MIT researchers calculate river networks’ movement across a landscape.
Professor Chryssostomos Chryssostomidis, the internationally noted marine engineer who has directed MIT's Sea Grant Program since 1982, has been appointed head of the Department of Ocean Engineering, where he has been a faculty member since 1970.
Dean of Engineering Joel Moses announced the appointment, which was effective September 1. At the same time he announced the appointment of Professor Henrik Schmidt as associate head of the department.
Professor Chryssostomidis succeeds Professor T. Francis Ogilvie, who has served as head of the department since 1982. Professor Ogilvie will resume teaching and research as a faculty member in Ocean Engineering.
For nearly a century, MIT has been a leading center in ship research and design. In recent years, the Department of Ocean Engineering has built on this historical base and now offers a curriculum touching on all systems that operate in an ocean environment, including marine transportation; the discovery, production and delivery of offshore petroleum resources and the development of new ways to protect marine wildlife.
Dr. Chryssostomidis, the Henry L. and Grace Doherty Professor in Ocean Science and Engineering, has focused his work on the design of marine structures. Twenty years ago, he initiated a major education project with the University of Michigan to develop a computer-aided design system for ships. The software born of this effort remains in use at MIT and Michigan.
Professor Chryssostomidis holds an undergraduate degree in naval architecture and shipbuilding from the University of Newcastle upon Tyne in England (1965). He received the SM (1967), the engineers degree (1968) and the PhD (1970), all from MIT.
In 1991 he was one of two faculty members selected to be a School of Engineering Professor of Teaching Innovation. Professor Chryssostomidis' innovation-teaching undergraduate students to work together in organizing and managing a multi-student, multi-year state-of-the-art project-involved the development of autonomous underwater vehicles and the software needed to run them.
Dean Moses said, "I am pleased that Professor Chryssostomidis has agreed to take on the important responsibilities of department head in addition to continuing his directorship of the Sea Grant Program. His impressive experience and knowledge in ocean engineering and his innovative teaching will keep MIT in a position of leadership in this important field."
Professor Schmidt joined the MIT faculty in 1987. At that time he was already well known for his work in ocean acoustics, based on his publication of SAFARI, a general computer program used to predict sound propagation in a layered medium such as the ocean. In recent years, Professor Schmidt has made important contributions in several other areas, such as synthetic-aperture sonar and acoustic thermometry of ocean climate.
Professor Schmidt is also associate director of the MIT Sea Grant College Program, a position he will continue to hold. At Sea Grant, Professor Schmidt has a lead role in the pioneering program to develop autonomous underwater vehicles. In addition he is the senior scientist for a major Office of Naval Research-sponsored experimental program in the Arctic to determine the mechanisms of ice cracking.
Professor Ogilvie is an internationally acclaimed hydrodynamicist who has made contributions to the theory of ship waves and offshore hydrodynamics. He has authored seminal papers in asymptotics and perturbation theory as they apply to the prediction of ship motions and wave effects on floating platforms.
Professor Ogilvie's graduate students have continued his work and now occupy significant positions in industry and academia. In the Department of Ocean Engineering he has been instrumental in focusing the energies of his faculty into significant problems of industry and society and more than doubled the department's research volume.
He is also well known in the department for his special commitment in mentoring and supporting his younger colleagues and researchers.
Recently he has focused his energy toward rethinking the scope and directions of ocean engineering education. His paper on this topic is one of the most quoted documents on the subject among ocean engineering educators in the United States and abroad.
"On behalf of the School of Engineering, I extend to Professor Ogilvie deep appreciation for a job well done. His leadership in the past dozen years has positioned the department well for the challenges and opportunities ahead," Dean Moses said.
A version of this article appeared in the September 21, 1994 issue of MIT Tech Talk (Volume 39, Number 5).