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October 30, 2009 Vol. 2, Issue 10


John Casani of the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) received the Founders Award from the National Academy of Engineering.

The National Academy of Engineering (NAE) presented John Casani with the 2009 Founders Award at their annual meeting on October 4, 2009. The award recognizes his “distinguished innovation and leadership in robotic spacecraft engineering and project management that has enabled the first four decades of planetary and deep space exploration.”

Since beginning his career at JPL in 1956, Casani worked on a number of groundbreaking projects, including Cassini-Huygens, Galileo, Voyager, Ranger, and Mariner.

NAE also recognized MIT professor Sheila Widnall with the Arthur M. Bueche Award for “a remarkable academic career in fluid dynamics combined with the highest levels of public service, and for championing the role of women in engineering.”

Widnall served as secretary of the Air Force from 1993-1997 and was the first woman to lead a branch of the U.S. military. Widnall was appointed to the MIT faculty in the School of Engineering in 1964 and became the first female faculty chair in 1979. She served as president of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA) in 2000, and as president of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) in 1988.

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