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Professor Henrik Schmidt was named interim head of the Department of Ocean Engineering effective Sept. 1. He succeeds Professor Chryssostomos Chryssostomidis, who has been department head since 1994.
Chryssostomidis is stepping down so that he can devote himself more exclusively to the MIT Sea Grant Program, which he has directed since 1982, and to his teaching.
Said Dean of Engineering Thomas Magnanti, "As head of ocean engineering, Chrys served the department and the school with dedication and commitment, and I'm sure all his colleagues join me in thanking him for his long service in this role."
Chryssostomidis, who is the Henry L. and Grace Doherty Professor in Ocean Science and Engineering, joined the MIT faculty in 1970 after receiving the S.M. (1967), the engineer's degree (1968) and the Ph.D. (1970), all from MIT. He received an undergraduate degree in naval architecture and shipbuilding from the University of Newcastle upon Tyne in England in 1965.
His research has focused on the design of marine structures. He has been a leader in developing technology for autonomous underwater vehicles that has had a profound impact in the field. Chryssostomidis is also known for developing novel educational approaches using teamwork and hands-on experience, and was instrumental in creating the successful pre-freshman program Discover Ocean Engineering.
Schmidt joined the MIT faculty in 1987. At that time he was already well known for his work in ocean acoustics. His current focus is on integrating new autonomous ocean observation and environmental-modeling capabilities with acoustic sensing techniques. The goal is to provide the next generation of sonar systems and reliable, robust forecasting capabilities for ocean environmental management and U.S. naval operations.
Schmidt has been associate head of the department since 1994. He also serves as associate director for research for the MIT Sea Grant College Program. He received M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in structural engineering from the Technical University of Denmark in 1974 and 1978, respectively.
A version of this article appeared in MIT Tech Talk on September 11, 2002.