Mitchell Smooke appointed as acting dean of engineering

Mitchell Smooke portrait
Mitchell Smooke

Mitchell Smooke, the Strathcona Professor of Mechanical Engineering and professor of applied physics, will serve as acting dean of the Yale School of Engineering & Applied Science (SEAS), according to an announcement by Tamar Gendler, dean of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences.

Smooke’s appointment was effective on Jan. 1. He succeeds Kyle Vanderlick, who served as SEAS dean for 10 years.

A widely recognized expert in computational studies of combustion, Smooke has long been a figure in the academic leadership of the university as well. He served twice — a combined total of 12 years — as chair of the Department of Mechanical Engineering and Materials Science; has completed terms as director of graduate and of undergraduate studies in mechanical engineering; and was acting dean of engineering once previously, in fall 2000.

It gives me great delight to welcome Mitch Smooke to this important role as interim dean,” wrote Gendler in a message to the Yale community. She also thanked Vanderlick for her decade of service.

In his current research, Smooke investigates methods of quantifying combustion-generated nano-particles from land- and air-based systems. His lab also simulates flame structure under microgravity conditions. He and Professor Marshall Long collaborate on one of five combustion research projects approved for study on the International Space Station. Its goals include guiding NASA in mitigating the risk of on-board fires. Smooke also conducts research for the Army Research Office to study high-pressure energetic materials such as propellants and rocket fuels. His research has economic implications for commercial propulsion.

Smooke joined the Yale faculty in 1984 after completing degrees at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (B.S. in physics), Harvard University (M.S. and Ph.D. in applied mathematics), and the University of California-Berkeley (M.B.A .in finance). He is a fellow of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, the Institute of Physics, the Society of Industrial and Applied Mathematics, and the Combustion Institute.

The Yale professor has won numerous honors and awards, and he has published extensively, with more than 18,000 cumulative citations. He is in his 20th year as editor-in-chief of Combustion Theory and Modeling, one of the top two combustion journals. Smooke lives in Woodbridge with his wife Deanna. They have three grown children, one of whom is currently a senior at Yale.

Coinciding with Smooke’s appointment, the Office of the Dean of the Yale School of Engineering & Applied Science has been relocated to a suite on the first floor of 17 Hillhouse Ave.

A search advisory committee chaired by Holly Rushmeier, professor of computer science, is continuing to assist Gendler in identifying candidates to serve as the next dean of engineering and applied science, with a permanent appointment to be announced in 2018.

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