January 6, 2006
Colloquium Speaker: Mark Lewis
Dr. Mark J. Lewis is Chief Scientist of the U.S. Air Force, Washington, D.C. He serves as chief scientific adviser to the Chief of Staff and Secretary of the Air Force, and provides assessments on a wide range of scientific and technical issues affecting the Air Force mission. Dr. Lewis received his professional education at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He is currently on leave from his position as Professor of Aerospace Engineering at the University of Maryland, and as Director of the Space Vehicles Technology Institute, College Park, Md. For the past 19 years, Dr. Lewis has conducted basic and applied research in and taught many aspects of hypersonic aerodynamics, advanced propulsion, space vehicle design and optimization. His work has spanned the aerospace flight spectrum from the analysis of conventional jet engines to entry into planetary atmospheres at hypervelocity speeds. A frequent collaborator with both government and industry, his research activities have contributed directly to several NASA and Department of Defense programs in the areas of high-speed vehicle and spacecraft design. Dr. Lewis is the author of more than 220 technical publications and adviser to more than 50 graduate students. He is active in national and international professional societies, with responsibilities for both research and educational policy and support. In addition, he has served on various advisory boards for the Air Force and DOD, including the Air Force Scientific Advisory Board, where he participated in several summer studies and chaired a number of science and technology reviews of the Air Force Research Laboratory.
This talk will review a number of current technical challenges facing the United States Air Force, with a view towards future technologies and desired capabilities. The presentation will begin with an overview of the Science and Technology (S&T) activities of the United States Air Force, including a brief historical review and the role of various organizations and the overall mission of S&T. Some past contributions in basic research will be cited that indicate the value of fundamental studies in developing Air Force capabilities. Specific challenges in the atmosphere and beyond will focus on rapid strike and responsive space launch. Promising research directions for high-speed flight and operationally responsive space launch and satellite technologies will be described, as well as the desire and difficulty for operating in the newly-defined environment of "near space."