On July 1, 2011, Jaime Peraire, the H. N. Slater Professor of Aeronautics and Astronautics, became the 13th head of the MIT Department of Aeronautics and Astronautics, succeeding Ian Waitz, who is now dean of the School of Engineering. “[Peraire] is internationally known for his scholarship in computational fluid mechanics, computational mechanics, and numerical simulation methods,” Waitz emailed the AeroAstro community. “He is also an exceptional colleague and dedicated teacher … the department will be in very good hands.” Peraire joined MIT in 1993 as an associate professor after earning undergraduate and graduate engineering degrees from the University of Barcelona in 1983 and 1987, his Ph.D from the University of Wales in 1986, and his D.Sc. from the University of Barcelona in 1987. Before joining MIT he was on the faculty at the University of Wales in Swansea, and at the Imperial College of Science Technology and Medicine in London. He was named a full professor in 1999. One of his major projects at MIT was co-creating the Computation for Design and Optimization master’s degree program. Prior to taking the AeroAstro helm, Peraire directed the Aerospace Computational Design Lab, which researches application of computational engineering for aerospace system design and optimization. His research interests include computational aerodynamics, and simulation-based design and numerical analysis. His work has applications in computational compressible-fluid dynamics and other multidisciplinary aeronautics prob-
lems. Software products based on Peraire’s research, such as the FELISA suite of codes for re-entry aerodynamics, have been used throughout the aerospace industry. Peraire is a former chairman of the MIT Faculty Committee on Undergraduate Admissions and Financial Aid. He is also a director of MIT International Science and Technology Initiatives’ THIS IS TRULY Spain Program, which connects MIT A REMARKABLE students to professional internships DEPARTMENT. and research with leading Spanish companies, universities and research institutes. He is an International Association in Computational Mechanics fellow and a University of Wales honorary professor. Peraire has three sons, ages 15, 14, and 11. His wife, Anna Bueno, teaches Spanish in the Bedford, Mass. public schools and collaborates with Massachusetts Advocates for Children. AeroAstro sat down with Professor Peraire in July to ask him for some early thoughts on directions and plans for the department.
AeroAstro: What were your first thoughts when you became department head? Peraire: That this is truly a remarkable department. This is a very exciting job, but it also carries a lot of responsibility. The first thing I wanted to do was to meet with our faculty and staff and learn in more detail what they do. I’ve already spoken to most of them, and I’ve visited most of the department labs. We’re doing very good work and we are meeting great challenges both in education and research.
FACULTY INTERVIEW: Jaime Peraire