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Three New Chairs Take Over Departments

As McCormick begins a new school year, three departments are under new leadership.

Jianmin Qu, formerly a professor and associate chair for administration at Georgia Tech's George W. Woodruff School of Mechanical Engineering, began as the chair of the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering on August 1.

Qu received his MS and PhD degrees in theoretical and applied mechanics from Northwestern University, working with Jan Achenbach. After two years of postdoctoral research at the University of Pennsylvania, Qu joined the faculty at Georgia Tech in 1989.

His research focuses on several areas of theoretical and applied mechanics including micromechanics of composites, interfacial fracture and adhesion, fatigue and creep damage in solder alloys, defects and transport in crystalline solids, thermomechanical reliability of microelectronic packaging, and ultrasonic nondestructive evaluation of advanced engineering materials. He has authored/co-authored one book, 10 book chapters and over 100 referred journal papers in these areas.

On September 1, two McCormick professors became heads of their respective departments: Vladimir A. Volpert succeeded Mike Miksis as chair of the Department of Engineering Sciences and Applied Mathematics, and Linda Broadbelt succeeded Wes Burghardt as chair of the Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering.

Volpert was born in the former Soviet Union, and holds BS and MS degrees in mathematics and mechanics from the Moscow State University, and PhD from the Institute of Chemical Physics of the Soviet Academy of Sciences. Volpert came to the United States in 1990 as a two-year visiting scholar at Northwestern. He was invited to join the McCormick faculty in 1992 and became a full professor in 2002.

Volpert is an applied mathematician with a broad range of interests. He is an expert in nonlinear dynamics and pattern formation. He studies combustion and polymerization processes and has interests in fluid dynamics, mathematical biology, diffusion processes, and materials synthesis. He published more than a hundred research papers and coauthored a book, Traveling Wave Solutions of Parabolic Systems, published by the American Mathematical Society. His research has been supported by the National Science Foundation, Department of Energy, and NASA.

Volpert has advised 16 graduate students at Northwestern, served on numerous department, school, and university committees, is a member of the editorial boards of two journals, the International Journal of Self-Propagating High-Temperature Synthesis and the journal Mathematical Methods in the Applied Sciences. Volpert's awards include the Schelkin prize for research on traveling wave solutions of parabolic systems from theUSSR Academy of Sciences and the Eshbach Society 1990 Distinguished Visiting Scholar Award from McCormick. He is a remarkable teacher and received the McCormick Teacher of the Year Award (1999-2000) and the 2006 Northwestern Alumni Association Excellence in Teaching Award.

Linda Broadbelt received her BS in chemical engineering from The Ohio State University and a PhD in chemical engineering at the University of Delaware in 1994 where she was a Du Pont Teaching Fellow in Engineering, a National Science Foundation Graduate Fellow, and a DuPont PhD in Engineering Fellow. At Northwestern, she was appointed the Donald and June Brewer Junior Professor from 1994-1996 and received a McCormick Excellence Award in 2006.

Her research and teaching interests are in the areas of multiscale modeling, complex kinetics modeling, environmental catalysis, novel biochemical pathways, and polymerization/depolymerization kinetics. She is associate editor for Energy and Fuels (2002-present), a journal that has experienced exceptional growth under her leadership. She serves on numerous committees with the American Institute of Chemical Engineers, served the Defense Science Study Group of the Institute for Defense Analyses, and on the Scientific Organizing Committee for the 19th and the 21st International Symposium on Chemical Reaction Engineering. She is currently on the editorial boards of Industrial Engineering & Chemistry Research and Chemical Engineering Journal.

Broadbelt is a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and recipient of a Fulbright Distinguished Scholar Award and a National Science Foundation CAREER Award. She was the Ernest W. Thiele Lecturer at the University of Notre Dame and the Allan P. Colburn Lecturer at the University of Delaware. She has mentored 34 PhD students, 23 of whom have graduated to date and taken leadership positions in industry and academia.