professors at the University of Colorado at Boulder have been elected to the National Academy of Engineering, joining 13 other faculty from the campus who have been elected since the academy's formation in 1962.

George H. Born, professor of aerospace engineering sciences, and Kaspar J. Willam, professor of civil engineering, were among 76 new members of the academy announced Feb. 13.

Election to the National Academy of Engineering is among the highest professional distinctions awarded to engineers. Academy membership honors those who have made "important contributions to engineering theory and practice" and those who have demonstrated "accomplishment in the pioneering of new fields of engineering, making major advancements in traditional fields of engineering, or developing/implementing innovative approaches to engineering education."

Born was recognized for contributions to satellite orbit determination and for applications of satellites to geophysics and oceanography.

Willam was recognized for contributions to constitutive modeling and computational failure analysis of concrete and quasi-brittle materials and structures.

Born is the founder and director of the Colorado Center for Astrodynamics Research, one of the world's leading centers of research and education in satellite astrodynamics and applications. He founded the center at CU-Boulder when he joined the faculty in 1985. Born also was one of the engineers responsible for conceiving the TOPEX/Poseidon satellite altimeter mission, which has advanced understanding of the oceans.

Born came to CU-Boulder from the Center for Space Research at the University of Texas at Austin. Prior to that, he worked at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, where he was a member of the navigation team for Mariner-9, led the navigation team for the Viking orbiter mission and was manager of the Seasat Geophysical Evaluation Team. The latter team established the effectiveness of microwave sensors for measuring ocean surface geophysical parameters, pioneering work that led to the large suite of ocean surveying microwave sensors in orbit today.

Born received his bachelor's, master's and doctoral degrees in aerospace engineering from the University of Texas at Austin. He is a Fellow of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics and the American Astronautical Society. He received the Brouwer award from the American Astronautical Society and the Mechanics and Control of Flight Award from the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, as well as the NASA Public Service Medal and the NASA Exceptional Service Medal for contributions to astrodynamics, and satellite oceanography and geophysics.

Willam joined the CU-Boulder faculty in 1981 as a member of the structural engineering group in the department of civil, environmental and architectural engineering. Except for a two-year period in the late 1980s when he was director of the Institute of Mechanics at the University of Karlsruhe, Germany, he has spent his teaching career at CU-Boulder. During his academic career, he has made numerous contributions to computational failure mechanics of brittle-ductile materials and to performance studies of reinforced concrete structures.

Willam received his undergraduate degree in civil engineering from the Vienna University of Technology in Austria. He went on to earn a master's from San Jose State University and a doctoral degree from the University of California at Berkeley. He later earned a second doctorate in aeronautical and aerospace engineering from the University of Stuttgart, Germany.

Willam is a Fellow of the American Society of Civil Engineers, the American Society of Mechanical Engineers, and the U.S. Association of Computational Mechanics. He received the Nathan M. Newmark Medal from ASCE in 2003 for innovative contributions to modeling failure in structural and solid mechanics. He also is a recipient of the prestigious Research Award of the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation, Germany.