Aerospace and Mechanical Engineering
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AEM spotlight:

Professor Balas named a Distinguished McKnight Professor

Gary Balas

Distnguished McKnight Professor Gary Balas

Department Head Gary Balas was recently honored with a Distinguished McKnight Professorship, the highest award the University can bestow on mid-career faculty. The program was established in 1996 to recognize the University’s highest-achieving faculty.  Professor Balas is among six recipients from departments across the University who were selected based on:

  • The merit of their scholarly or creative achievements
  • The level of distinction and prestige that their scholarly work brings to the University of Minnesota
  • The dimension of national or international reputation,
    The extent to which their career has developed and flourished at the University and the extent to which their work and reputation are identified with the University of Minnesota,
  • Potential for greater attainment in the field,
  • Quality of teaching and advising, and
  • Contributions to the wider community

Professor Balas’ research focuses on control engineering with application to aerospace vehicles and systems. He is an international leader in robust control, which bridges the gap between mathematical control theory and engineering applications. 

Professor Perry Leo, AEM’s associate department head, said Balas is one of the three top researchers in world in developing theory and applying it to real problems. “Gary’s work has been essential to national projects in aerospace engineering including the F-14 fighter jet, the International Space Station and NASA’s X-38 Crew Recovery Vehicle” he said.

In addition to serving as Department Head, Balas was Director of Graduate Studies of the Control Science and Dynamical Systems (CSDy) interdisciplinary program from 1992 until 2006 and its co-Director since 1995.

Balas described the professorship, awarded by his peers at the University, as a “wonderful honor.”

“My career has been able to flourish in the AEM department because of the outstanding support provided to me by the department, college and university throughout my career,” he said.

Research will continue to be a main priority, Balas said.

“I look forward to continuing research on robust and real-time control, linear parameter-varying systems and their application to real world systems.”

The department of Aerospace Engineering and Mechanics boasts a total of three Distinguished McKnight Professors: Professor Balas, Professor Graham Candler and Professor Richard James.


Last Modified: Wednesday, 22-Aug-2012 11:07:46 CDT -- this is in International Standard Date and Time Notation