Freund named Willett Professor
Kritzer Faculty Scholar Jonathan Freund was honored February 1 at an investiture ceremony as the Donald Biggar Willett Professor of Engineering.
Freund is a professor jointly appointed in the Department of Mechanical Science and Engineering and the Department of Aerospace Engineering. Prior to joining the faculty at Illinois, he was an assistant professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering at the University of California, Los Angeles, until 2001.
His research is primarily in the field of fluid mechanics. Early in his career, he analyzed compressible turbulence, which has led to a series of investigations, mostly simulation-based, on the mechanics and control of jet noise. More recently, Freund has studied the dynamics of atomically thin liquid films, blood flow in the microcirculation, the mechanics of tissue injury by strong pressure waves, and statistical methods for rheological model selection. Outside of fluid mechanics, he has studied the mechanics of thermal transport in nanostructured semiconductors and the atomic detail of ion bombardment.
He is the co-director of XPACC, the Center for Exascale Simulation of Plasma-Coupled Combustion, which is funded through a $20M grant from the U.S. Department of Energy and seeks to leverage massive-scale simulation for predictive science that will advance combustion technology. He also serves as an associate editor of Physical Review Fluids and sits on the editorial board of the Annual Review of Fluid Mechanics.
"I want to express my appreciation of the value of working at Illinois. The quality is obvious, the intellectual community is, for me, unmatched. And our international reputation - we draw people and strength from the entire planet. It is an honor to be here, and I humbly accept the honor of this professorship," said Freund.
The Donald Biggar Willett Professorship honors the memory of its namesake, who attended the University of Illinois from 1916 to 1921. He started his career as a partner in the family business, Suburban Coal and Supply Company and later worked as a self-employed bookkeeper and tax preparer. In 1994, his widow, Elizabeth Marie Willett, willed her entire estate to the College of Engineering, which established the Willett Research Initiatives Fund.