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Dr. Dowell is an elected member of the National Academy of Engineering, an Honorary Fellow of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA) and a Fellow of the American Academy of Mechanics and the American Society of Mechanical Engineers. He has also served as Vice President for Publications and member of the Executive Committee of the Board of Directors of the AIAA; as a member of the United States Air Force Scientific Advisory Board; the Air Force Studies Board, the Aerospace Science and Engineering Board and the Board on Army Science and Technology of the National Academies; the AGARD (NATO) advisory panel for aerospace engineering, as President of the American Academy of Mechanics,as Chair of the US National Committee on Theoretical and Applied Mechanics and as Chairman of the National Council of Deans of Engineering. From the AIAA he has received the Structure, Structural Dynamics and Materials Award, the Von Karman Lectureship the Crichlow Trust Prize and the Reed Aeronautics Award; from the ASME he has received the Spirit of St. Louis Medal, the Den Hartog Award and Lyapunov Medal; and he has also received the Guggenheim Medal which is awarded jointly by the AIAA, ASME, AHS and SAE.

He has served on the boards of visitors of several universities and is a consultant to government, industry and universities in science and technology policy and engineering education as well as on the topics of his research. Dr. Dowell research ranges over the topics of aeroelasticity, nonsteady aerodynamics, nonlinear dynamics and structures. In addition to being author of over three hundred research articles, Dr. Dowell is the author or co-author of four books, “Aeroelasticity of Plates and Shells”, “A Modern Course in Aeroelasticity”, “Studies in Nonlinear Aeroelasticity” and “Dynamics of Very High Dimensional Systems”. His teaching spans the disciplines of acoustics, aerodynamics, dynamics and structures. Dr. Dowell received his B.S. degree from the University of Illinois and his S.M. and Sc.D. degrees from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Before coming to Duke as Dean of the School of Engineering, serving from 1983-1999, he taught at M.I.T. and Princeton. He has also worked with the Boeing Company.