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Robert C. Brown, College of Engineering, (515) 294-7934
Pam Reinig, Engineering Communications, (515) 294-0261
Ann Wilson, Iowa State University Foundation, (515) 294-9608
Annette Hacker, News Service, (515) 294-3720


AMES, Iowa -- Robert C. Brown, ISU professor in mechanical engineering and chemical engineering and director of the Center for Sustainable Environmental Technologies, has been selected as the first recipient of the Bergles Professorship in Thermal Sciences.

As Bergles Professor, Brown will lead curricula and programs in the thermal sciences and mentor department faculty. He also will pursue interdisciplinary thermal science opportunities, and will promote interaction with practicing engineers to assure leadership in thermal sciences at Iowa State University.

"Robert has an international reputation for exemplary and innovative work in bioresources. His contributions will make a real difference in providing an economical approach to the growing problem of worldwide fuel shortages," said James L. Melsa, dean of the engineering college. "We are currently involved in an initiative to be a Top 20 engineering program. Faculty like Robert make that an achievable goal."

About the Bergles Professorship
The Bergles Professorship was established through an endowment by Arthur and Penny Bergles of Centerville, Mass., with the intent of attracting or retaining an outstanding senior faculty member in the thermal sciences.

Arthur Bergles chaired Iowa State's mechanical engineering department from 1972 to 1983, and was professor-in-charge of the heat transfer laboratory. He also played an instrumental role in the funding and construction of the Black Engineering Building. In 1981, he was named Anson Marston Distinguished Professor.

Bergles later served as engineering dean at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Troy, N.Y. He is now the Clark and Crossan Professor Emeritus at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Glenn L. Martin Institute Professor of Engineering at the University of Maryland, and a senior lecturer at Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Bergles is a member of the National Academy of Engineering and three foreign academies, and a fellow of five professional societies. He was the 1990-91 president of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers.

Bergles' pioneering work in classifying various enhanced heat transfer devices has been widely acclaimed. He took the lead in transferring lab results to professional practice. As a result, his work has led to considerable energy and cost savings for industry.

About the recipient
Brown teaches undergraduate courses in thermodynamics, fluid dynamics and heat transfer; and graduate courses in combustion, fluidized bed technology and biorenewable resources. His research interests include the use of biorenewable resources as a source of chemicals and energy. One aspect of Brown's work includes combustion and gasification in fluidized beds for electric power production. He also works with fermentation experts to evaluate thermal processes to convert structural plant material into biobased products.

Brown has eight patents, including a carbon-in-ash monitor that won an R&D 100 Award in 1997. He is a fellow of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers, and has received many faculty research awards during his 20 years at Iowa State. He has been a leader in establishing the Bioeconomy Initiative at Iowa State University, and has recently published a textbook on biorenewable resources.

Brown received bachelor's degrees in physics and mathematics from the University of Missouri, Columbia, Mo.; and master's and doctorate degrees in mechanical engineering from Michigan State University, East Lansing, Mich.

The Bergles Professorship Symposium and Medallion Reception
Brown has organized the Bergles Symposium set for Friday, Oct. 17, from 1 to 4 p.m. at the Scheman Conference Center, Iowa State Center. Bergles, Brown and several prominent researchers in the thermal sciences will speak at the symposium.

At 4 p.m., Brown, along with Arthur and Penny Bergles, will be honored at a medallion reception. James Melsa, College of Engineering dean; Judy Vance, department chair, mechanical engineering; and Iowa State University President Gregory Geoffroy will preside over the reception.


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