February 6, 2024

photo of Noel ClemensThe National Academy of Engineering has elected Noel T. Clemens, a professor in the Department of Aerospace Engineering and Engineering Mechanics at The University of Texas at Austin, to the academy for 2024. Christine Schmidt, who received a bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering from UT and served on the University’s faculty from 1996 to 2012, has also been elected.

Election to the academy is among the highest professional distinctions bestowed upon an engineer. Membership honors those who have made outstanding contributions to engineering research and practice, including pioneering new and developing fields of technology and making major advancements in the engineering field and profession. In all, 114 new members and 21 foreign members joined the NAE in 2024.

“Throughout his career, Noel has been a global leader in experimental laser imaging systems and techniques, and as an educator and department head, he has been a passionate supporter of his students and faculty colleagues,” said Roger Bonnecaze, dean of the Cockrell School of Engineering. “We are extremely proud of the contributions both he and Christine have made to the advancement of their fields and the impact they have had on society. On behalf of our entire community, I offer my congratulations to both of these outstanding Texas engineers for this tremendous professional honor.”

During the past decade, more than 15 UT professors have been elected to the academy, and the University has nearly 50 current and retired members. Six of the UT NAE members are from the ASE/EM department – five full-time faculty members and one emeritus member.

Clemens is being recognized by the academy for laser-based measurements to understand and control high-speed reactive and nonreactive flows. His research focuses on hypersonics, experimental gas dynamics, experimental methods and combustion. He specializes in measurement technology using laser imaging diagnostics to study mixing, combustion, ablation, shock/boundary layer interactions and other high-speed unsteady flows.

Currently, Clemens is the director of the ULI FAST for Hypersonics Aerodynamics Measurements (AFOSR/NASA) that focuses on developing a new measurement technology for hypersonic flight. This novel technique will redefine sensing and analysis of hypersonic vehicles and could eventually be applied to lower-speed aircraft as well.

A fellow of both the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics and the American Physical Society, Clemens is also a former National Science Foundation Presidential Faculty fellow and former editor-in-chief of the journal Experiments in Fluids.

Clemens holds the Clare Cockrell Williams Centennial Chair in Engineering in the Cockrell School of Engineering. He joined the ASE/EM faculty in 1993 and served as the department chair from 2012 to 2020.